Applying for a U.S. passport
U.S. passports are issued by the U.S. Department of State for U.S. citizens; citizens of other countries have passports issued by their own government. No matter where you are headed, you will be required to have a valid passport book (not card) prior to going abroad.
In addition to a valid passport book, some countries require that your passport book is valid for at least 6 months past the date that you plan on returning to the U.S.
Don't wait until the last minute to apply - if you did, talk to your advisor to get information on expedited passport processing or go to the U.S. Department of State website.
In order to obtain a passport and foreign visa, official passport photos are required. Passport photos must meet strict guidelines and are not typically something that an amateur photographer can take and print. One color photo, taken within the last six months, must be submitted with a passport application; the number of photos (although photos submitted with visa applications must be identical) and the composition of the photos for foreign visas vary. In Iowa City, there are multiple businesses and locations where passport photo services are offered. Photos are available at the USPS Passport Office and some places where one-hour passport photos are offered (CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, etc.)
It is also possible to use the services of an agency. For a fee, the agency will handle your applications and help you obtain a passport and visas quickly. The University of Iowa has a partnership with CIBTVisas 800-929-2428.