Virginia Tech®home

First-Year Passport Project

Passport Project 2021
IIE American Passport Project

Virginia Tech was among 40 institutions from across the nation selected for an Institute of International Education American Passport grant. The grant, intended to promote access, inclusion, diversity, and equity in study abroad, has enabled the Global Education Office to establish a Passport Project for first-year students. Participants selected for the Passport Project will be required to engage in a minimum of 10 hours of peer mentorship, attend designated Passport Project workshops, social and community-building events, and specialized advising sessions focused on study abroad and scholarships in exchange for receiving a U.S. passport book at no cost.

For more information on the establishment of the Passport Project at Virginia Tech:

Participant Benefits:

  • U.S. Passport Book (costs of passport photos and standard processing and delivery fees will be covered - $180 value)
  • Access to workshops, social and community-building events, and specialized advising sessions focused on study abroad and scholarships
  • Guidance and support through Peer Mentorship
  • Certificate of completion from the Global Education Office


  • Must be in the first year of college. Restricting the program to first-year students allows for adequate time to incorporate study abroad at some point during a student’s academic career. 
  • Receiving or eligible to receive a federal Pell Grant.
  • Eligible to apply for a U.S. Passport (may not be used to renew an expired passport) - must be a U.S. citizen by birth or naturalization or be a U.S. national.
  • Must have proof of citizenship (original birth certificate or original naturalization certificate). If your proof of citizenship is not currently in Blacksburg, have it mailed or make arrangements to obtain it at the time of application. You will need to present it when submitting your passport application at the Passport Acceptance Facility.

Participation Requirements:

During Fall 2022, participants are expected to complete the following:

  • Sign the Passport Project Terms of Agreement
  • Create a video introduction
  • Complete a minimum of 10 hours of peer mentorship
  • Attend several workshops, social and community-building events, and specialized advising sessions focused on study abroad and scholarships throughout the semester
  • Complete passport application, schedule an in-person appointment with the Passport Acceptance Facility, and submit application to the US Department of State.

Application Process:

Students interested in joining the First-Year Passport Project are encouraged to submit the application by September 9, 2022.

Passport Project Peer Mentors

Passport Project Mentors are integral to the program’s success and serve as a valuable resource to first-year students in the program.

Peer mentors serve as a source of community by offering encouragement and support for adjusting in the transition to Virginia Tech, with a specific focus on cultivating global citizenship and cross-cultural engagement. Peer mentors will assist program participants with:

  • Gaining practical advice about study abroad with support of the Global Education Office team
  • Connecting to on-and off-campus study abroad resources 
  • Participating in study abroad advising including funding resources 
  • Building relationships with fellow first-year students, faculty, and staff who will help students become more empowered in making decisions about their study abroad and international experience
  • Taking part in sessions preparing for study abroad 
  • Navigating Virginia Tech academically and socially
Liana Sinnott
Photo courtesy of Liana Sinnott
  •  Attend Peer Mentor training 
  •  Mentors reach out to mentees to introduce themselves and help with any questions or concerns
  •  Attend Passport Project welcome event or social as a chance to meet mentee and other mentors/mentees
  •  Determine meeting schedule for the semester and commit to engaging in informal conversation or attending structured events for a minimum of 30 hours over the course of the semester
  •  Connect informally with mentees throughout the semester
  • Minimum – 1 orientation/training session
  • In order to be a peer mentor for the First-Year Passport Project, students must attend a training session to familiarize themselves with critical aspects of their role as a peer mentor. 
  • Students will engage in discussion, reflection, and learning experiences that engage mentors with the Global Education Office, student support offices

Apply on Handshake by September 9, 2022. Contact Brandon Senior for questions.