Common Application Documents Required for Admission in Foreign Universities


Sristy Sharma
Updated on Nov 16, 2022 01:12 PM IST

While the specific documents required for applying to a foreign university and every study abroad destination are different, there are certain documents that are common to all of them. Here is the complete list of common application documents required to study abroad.

Common Application Documents Required for Admission in Foreign Universities

Which documents are required for applying to a foreign university? Or, Which are the common application documents required to study abroad? Providing a response to such questions deserves a fixed predetermined time and an elucidated explanation. 

While choosing a perfect university, the right course specification and applying for it is itself a struggle, abiding your application by the university deadlines and time frame is a flipside consequence. To make this process easier, you must prepare a list of common application documents required for admission to foreign universities well in advance. Also, you must prepare a set of copies of these documents in sequence to send them to the university where you intend to apply for admission.

Although there is a stack of documents required to study abroad, you must keep in mind that each one of them carries the potential to influence the Admission Committees’ decision to accept you. This is one of the crucial steps to studying abroad that requires an end to end perfection. 

Refer to the following guide and approach the study abroad application process confidently!

List Study Abroad Application Documents

While each university abroad might have a different set of documents for international students to submit, the most commonly required study abroad documents are mentioned in detail below.

Here is a list of some of the common study abroad application documents, and how necessary is it to include them in your application:

Name of Document

Nature of Requirement

Application Form

Always required

Student CV

Necessary to include only when asked; Recommended to include if the university asks for additional documents to support the candidate profile

Academic Transcripts

Always required

Test Score Transcripts

Necessary to include test score transcripts; which transcripts to include may differ for courses and universities


Necessary to include; the university will ask for SOP or any writing sample like a personal statement


Necessary to be included; Number of LORs required may differ for courses and universities

College Application Essay

Include when asked

Proof of Finances

Always necessary to include

Medical Certificate

Necessity differs depending on the country and university

Travel History

Only when asked

Passport Copy

Often not listed as a requirement; Recommended to include always

The best way to go ahead here is to take help from experts who have years of experience in not only getting you admitted but also in finding you scholarships to study abroad.

Know How to Avoid Mistakes in Your Study Abroad Application! 

Application Form

To be considered for any university abroad, be it for a master’s or bachelor’s course, you will be required to fill out its designated application form. This form also acts as a summary and your identification for the pre-and post-admission process. 

An application form to study abroad is generally required for the following reasons:

  • The form acts as a summary of the whole application.

  • It acts as proof of your application and you can use it to refer to your application’s status.

  • It contains all the personal and academic information of the applicant.

  • It is treated as the preliminary application by the selection panel to confirm the satisfaction of the eligibility criteria.

  • It also acts as the evidence and receipt for the application fee or any additional transactions.

Precaution While Preparing the Application Form

  • Filling out the form in the earlier or later stages of the application duration can cause you to be caught in a traffic onslaught. Sites often tend to crash in the latter days.

  • Pre-instructions highlight many important requirements of the form-filling process. They must be read carefully.

Student CV/Academic Resume

student's CV or academic resume covers what the application form does not. It acts as an introduction to the selection panel, however, through your own words. The most common information furnished in the CV includes:

  • The personal Introduction of the applicant

  • Academic qualifications

  • Additional academic-related information: internships, certificate courses, etc.

  • Participation in extra-curricular activities and social initiatives

  • Interpersonal skills of the applicant

While the application form focuses on academic details in quantity, the student CV highlights your achievements in a multi-dimensional aspect.

Precaution While Preparing a Student CV

  • Personal details must not be provided in the student's CV. Your CV is just a list of your achievements.

  • Ensure to provide proof in supplementary form (certificates and appreciation letters) to the content of your CV. Hence, avoid mentioning what you cannot prove to be existent.

  • Do not over-focus on interpersonal skills. 

Academic Transcripts

Academic Transcripts are documents related to your educational qualifications. All your mark sheets, degrees, migration, and transfer certificates come under this. Commonly, the following must be present in your academic transcripts:

  • Grade Point Average (GPA) of your previous qualification

  • Qualification proofs of matriculation and senior secondary schooling

  • Qualification proof of Bachelor's degree (for Masters applicants)

  • Certificates of any supplementary courses

  • Any academic performance transcript which you listed in your CV 

Precaution in Preparing Academic Transcripts

  • The digital transcripts are scanned copies of original documents and not images.

  • The chronological placement of the transcripts makes a good impression.

  • All the additional transcripts must be relevant to your academic prospects.

Test Score Reports

Certain tests are required by foreign universities to be submitted along with your application. Most of these tests allow you to send reports directly to the chosen universities. These tests may include:

Precaution in Preparing the Test Score Reports

  • Certain universities have gone test-optional and if your score does not enhance your application, then do not submit them.

  • Similar tests are applicable in either/or format (language proficiency test scores). If you have taken multiple of them, then submit the one with the best score.

  • Mention only in your Student CV and application form the test scores you are submitting.

