UndocuGrad Tip: Taking the GRE as an undocumented student


We know that many of you are preparing to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) so that you can apply to graduate school. Aside from making sure you study and get enough rest the night before the exam, you should also keep in mind the following:

Make sure to take your passport during test day!

When you arrive to the test center and are ready to the GRE, you need to present an acceptable and valid form of identification. ETS notes that, “if you do not bring valid and acceptable ID, or if the name on your ID does not exactly match the name on your registration (excluding accents), you will not be permitted to test and your test fee will not be refunded.”

Here are the guidelines ETS has set around valid forms of ID:

  • be an original document; photocopied documents are not acceptable
  • be valid; expired documents (bearing expiration dates that have passed) are not acceptable
  • bear your full name exactly (excluding accents) as it was when registering for the test
  • include a recent, recognizable photograph
  • include your signature (the name and signature on the ID document must match)

If you are not a U.S. citizen and you are testing in the United States:

  • You must present a valid passport with name, photograph and signature. 
  • If your passport is not written in English-language letters, you must also present at least one Supplemental ID Document. This document must also contain your name, a recent, recognizable photo and be in English.
  • Diplomatic or embassy IDs cannot be used in place of a passport.

You definitely do not want to be in a situation where you are ready to take the GRE, but are not allowed to enter the test center because you do not have your passport with you. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of time before test day to get your passport.

For more information about the GRE, including how to register and prepare, please visit their official website: Graduate Record Examination


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