Documents Required to Study Abroad

10 Important Study Abroad Documents You Should Have


If you have been planning to study abroad, either on a scholarship or not, this blog post will serve as a guide to help you prepare the necessary documents you need for your admission.

Studying abroad as an undergraduate, Master or PhD student can be really thrilling. As an international student, you would get exposed to a different perspective of life and education.


However, studying abroad requires a lot of hard work and preparations.
Depending on your institution, some additional documents may be needed. Nevertheless, these 10 documents must be kept close to you.

10 Documents Required to Study Abroad

  1. Application form
  2. Recommendation letter(s)
  3. International passport
  4. Test scores or competitive exam scores
  5. Passport-sized photographs
  6. Medical certificate
  7. Statement of purpose (SOP)
  8. Resume or CV
  9. School certificates/ academic transcript
  10. Other Documents

#1. Application form

Your application form is the gateway to your desired college/university abroad. It is the form which authenticates your admission to your chosen institution. Without your application form, you cannot study abroad.

Fill out your application form properly. Make sure you print it out immediately after applying in order to have a copy to yourself. It is important you make copies of your application form before proceeding your journey overseas.

#2. Recommendation letter(s)

A recommendation letter is a reference letter written to your faculty to serve as vouch for your good conduct in your home country.

Most prestigious universities require their international students to provide at least two recommendation letters. These letters must be written by reputable people in your community.

A religious leader, professor, or a law enforcement officer are examples of reputable persons who can write a recommendation letter for you. If you have a good relationship with any of the aforementioned referees, your recommendation letter would be great!

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#3. International passport

Your student visa and other travel documents is another important document you need to study abroad. To leave your country, you need to obtain an international passport to your desired abroad school.

Most countries issue an international passport to citizens above 18 years old. If you are below 18, and you have been accepted to study abroad, seek a guardian’s signature for your approval of your international passport.


#4. Test scores or competitive exam scores

Depending on where you choose to study abroad, you might be requested to take certain tests as proof of language and academic assessments. These tests are for both undergraduates and postgraduates.

Students planning to study in the United States will need to take academic assessments such as: IELTS/TOEFL (English language assessments), SAT/ACT (academic assessment at UG level), GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT (academic assessment at PG level), and more.

Luckily for Nigerian students, the University of Alberta in the United States has cancelled IELTS/TOEFL test in their country. A scholar requested for the language assessment test to be cancelled for Nigerian students because they speak and learn with English in the country. This has reduced the burdens and expenses of undergoing an IELTS test for Nigerian students.

The University of Alberta is currently awarding a fully funded Scholarship to international students from different continents, check your eligibility and apply.

Most of these assessment and language tests requires money to undergo. Depending on your country, you need to cover the expenses even if you are on scholarship. However, there are materials/courses to help you pass your IELTS once. You just need a proper preparation.


#5. Passport-sized photographs

Part of your registration process requires passport-sized photographs. You need to make available at least 12 passports, depending on your school’s requirements. Ensure the passport photographs are not more than 6 months old in order to get a clear representation of you.

Some documents that would require a passport photograph include, application form, identity cards, medical documents, travel documents, scholarship documents (if any) etc.

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#6. Medical certificate

A thorough medical examination must be carried out to get an update on your health status. Even though you have no allergies, sickness, or diseases, a medical examination has to be carried out. This is also one very important document you need for your study abroad program.

To get a medical certificate, go to an accredited private or government hospital for a check-up. It is advisable to test for HIV/AIDS and any other infectious diseases. If you have a sickness like asthma (non-communicable), provide a medical certificate and also treatment measures.

#7. Statement of purpose (SOP)

Your Statement of Purpose must be kept close when planning to study abroad. This statement basically entails your educational background, achievements, goals and why you choose to study in your chosen institution. It is usually a summary essay, which means, it is short.


Although a SOP is a short essay to highlight about your academic progress, it is one vital key in securing an admission abroad. Your Statement of Purpose must be free from plagiarism, grammatical errors and fiction.

Most foreign colleges/universities need an insight about you, and your SOP is one of the best ways to summary yourself.

#8. Resume or CV

A Curriculum vitae (CV) is a longer document that details the whole course of your career. Whereas, a resume is used for job search. While studying abroad, you need either of the documents, depending on whether you wish to work and study.

However, get a well written CV describing your educational qualifications, skills, hobbies, work experiences etc. This document is usually lengthy and can contain one to two pages.

#9. School certificates/academic transcript

Make available your school certificates and academic transcripts. Your transcripts should contain a full detail of your academic performances since the last two years in high school. These documents will be required by your international university to aid further educational qualifications about you.


Most times, your college will provide a minimum Grade Point Average for admission. Your school transcripts are the documents that shows your academic grades over the past years. It is important you have it close, especially when you are applying for a scholarship.

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#10. Other documents

There are also additional documents you should know and possibly have for your study abroad journey. These documents are not usually required, however you might need them. They include: Bank Statement, study plan, motivation letter, birth certificate, financial hardship letter (for scholarship students), international student identity card, etc.

Once you have all the aforementioned study abroad documents, you are 99% prepared. Nevertheless, it all depends on your school. But in all, you definitely will need some or all the listed documents in this blog post. Ensure you carefully read the requirements of your chosen college/university before proceeding.

How to get Your Study Abroad Documents Ready on Time

Most of these documents might not be easy to get. This is why, you should start preparing your study abroad journey at least 3 months before your admission.

Your recommendation letter can take within two weeks to get ready. Your international passport can take up to 3 weeks for renewals/reissue and up to 6 weeks for first time applicants, depending on your country.

As for your test scores and assessments, it doesn’t take long to get your results, however, you need enough time to prepare. I recommend you begin practicing at least 4 weeks before your examination dates.

IELTS test takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes. It is divided into four parts, Listening (30 minutes), Reading (60 minutes), Writing (60 minutes) and Speaking (11–14 minutes).

SAT last for about 180 minutes. It is divided into three sections consisting of four tests and an optional fourth section, the SAT Essay. While GMAT lasts for about 3 hours and some minutes.

It is important you start early in getting ready your study abroad documents. The enrollment process in an educational system of a foreign country can stressful. But in all, always keep your dream alive and believe nothing is impossible.


To lessen your education expenses, apply for an international scholarship. There are lots of ongoing scholarships for foreign students like you. Our website will try to find the best and reliable scholarship opportunities for you.

If you gained value from this article, share with your friends. Also, stay in the loop on forthcoming scholarships for undergraduates, Masters/PhD around the world by subscribing to our newsletter and notifications.


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