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How To Get Your ISIC: A Student Guide

How To Get Your ISIC: A Student Guide

MSM-Unify_How To Get Your ISIC - A Student Guide

Here’s a simple fact: you can’t enjoy the world on an extremely tight budget. For an international student, studying abroad shouldn’t be restricted to academics; exploring new things is important too.

But with the high cost of living and staggering tuition fees, how can you even enjoy your time overseas without drowning in financial woes? 

With a student discount card such as the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), you can take advantage of discounts to purchase your necessities, or to dine out as a quick break from your study load.

Here’s a guide on how you get an ISIC and take advantage of its amazing offers:

What Is the ISIC?

The ISIC is the only globally recognized student ID card. International students who hold an ISIC use it for a wide array of services, discounts, and student benefits.

Since 1968, the ISIC has been recognized and endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization or UNESCO. Every year, over 5 million international students use the ISIC to get access to different student offers.

The ISIC has both a virtual and physical version in the form of a plastic ID. The virtual ISIC costs USD $25. A plastic ID card would cost an additional USD $3.60.

Upon receiving the ISIC, the student can enjoy its benefits for 12 months. They also offer the IYTC for non-eligible students under 31 years old and the ITIC for full-time teachers.

What Are the Benefits of an ISIC?

There are many ISIC benefits you can get once you apply for your card.

Moreover, here are some pertinent reasons why you need an ISIC when studying abroad:

  • Get amazing student discounts on accommodation, travel, transportation, dining, shopping, and entertainment in over 120,000 locations all over the world.
  • Access to travel insurance covers basic illnesses when traveling abroad.
  • Enjoy over 150,000 discounts and student perks in student resource materials (including tech), and leisure activities.
  • Get up to 40% discount on domestic or international flights.
  • Get access to different facilities and services in 120 countries.
  • Serves as proof of your status as a full-time student.

Who Can Get the ISIC?

International students from anywhere in the world can order an ISIC. The student must be 12 years old or older and must be a full-time student under a program in an accredited institution. 

Before a student can apply for an ISIC, he or she must be studying for at least 15 hours every week for a minimum of three months in one academic year.

How Can You Get Your ISIC?

If you are eligible for it, you can follow this step-by-step process on how to get your ISIC: 

  • Ordering your cardYou can order your ISIC online through the official website of ISIC. You can also order your card through a local issuing office near you.
  • If you’re applying through an issuing office, you need a passport size photograph. For an online application, a digital photo taken in a white or blue background will do (must be in jpeg or jpg format).
  1. Prepare a scanned copy of a document proving that you are a full-time student. Make sure that the date of the issue can be seen clearly (must be in pdf, jpeg, or jpg format).
  2. Prepare a scanned copy of a document or ID as proof of your identity. This can be your passport or driver’s license (must be in pdf, jpeg, or jpg format).
  3. Confirm your method of payment. If you are applying online, you can pay with your credit or debit card via PayPal. 
  4. Submit your order and wait for about 15 business days or more to receive your ISIC. Standard delivery time may vary depending on your location.

ISIC Discounts: What You Need To Know

There are a lot of discounts you can access wherever you are once you get your card. 

Moreover, the ISIC discounts included are not limited to only one type. In fact, you can get discount on the following: 

  • Accommodation (hotel booking discounts, cashbacks, vouchers, other related service discounts such as airport transfer, etc.)  
  • Entertainment (movie and theater discounts, buy one, get one promos, subscription offers, free passes, etc.) 
  • Food and drink (food discount, access to meal kits, access to special menu, etc.) 
  • Shopping (discounts, longer trial period for the item, use now pay later schemes, freebies, gift cards, and so on) 
  • Sport (gym membership, free access to sports app, discounts, discounted access to premium memberships, etc.)
  • Study (study now, pay later schemes; access to special offers; discounts; freebies; free student accounts from student services such as Monday.com, extended free trial, discounted premium upgrade, etc.) 
  • Travel (ticket discounts, special fares access, free registration and added credit for tickets, cashbacks, etc.) 
  • Other services (may include software or mobile benefits or subscriptions) 

For students to know the available ISIC discounts in their study destination, they can either use ISIC’s discount search engine or download the ISIC app on their phones. 

What Will Happen if Your Virtual Card Gets Rejected by the Discount Provider?

Aside from your card, you can also get ISIC discounts using your virtual card. Just like your regular card, you can use it to do various transactions and get discounts. Moreover, they can be used easily by students. 

However, there may be some instances where discount providers will not accept student’s virtual cards. Perhaps, this is due to specific policies in place. Often, those policies are explained by ISIC. Thus, be sure to double-check the policies before applying for the discount. 

Another possible reason is because there may be a problem with the system, or the use of your virtual card. In case that happens, students can always contact ISIC at info@isic.org

ISIC can update the necessary information, or they can discuss a possible solution with the discount provider. 

How To Get a Free ISIC Card?

The cost of getting your ISIC depends on the issuing country. 

Thus, you may hear that, in some countries, it can cost as low as $4, while in others, it can be as high as $25. 

This is to regulate its cost depending on the purchasing power of the students residing in different countries. 

However, in case you want to get a free ISIC, here are the ways to do that: 

Get ISIC Through Expatrio

The first way to get it for free is through Expatrio, for those planning to study in Germany. Expatrio is a company that aims to assist students to pursue their education in Germany. One of the packages they are offering is the Expatrio Value Package, which includes access to ISIC cards for free. 


Another way to get it for free is through IDP. IDP is an international education service company which aims to assist students studying in English speaking countries. 

If you are planning to go to Australia or New Zealand and access IDP’s student services, such as IDP Helpline, Overseas Student Health Cover, Accommodation Services, and Guardianship and Welfare Services, you can get your ISIC card for free. 

Having an ISIC allows you to explore and experience your host country without spending too much. For more information about student discount cards, check out our stories here at MSM Unify.


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