Universities have become increasingly diverse in terms of their student populations, welcoming growing numbers of international students — in 2020, there were over 6.3 million international students enrolled across the globe.
Students come for various reasons, including short exchange programs lasting only a few weeks or months, or for more extended stays to pursue degree programs. The number of international students at a university can vary greatly, with some institutions having only a handful of international students, with others hosting thousands.
Regardless of the size and scale of a university’s program, one constant factor is the extensive documentation involved and the complexities of moving that documentation across borders. Whether it is visa applications for incoming students, or the evaluation and authentication of diplomas for those returning to their home countries after graduation, the proper handling of these documents is important.
The smooth processing of these documents can make the difference between a seamless transition for the student and potential delays in starting their program or their next steps after university.
In this article, we will explore the various documentation requirements for international students and discuss the steps both big and small universities can take to best serve their students.
Students who study abroad at smaller universities often handle their own documentation
At smaller universities, the responsibility of handling documentation often falls on the students themselves. These institutions, while they may provide guidance and support to students, typically do not have in-house services for tasks such as document translation, diploma evaluation, and authentication. Instead, students are expected to manage the documentation on their own which can be stressful.
The documents that students need to study at a university abroad can vary depending on the country, the institution, and the program of study. There are some common documents that are typically required for student visas that may also need to be legalized:
Proof of identity and enrollment
A valid form of ID such as a passport and an official enrollment letter from the university which clearly shows your program and dates of study will usually be required.
Academic transcripts and official test scores
Transcripts from previous education are often required to demonstrate academic eligibility for the program. Some universities may also require students to take standardized tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, GRE, or GMAT, depending on the program of study.
Proof of financial resources
Some countries may require international students to demonstrate that they have enough funds to cover tuition, living expenses, and other costs while studying abroad. This will usually require official bank statements.
To manage these requirements, and avoid potential delays or visa denial, students can work with a third-party company that specializes in procuring and processing immigration documentation.
Companies that offer these services tend to work directly with students, providing a business-to-consumer (or B2C) service. When choosing a company to work with, it is important for students to consider the company’s experience and familiarity with the process of supporting individuals, not just companies, with documentation services.
This includes an expert understanding of the university documentation process as well as empathy for students who may be feeling stressed about their studies. Your chosen company should also have the ability to clearly and effectively explain all processes involved.
Larger universities often help international students with their documentation
Larger universities with a significant number of international students often offer more comprehensive services for document processing. These institutions will typically have dedicated teams to assist with the documentation needed for student visas as well as the evaluation, translation, and authentication of diplomas for graduates.
However, due to the sheer volume of documentation that must be processed, these universities will often rely on third-party partners to handle the logistics of document processing to better serve their students.
Essentially a business-to-business (B2B) relationship, these outside companies work directly with the universities to manage the hundreds or thousands of documents that require translation, authentication, and other processing. They don’t usually interact with students themselves.
When selecting a partner for document processing, it is important that universities choose a company with the necessary experience and infrastructure to handle the volume of requests that large universities generate. These partners should be able to scale their services to meet the needs of universities and maintain a quick turnaround time.
Lex Documents can support both small and large international student programs
Lex Documents began with the aim to provide visa documentation services to individuals, reflecting the company’s origins in the B2C sector. However, over the past two decades, Lex Documents has grown substantially, building on its range of services and serving some of the most prominent immigration law firms, global consultancies, international corporations, and universities.
As well as visa documentation services, Lex Documents now also provides B2B services such as document authentication and translation, as well as travel visa support services for businesses and institutions. Using both tech tools and a team of committed professionals located around the world, Lex Documents is equipped to handle the needs of even the largest universities and other institutions.
Through its growth and expansion, Lex Documents has gained a reputation as a reliable and efficient provider of visa and other document-related services. Contact us today to learn more.