  • Certain universities have the best score policy. You can submit the best score out of the multiple attempts you made for one test. However, ensure to check whether the university accepts the best scores otherwise your application might get rejected.

Statement of Purpose or SOP

A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is a type of application essay that is required to state the purpose of your application to a particular university. The contents include your academic background, prospects, what inspired you to apply for the course and institution, and your life’s contribution to your academics and other co-curricular ventures.

The main aspects of an SOP should cover:

  • Your aim in your career and how the course applied fits into this mission.

  • What has been your journey till the application?

  • How did you discover the course, country, and university and why did you choose them?

  • Your social acumen and co-curricular initiatives.

  • Your aims and objectives for the course and in your future.

Precaution in Preparing an SOP

If you are writing your SOP for the first time, it is recommended that you show it to your professors or preferably someone who has studied abroad to avoid silly mistakes that lead straight to rejection. Take a look at the following common mistakes while writing an SOP:

  • Make it interesting but not fiction.

  • Ensure your vocabulary, grammar and language are formal and have them reflect your proficiency in the language.

  • Do not overload every piece of information, but only the relevant and prioritized ones.

  • Ensure adherence to the word limit.

  • Have a balanced approach of appreciation and determination and not flattering and snobbish.

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Letters of Recommendation or LORs

The Letter of Recommendation, also known as a LOR, is a piece of writing that conveys to admissions personnel a thorough understanding of your credentials for admission to the pertinent university. It strives to portray a positive impression of the recommender's articulation of your experiences, accomplishments, contributions, and skills.

A LOR must consist of:

  • The proper explanation of the relationship between you and the designated person and the relationship must reflect a positive one, allowing the recommender to recommend you to the university.

  • The observations made by the recommender about your academic performance and related aspects.

  • The observation of your character and interpersonal qualities.

  • The recommender's contact information and official designation.

  • Observation in terms of your interest in the applied course.

Precaution in Preparing the LOR

Do not make the following common mistakes while writing a LOR:

  • The relationship must be positive and of guardianship.

  • Mostly, universities specify the capacity of designated persons, and the same must be met properly.

  • In case the university has only mentioned LOR submission, ensure the designated person is of capacity and with the profile of a respected individual of the home country.

  • A LOR may be required in the plural (more than one) and it must be met accordingly.

College Application Essay

Certain universities specifically ask for an additional and separate college application essay other than SOP. In such cases, SOP focuses purely on academic acumen, aims, and vision. On the other hand, the college application essay focuses on:

  • Your academic and socio-personal background leads to the application stage.

  • Your inspiration and qualitative aspects of your future and career.

  • The things that caught your eye and made you apply to the university.

  • Your determination and other interpersonal skills.

  • Your hobbies and how they add to your whole personality.

  • Co-curricular activities and your social initiatives.

Precaution in Preparing a College Application Essay

The application essay will be an additional requirement as SOP alone acts like one. Therefore, the following precautions must be followed:

  • Do not overlap the information. If certain academic information is in your SOP and is required in an essay as well, only then should you mention it in your application essay.

  • The essay must take a personal approach as SOP takes a formal one.

  • The language, vocabulary, and grammar must be taken care of.

  • It should be written in the first person.

  • Add creative and interactive elements to the essay.

  • The word limit must still be followed and must not exceed that of SOPs.

Proof of Finances

International students are required to prove that they have the financial capacity or background to bear the educational and living costs at the chosen university and study abroad destination.

The cost of studying abroad includes proof of finances, which can be:

  • Bank statements, showing the income or savings of the applicant.

  • Bank statements of parents or legal guardians.

  • Bank statements of official financer of student’s education

  • Scholarship or financial aid, government or non-government

  • Education loan

Precaution in Preparing the Proof of Finances

Following precautions must be followed while preparing Proof of finances:

  • The finance source must not get exhausted before completing the course fully.

  • In case of the sponsor being other than the applicant, their consent must be delivered in writing i.e, a sponsorship letter.

  • The sponsor must agree to bear the education and living expenses of the international student.

  • All the statements and agreements must be true and complete.

Medical History Documents

The Medical history of international applicants is an important document. Most study-abroad destinations have excellent healthcare mechanisms for their citizens. Even the public healthcare system is highly innovative and comfortable, making medical costs to be quite expensive. Countries require international students to insure themselves on basis of their medical status. 

Medical history documents must show:

  • The full medical status of the applicant is present.

  • The reports must be attested by an authorised medical practitioner.

  • All the previous instances of medical complications and diseases must be properly disclosed.

  • All the vaccinations ever taken by the international student must be disclosed.

  • All allergies or medical conditions must be disclosed along with their severity.

  • The medical practitioner should describe the possible health risks or conditions of the student. 

  • Details of any existing medical insurance or insurance applied for.

Precaution in Preparing Medical History

Medical History related documents must be prepared while below mentioned precautions:

  • The details and disclosures must be true, complete, and attested.

  • The license of the medical practitioner must be valid and capable of giving the required attestation.

