Planning on studying abroad? Here are the documents you’ll need!

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When planning to study abroad, it is important to note that there are necessary documents that will be required from you during the process. This is the reason why you need to be prepared beforehand by compiling all the necessary documents before you begin your application. Generally, there are required documents that you must submit regardless of the school or the country the school is located in. However, other requirements vary based on the unique demand of each school. Before you click the start application button, it is advisable to go through the school’s website to familiarize yourself with the requirements, and then proceed to compile all the documents before you begin your application. This saves you time during the application process. If you’re still uncertain about where to start, the answers you need are right here. We’d explore all the required documents you need to process your admission into foreign universities. Subscribe to our newsletter for more informative articles to aid your journey. 

Also read: Study Free In Indonesia: DARMASISWA Scholarships 2024

Documents needed to study abroad.  

Below is a list of the necessary documents you need to study abroad: 

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1. University Certificate

As a master’s or a postgraduate student, providing your bachelor’s degree certificate is crucial in your application. Your proposed school wants to ascertain your academic achievement and the school you graduated from. This will further give insight into how you’re likely to perform if you’re admitted into the school. This requirement cannot be waived. 

2. Academic Transcript

Just like your academic certificate, your academic transcripts are another important document that is needed in your application. Your academic transcript summarizes your academic performance in your undergraduate years. It is also another requirement that cannot be waived in your admission application. 

3. Resume/Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Your resume/CV is another necessary document the school will require from you. It reflects your academic and professional journey. It gives a comprehensive view of your personality, your academic qualifications, your career journey, and your skills. 

Also read: Understanding Financing Options For International Students

4. Language Proficiency Test Scores

Additionally, language proficiency test scores are required for students whose official language is different from the official language of their chosen study destination. For instance, if you’re from a French-speaking country and your proposed study destination is the United States, you will have to take the language test in english language. This is to guarantee that you will be able to communicate clearly, and also understand what is being taught as the medium of instruction in the school will also be the English language. Some of the examples of proficiency test scores include:

  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • Duolingo.

However, IELTS and TOEFL are the most commonly accepted tests. 

Also read: Study Abroad: Discover The 1% Secrets For A Successful Application

5. Letter of Recommendation/Reference Letters

Also, some schools require that you submit a letter of recommendation in your application. A letter of recommendation gives the admission board insight into your personality and your potential from the lens of another person. It is therefore advisable that the people writing your letter of recommendation are people who know you and are aware of your skills and your accomplishments. They could be professors, teachers, employers, or mentors. 

6. Standardized Test Scores

Depending on the course you’re applying for and the institution, you may need to provide standardized test scores. Like language tests are used to rate your communication ability, standardized test scores are used to gauge your academic potential. They include:

  • SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test)
  • ACT (American College Testing)
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
  • GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test)

 8. Proof of Financial Support

Furthermore, your school would like to know if you’re able to handle your financial expenses. Hence, the request for proof of financial support. Some schools may request bank statements, scholarship award letters, or a financial affidavit from your sponsor

9. Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose

Your statement of purpose or personal statement is an essay that captures motivation, goals, and reasons for choosing the particular study abroad program and institution. The quality of your statement can also boost the quality of your application. Students often contract this piece out to their people to help draft it. However, it is advisable to draft this yourself, telling your story in a unique manner that reflects your personality. Below are some of the tips that can help you draft that unique statement of purpose:

  • Share your story: let your statement reflect your journey. This can reinforce the reason why you need the admssion and why it; ‘ll be helpful for you. 
  • Explain why you are qualified: rather than beat about the bush, state the reason why you are qualified for the opportunity. Also, include the positive impact it will have on your academics and career.
  • State your goals: stating your career goals will also reflect how much you need the opportunity. It will also show how best you will harness it. 
  • Be clear and concise: don’t use technical jargon, communicate clearly. Additionally, avoid unnecessary stories, and ensure that your work is concise. 
  • Edit and proofread: before you click the upload button ensure you have properly edited the document and corrected all the errors. If you’re not sure of yourself, you can give it to a friend to help identify any gaps or corrections.

10. Application Form and Application Fee

The application form is the first document you’ll provide when submitting your application to the school. Details like your biodata, program choice, academic history, etc are included in the application form. 

In addition to the application form, students are also required to pay a non-refundable application fee for their application to be processed. However, there are schools that you not require the payment of any application fee too.

Also read: How To Write A Winning Statement Of Purpose (With Samples)?

11. Portfolio (for Creative Programs)

Students applying for creative programs abroad like art, design, or architecture might be asked to submit their portfolios. This showcases their artistic skills and their creativity. 

12. International Passport 

Your international passport showcases your identity and your nationality. If your international passport expires, you must renew it as only passports can be submitted. 

13. Emergency Contacts

Some schools will require that you provide the details of an emergency contact. The contact must be a family member, guardian, or friend of the applicant. On the other hand, the applicants themselves or their recruitment partner or study abroad counselor cannot be their emergency contact. 

Also read: Ask These Vital Questions Before Embarking On Your Study Abroad Journey.

Documents needed to travel abroad as a student 

In addition to the documents listed above which you will need while processing your application, below is a list of documents you will need to provide as you plan to finally travel abroad: 

  1. Passport and Visa: You will need a student visa to gain access to your study abroad destination. It’s safe to start the visa application in advance before resumption. On the other hand, your passport should be valid for at least six months before your intended return date to your home country. 
  2. Acceptance Letter: Your acceptance letter is the proof that you have gained admission to the issuing institution. It will be required by the immigration officers in your study abroad destination. 
  3. Travel Itinerary and Emergency Contact: Before traveling abroad, compile a well-organized list of your flight details, accommodation plans, transportation plans, and so on. Also, have the contact of a trusted person in your host country. This is to keep you organized and prepare you for emergencies. 
  4. Passport-sized photographs: You will need your passport photographs for many things and as you finalize your application. Ensure you have enough clear copies before you travel. 
  5. Accommodation reservation: before traveling abroad, it is important to have a solid accommodation plan for security purposes and to keep you organized. 
  6. International Student Identity Card (ISIC): this ID card is globally recognized and its holders are eligible to enjoy various degrees of discounts in their host countries. 

Documents needed to study in the UK

Below is a list of the documents you will need to provide to study in the UK: 

  1. UCAS Letter: it confirms that you have gained admission to the selected university
  2. Exam results: degree certificate, transcript, A-level results, etc.
  3. Tier 4 student visa
  4. Tuition fees and funding documents 
  5. English tests result
  6. Passport 
  7. Healthcare 
  8. Accommodation settlement

Read also: Finland Work Visa: Eligibility, Application Process, Types And FAQs

Documents needed to study in the US

 Below is a list of the documents you will need to provide to study in the US: 

  1. Acceptance letter 
  2. Exam results
  3. Student visa (F1 visa)
  4. Tuition and funding documents
  5. English tests result
  6. Passport 
  7. Accommodation settlement
  8. Healthcare


In conclusion, as stated earlier, it is important to start working towards compiling all the necessary documents needed to make your study abroad journey smooth. In addition to the physical copies and photocopies you have in your file, also ensure you have scanned copies of all the documents saved on your digital device in case of emergency. 

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MPower Finance and Prodigy Finance are some of the best student loan providers for international students. They also do not require a cosigner or collateral before an application. Reach out to us today, and let’s help you get started. 


  • Mercy Awofiranye is a creative writer with over five years of experience. Currently, she specializes in creating helpful content for students in the education space. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and learning new things.