Three things before you go

Before you hop on the plane and pass through UK border control, you should probably take care of a few things first. You'll need to apply for a passport if you don't already have one and apply for a visa if you're working or interning in London. Also, you should shop for a few essential items that you and your suitcase can't live without. For links to passport and visa application sites, check out the phone booth.

Passport

Give yourself plenty of time to apply. According to the U.S. Department of State Web site, applications take about four to six weeks to process, but I would suggest applying at least three months before you leave, just to be safe.

I took my passport photos at a neighborhood Walgreens. You should be able to find a store near you that offers this service.

planewing

Visa

If you are interning in the UK, you will need a student visa. If you are studying in the UK, your program length determines whether you will have to apply for one. Check to see if your program requires a visa before you start the application.

The application process is time-consuming. You'll need to complete an online application and get fingerprinted. Don't put this off until the last minute.

What to pack: Things you don't want to forget