Document Authenticity and Verification
A document is authentic when it is issued by an academic institution, by an examination board or by a legal entity authorized to issue academic documents.
- Transcripts must be received directly from the academic institution that issued them.
- If the institution is unable to send transcripts directly, copies of the documents submitted by the student should be sent for verification to the institution that issued them.
- Before sending a document to the issuing institution for verification, it is important to check the address of the institution to ensure that it is the one that appears in published sources and not rely solely on the address that is printed on the document itself.
- Letters asking for verification should be addressed to the title of the officer who issued and signed the document (e.g. "Controller of Examinations," "Director of Studies" or "Director of International Relations") and not to a particular individual.
How to Communicate with a Foreign Institution
To expedite the verification, the request and relevant documents should be sent by fax. Replies by fax or e-mail are
acceptable, provided that the name, e-mail address or fax number of the sender can be found on the institution's website
or in one of the published references.
Acceptable Verifications of Authenticity
Documents must be authenticated by authorized officials at the institutions that issued them. Verifications issued by
embassies, consulates, public notaries or other officials that are outside of the academic institution are not usually
Accepting Documents from Students
Traditionally, U.S. universities would accept documents from international students because many institutions abroad
generally would not send transcripts directly to the U.S. Today more and more academic institutions worldwide are
capable of sending documents directly to U.S. institutions, and students should be required to arrange for their records
to be sent directly from their home institutions. When an institution is unable to send documents directly, the documents
submitted by students can be sent back for verification.
How Long Does Verification Take?
The time that it takes to obtain responses from institutions abroad varies by country and institution. Some institutions take
several weeks or months to reply while others respond quickly, in a matter of days or weeks. The turn around time has been
decreasing steadily due to the widespread use of fax and email. It is important that students be advised to submit their
applications early to allow for the necessary verification.
Documents are frequently issued in the official language of the country of origin. Translations vary greatly in quality,
whether they are done in the U.S. or in the home country, even when they are done by professional translators. Unless issued in
English directly by the academic institutions themselves, documents translated in English must be submitted together with the
original language documents issued by the institutions.
The facts on document policies
Institution status, recognition and programs of study
Countries that issue university documents in English
Detecting fraudulent documents and degree/diploma mills