ISIC international ID card offers benefits for students traveling overseas

Posted October 8, 2012


Cloudy days with a cold breeze, historical structures such as El Palacio Real, Santa María la Real de La Almudena Cathedral and Plaza de Toros … people filling up Plaza Mayor, artwork by Goya and Diego Velázquez around town … locals enjoying a warm café around 3 p.m.

An example of the ISIC ID card (Image courtesy of STA Travel).

An example of the ISIC ID card (Image courtesy of STA Travel).

This was the setting where Giovany Delgado was given the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to study abroad in Spain.

Delgado was given the opportunity to go abroad and was given the necessary tools for an easy journey and stay in Spain. Yet most students who study abroad don’t know of a very important element to take with them – the proof that he or she is a full-time student.

The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is all the proof needed.

Delgado, a recent University of Miami graduate, went on a study abroad program in the fall of 2011in Madrid, Spain. He says the card helped him during his trip.

“I used it to look up discounts and hotels in Lisboa, Portugal, Rome, Italy, and all throughout my travels in Spain. [The] discounts [are] at hotels, local bars, travel tips, cheap rates to call home and medical plus emergencies tips.”

The ISIC card is an international accepted proof of full-time student status. According to the official website of ISIC,, the card is recognized by universities, academic institutions, student organizations, national governments and ministries of education around the world.

According to Teresa Cordova, public relations and communications coordinator of STA Travel, a privately owned company, the ISIC card is the largest globally recognized student identification for all full-time students in the U.S.

“ISIC card holders are members of a truly global club. Every year students use their ISIC card to take advantage of offers at home and overseas on travel, shopping, museums, food and much more,” Cordova wrote an e-mail.

According to the official website, a student can get the card in licensed travel organizations and student unions that distribute the card. The network of Licensed Authorities is responsible for ISIC sales in each country where the card is sold. The network is also responsible for the distribution, marketing and building, and managing the set of the benefits in each country.

Places that have the authority to issue the card are Licensed Authorities’ own branches and through appointed offices such as universities and banks. The country that doesn’t have licensed authority places distribute the card through appointed offices only, which are managed by the ISIC Global Office (IGO), as stated on the official website.

“If you’re a full-time student at a school, college or university aged 13 or over, you can apply for a student card with ISIC,” added Cordova in the e-mail.

Anyone who is between the ages of 13 to 26 is eligible for an International Youth Travel Card (IYTC) and benefit from some of the same offers as those who have the ISIC card. For those professionals in the educational field such as teachers there is a card he or she can also qualify for called the International Teacher Identity Card (ITIC).

For more than 50 years, the ISIC card has been offering benefits in 120 countries and to 4.5 million students. The student uses the card for discounts on travel, transportation, shopping, museums, food and entertainment.

“You’ll use your ISIC card to save money as you travel around the world on a well-deserved break from school. Also use it while kicking back at home going about your daily student life. There are tens of thousands of student discounts, so check out what’s available at your local restaurants, cinemas and shops,” Cordova said.

Ayleen Lopez, a senior at Florida International University, went backpacking through Europe in the summer of 2011 and said the discounts helped her in her journey.

“The discounts were the most beneficial part of having the ISIC card. I took a bus from Prague to Hungary and was able to pay a cheaper price because of the card and receive discounts while staying at hostels.”


  • The cost of the card is $25.
  • The card can also be purchased online at
  • The benefits vary by the country, so visit the website, and click the “Discounts” tab and the places will show up where the card can be used for the discounts.
  • The cards that are issued in the U.S. also include ISIC prepaid MasterCard®.
    • No need for a credit card or bank account.
    • No minimum balance.
    • Direct deposit load.
    • Backed by MasterCard’s Zero Liability protection and insured by the FDIC.
    • Can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted.

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