  • Insurance details must include the cover amount, premium instalment amount, duration, and any special terms or conditions.

  • All the details must be updated to the current status.

Travel History Documents

International students are required to submit travel history documents only in certain circumstances. Majorly these documents are submitted along with the visa application. However, sometimes travel history might result in immediate disqualification of the student for admission. This is when the travel history is in direct contradiction to the rules of immigration of study abroad destination. In this case, travel history document submission saves a lot of time for both the student and the university.

Travel history requires disclosure of:

  • Recent travel details (if any).

  • The travel history may date back to any time, however, generally, it is between one to two years before the submission of the application.

  • Duration of travel, stay period, and purpose of travel, must be disclosed.

Precaution in Preparing Travel History

While preparing travel history documents:

  • Domestic travel may be skipped, as per the requirements of the university.

  • The international travel details must be disclosed irrespective of the country travelled to.

  • All the details must be true and complete.

  • Supporting proof must be provided as per requirements.

How to Apply to Foreign Universities as an International Student?

There is no magic formula for getting into the university of your choice since the application procedures for these colleges vary from one country to another. But there are some general guidelines you should abide by, as well as advice that can help you get accepted. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply to universities abroad:

Step 1: Choose Your Programme Wisely 

Decide where you want to study abroad, what level and field of study you are interested in, and whether you have the necessary academic credentials. After weighing your career options, choose a specialisation.

Step 2: Thoroughly Review the University’s Requirements and Deadlines

Checking the prerequisites and application deadlines is the first step in applying to a university abroad. In case the information on the website is confusing to you or insufficient to meet your needs, you may ask the university for more information.

Step 3: Write a Letter of Motivation

A motivation letter is required when applying to specific academic subjects or institutions. Your ability to succeed at the university should be highlighted in the motivation letter, which should also include an analysis of your achievements and competencies.

Step 4: Ask For a Letter of Recommendation

Admission to a university or programme may occasionally need one or more letters of recommendation from professors. Never be afraid to get a recommendation letter from an instructor with whom you got along well.

Step 5: Take English Language Proficiency Tests

If you want to study abroad but your native tongue is not English, you will probably need to take an English language exam like the TOEFL or IELTS.

Step 6: Translate and Authenticate Your Documents

Your documents (including your diploma and grades) must be translated into English if you are applying to a programme that is taught in English abroad. Be mindful that a reputable authority should certify the translations.

Step 7: Use the Online Application Portals

In order to make it simpler for students to apply for the programmes, more universities abroad now commonly incorporate an online application platform. Most schools and students prefer sending documents electronically over by mail since it is quicker and often more affordable or free.

Step 8: Schedule Your Visa Appointment

Applying for a student visa can be a drawn-out and challenging procedure, depending on the nation's regulations. The sooner you apply for your student visa and set up your visa appointment or interview, the better.

Last but not least, you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your planned return date. For those without passports or those whose passports are about to expire, make sure you apply for or renew them as soon as possible. Do not wait until the last minute to apply to a college or university you want to attend, keep all your application documents required to study abroad handy. 

Prepare these documents and begin your application process in a hassle-free way. Write to us at to get further get your doubts cleared.

Speed Up Your Study Abroad Application With the Help of Experts! 


Which documents are required for a USA student visa for Indian students?

Since there are three types of USA student visas, students must decide on which type of visa they are applying for. Usually, Indian students do apply for a USA F1 student visa since it is for students who are attending universities in the USA. The following is a list of documents required for a USA student visa:

  • A valid passport

  • Non-immigrant visa application and the confirmation page for Form DS-160

  • SEVIS fee payment receipt

  • Passport-size photographs

  • Birth certificate

  • Visa SOP, etc.

Do foreign universities ask to submit an essay?

Yes, a few foreign universities do ask you to submit an essay to ensure that you are a sincere student and to know your objectives to study at the university. This is an opportunity to make a solid first impression and exemplify to the Admission Committee that you are prepared and determined to pursue the desired programme in their institution. For more information, you may check - How to Write an Undergraduate Application Essay for Admissions Abroad.

What are the requirements for foreign university admission?

There are many requirements for foreign university admission that are different for international students. For this, you must upload documents such as your name, address, academic record, official transcripts, Personal Statement, essays, assertions of your goals and extracurricular involvement, Letter of Motivation, LOR, etc.

What documents do I need for an Australian student visa?

An Australian student visa requires a variety of documents, depending on its type or category. Depending on it, you may require a valid passport, health insurance, penal clearance, passport-size photographs, Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), English language proficiency test score reports, proof of funds, etc. To get detailed information, check out the List of Documents for Australian Student Visa.

Which documents do Indian students need for a Canada student visa?

The following is a list of documents Indian students need for a Canada student visa:

  • Photographs

  • Optional Documents

  • Medical Report(s)

  • Credit Card

  • Proof of Identification

  • Proof of Financial Support

  • A Proof of Acceptance

You may check the List of Documents Indian Students Need for Canada Visa Application to get detailed information.

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