What is an ISIC card and what does it do?

isic card

The International Student Identity Card (or ISIC), at present, is the only internationally recognized ID card for students. It offers proof of your full-time student status and can help you avail more than 1,50,000 discounts in over 130 countries. The card is issued by the ISIC Association, which is a non-profit organization registered in Denmark. The card was first introduced in 1953 by the ISIC Association with an aim to improve cross-cultural understanding and to increase education-related opportunities. Presently, student organizations, academic institutions, and governments of 133 countries recognize the card. Each year, over 5 million students buy this card.

The students with this card can benefit from the following:

1. 1200 Buses, Airlines, Trains, Coaches, and Ferries

2. 2700 Attractions

3. 2800 Cultural Sites and Museums

4. 2400 Hostels and budget hostels

5. 21000 Bars, restaurants, and Entertainment

Read More: Study Abroad after 12th or Graduation

ISIC Card Benefits

Let us learn more about ISIC card benefits:

1. Easy to use

Just like other Prepaid Forex Cards, you can credit the card with the amount of foreign currency as per your requirement. One can then use it to withdraw cash in a foreign country from any ATM.

2. Provides protection against fluctuation of forex

As the forex  (foreign exchange) rates fall, you may lose some value of the foreign currency in cash. However, once you load the ISIC card, the amount gets protected against any volatility of forex, since the exchange rates remain locked-in.

3. Quick reloads

Once you have an ISIC card, you do not need to be dependent on wire transfers from home. The card can easily and instantly be reloaded via NetBanking or Phone Banking, or even by visiting a branch, which even your family can do on your behalf.

4. Saves money

With the help of an ISIC card, you can avail several discounts as well as offers on food, books, accommodation, shopping, travel, and leisure activities in more than 130 countries.

5. Widely accepted

ISIC cards are accepted at every outlet where a MasterCard is accepted. This means that the card can be used with ease regardless of where you are and what you want to buy.

6. Universal identity

This card is accepted across the globe as a student identity card. It can be used to access all facilities that are available for students.

7. Safe and secure transactions

Some banks use an embedded chip in the ISIC card to make sure that the transactions are safe and secure. It gives you the necessary protection from phishing and other financial risks.

8. Complimentary insurance

You can also get insurance against misuse of stolen or lost ISIC cards. You may get air accident cover, and cover for the loss of baggage with the card.

9. Easy to track

You can easily track your ISIC card online. You can check the transactions, balance, and even change your IPIN if you want. Most of the features that can be found in a modern bank card are all present in the ISIC card.

10. International SIM for free

Once you have an ISIC card, you can  also get an international SIM card for free. The SIM card will have a pre-recharged amount of INR 200.  

Read More: Best countries to study abroad for Indian students

Who can get an ISIC card?

To get an ISIC card, you have to be a full-time student at a school, college or university.  One should be aged at least 12 to apply for it.  There is no upper age limit to procure it. However, proving that you are a full-time student is a must. In case you are on a break from your study at present, you have to check with the local issuer of the ISIC card to know whether you qualify for it or not.

How to apply for an ISIC card?

How to get an ISIC card might be a big concern for many students. To answer it simply, you need to apply either online or can visit an ISIC office to get it. Let us discuss both these ways in details:

1. Online Process

Applying online is the most convenient way in which you can get an ISIC card. You just have to go to the ISIC website, select your respective country from there, fill out the form correctly, and upload the required documents properly.

a) You need to upload a digital photo in jpeg format. It would be best if you can get a passport size photo; however, if you do not have that, even a selfie with a blue or white background will serve the purpose.

b) The next thing that you have to upload is the scanned copy of the proof of your full-time student status. The date of the issue in it has to be clearly visible. The student status documents must have things like your university card or at least an official letter of acceptance.

c) The next thing is a scanned copy of the proof of your identity, such as your driver’s license or passport.

d) Next is the method of payment, you can either go for a  card payment or Paypal for the same.

Online orders for the card usually take 3-4 weeks to be delivered, depending upon the postal service of the country you are in. 

2. Offline Process

You have to visit an ISIC issuing office and buy a card from there. These offices are located all across the world but you can check for the one that is located nearest to your place. You need to present the same set of documents as required during the online application process.

Read More: Study Abroad Checklist

Validity of an ISIC card

The validity of this card is one year. From the date of issuance, the card remains valid for one entire year.

Cost to ISIC card in the US and Canada

The cost of an ISIC card varies from one country to the other but usually falls between USD 4 and USD 25 (INR 296 and INR 1857). The cost of an ISIC card is directly proportional to the buying power in each country. It is calculated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) so that each place has fair prices.

Let us take a look at the ISIC card pricing in the US and Canada:

USA

1. ISIC with no travel insurance – $20 (INR 1487)

2. ISIC with Basic travel insurance – $25 (INR 1857)

3. With Premium travel insurance – $199 (INR 14779)

4. With Explorer travel insurance – $199 (INR 14779)

Canada

1. Virtual ISIC card – $20 (INR 1160)

2. Additional plastic card (requires virtual ISIC) – $5 (INR 291)

3. Getting an ISIC card is a great idea for students who are moving to a different country and want to explore a more reliable way to manage their finances.

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