How to Obtain Recognition of Foreign Qualifications to Study in the U.S.
The United States is one of the top destinations for students to travel to and study in thanks to the many notable academic institutions and programs offered in the States. If you are interested in studying in the U.S., there are a few steps that you will need to take to prepare, including obtaining a student visa and getting any foreign qualifications or academic credits recognized. Our article gives you details on how to get your foreign qualifications recognized as part of the process for studying in the U.S.
Why Is Recognition of Foreign Qualifications Important?
When it comes to studying in the United States, it’s important to get any foreign qualifications and academic credits properly recognized. Without this, academic institutions will not be able to determine if you are qualified or eligible to enroll in a program, or you might be placed in an academic program that is either below or above your current academic range.
Admissions into any academic program in the United States may be difficult or impossible to obtain without proper evaluation and recognition of foreign qualifications, as many schools and academic programs consider these a vital part of your application.
Keep in mind that you will also need to obtain the proper United States student visa as part of the process of studying in the United States. Without a student visa, you won’t be able to enter the United States and study in your selected program, even if you are granted admission.
Obtaining Recognition of Foreign Qualifications to Study in the U.S.
The recognition of foreign qualifications to study in the United States is completed on a case-by-case basis for each student.
The academic institution you are applying to will be the one to recognize previous education and qualifications obtained in your home country – neither the U.S. Department of Education nor the United States Network for Education Information (USNEI) receives these requests.
In the following guide, we give you details on how to obtain recognition of your foreign qualifications in order to study in the U.S.
- Consult the Academic Institution
- Check Specific State and Federal Laws
- Utilize a Credential Evaluation Service
- Obtain Certified Translations
Consult the Academic Institution
As we mentioned above, the academic institution you wish to attend in the United States will be the institution that decides which of your foreign qualifications to recognize. To understand what you will need to do for your specific situation, you will need to contact the admissions office for the institution you wish to apply to or browse their website. If an international admissions office is available, you may want to speak to them, as they will likely have more detailed information about the process for recognizing foreign qualifications.
In most cases, you will need to obtain certified translations of any academic transcripts from institutions you’ve attended in other countries, in addition to a certified credential evaluation. You attach these documents along with your application to the institution, and then your application is reviewed and an admissions decision is made.
Occasionally, more information about academic studies or foreign qualifications is needed by the admissions office; someone from the institution will reach out to you if this is the case for your application.
If you know you want to study in the United States but haven’t selected a specific program yet, don’t hesitate to look through the many education programs detailed on the U.S. Department of State’s website.
Check Specific State Regulations
Most students looking to study in the United States might also be interested in working while they study or ensuring any previous work experience is recognized on their admissions application to a certain program.
If you know you will be working while you study or you have a history of employment relevant to your academic field that you want to make sure is considered in your application, you will need to check with the specific state’s licensing board or the federal department you wish to work with for specific regulations and instructions.
In general, transcripts from foreign institutions you’ve attended and documents proving training or experience in the field you wish to work in will be required documents. These documents will need to be translated into English, depending on specific requirements.
UNSEI provides more details about foreign qualifications in regard to working in the United States. Keep in mind that the student visa you obtain will need to allow for working as well as studying while you are in the United States if you plan on going this route.
Utilize a Credential Evaluation Service
Before you can submit your admissions application to most academic institutions, you will likely need to obtain a credential evaluation of your foreign transcripts. The academic institution you are applying to will tell you whether this is necessary, or if you will simply need to submit translated versions of your transcripts as part of your application.
There are two main organizations that are recognized for their ability to properly evaluate foreign credentials for those who are interested in studying or working in the United States – the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) and the Association of International Credentials Evaluators (AICE). These organizations consist of credit evaluation services that are committed to upholding high standards and complete evaluations that are as accurate as possible.
Academic institutions may request that you obtain a credential evaluation through these two organizations or through a different service that the institution works with. As you look into applying to your program and speak more with the admissions office, you will gain more information about which option might be required.
You should note that credential evaluation services are not free and can cost a few hundred dollars depending on the specific provider you select, the items you need to be evaluated, and whether or not you need rush services.
Obtain Certified Translations
Certified translations are a major part of applying to study in the United States and ensuring that your foreign qualifications are recognized by the academic institution you are applying to.
Documents such as foreign academic transcripts, birth certificates, and other important personal information that might be required on an admission application need a certified English translation, or you risk your application to an academic program being delayed or rejected altogether.
Visit our online store to obtain a certified translation for any document that might be required as part of your application to study in the United States.
All our certified to English translations are accepted by the USCIS. Our translations follow the guidelines established by the USCIS and are also accepted by educational institutions.
Most Requested Documents
You can order most translations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through our online store. For large projects (more than 20,000 words or 50 pages), please request a quote.