The ISIC Association is the non-profit organisation behind the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). The ISIC card is the only internationally accepted proof of bona fide student status.

First established in 1953, the ISIC card is now issued to students  in over 130 countries. The ISIC card is not exclusive. All bona fide students over the age of 12, regardless of their nationality, race, gender or religion can purchase an ISIC card at an affordable price. Via one single card, ISIC students gain preferential and discounted access to products, services and experiences relevant to all aspects of student life, from software licenses and cinema access, to bookstores, public transport, cafés and eateries.

Through the wide range of opportunities available to cardholders, the ISIC Association aims to play a supporting role in improving intercultural understanding, increasing educational opportunities and facilitating student life across the world. Related to this, the ISIC card has been endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) since 1968.

The ISIC card is managed at a global level by the ISIC Global Office B.V., based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The ISIC card allows students the world over to prove their      official student status and make the most of thousands of targeted student benefits and discounts in over 130 countries.

Developed to help nurture cross-cultural understanding and international exchange, the card originally provided students with access to exclusive discounts on travel opportunities, allowing cardholders to discover and interact with new countries, cultures and languages at reduced rates.

Now, firmly in the digital age, the ISIC card has evolved to best meet the needs of the modern day student. Although travel benefits will always remain central to the card, ISIC cardholders also gain preferential and discounted access to over 150,000 products, services and experiences relevant to all aspects of student life. There are a multitude of offers available to ISIC cardholders, from educational courses, software licenses, digital communications, public transport and magazine subscriptions, to music streaming, cafés and eateries, music festivals, theme parks, sporting events, world heritage sites and more!.

The ISIC card has been endorsed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) since 1968.  The card is recognised by universities, academic institutions, student unions, national governments, financial institutions and ministries of education around the world.

60 years of history

The ISIC card was first created by students for students in 1953. The decision to create the ISIC card was an initiative of the Norwegian and Dutch Union of Students, supported by the Coordinating Secretariat of National Unions of Students (COSEC) of Denmark, at the 3rd International Student Conference where the decision was made to

take the necessary steps to ensure that an International Student Identity Card be made available as soon as possible in as large a part of the world as possible.”

Originally the ISIC card was a student identity card that gave fulltime students world access to special discounted airfares. In order to get discounted airfares students bought an ISIC card allowing cardholders to explore the world and discover new countries and cultures.

This supported the ISIC card’s pioneering mission statement:

Increasing international understanding through the promotion of travel and exchange opportunities among students, young people and the academic community.”

2013 marked the 60th Anniversary of the International Student Identity Card (ISIC). To find out more, watch this short video featuring interviews with key people central to the ISIC card’s significant milestones in the past and present, and providing a snapshot of the promising future ahead for ISIC cardholders.

A change in focus

ISIC continues to be the only internationally recognised proof of student status. However, the growth of discounted airfares online has changed the ISIC card focus. The availability of cheap online flights has led to the decrease in ISIC card sales in the new millennium for simply travel related purposes. Today, the portfolio of benefits and discounts accessible with the ISIC card goes far beyond travel alone. The ISIC card is now also an everyday use student lifestyle card. Cardholders still enjoy discounts and services on travel opportunities. On top of that, students gain preferential access to over 150,000 products, services or experiences in every stage and area of student life, both at home and abroad.

The Mission of the ISIC Association is:  ‘To make student life better’.

This mission will be advanced by playing a key supporting role in the lives of students globally in helping make their student time easier, more affordable and more enjoyable via facilitating the international recognition of their official student status.

The Objective of the Association is for the ISIC to become the must-have for students worldwide.

This objective will be advanced by increasing access to educational opportunities, facilitating student life, fostering intercultural understanding and educational exchange, and forging stronger
relationships between students of all nationalities and the global academic community.

ISIC works with a number of global partners who are committed to supporting students around the world. Click on each of our partners below to see what special benefits, discounts and services are available to ISIC cardholders internationally.


A co-branded card is a unique all-in-one card which combines the ISIC, IYTC or ITIC card and a partner organisation’s branding and services in an effort to reach a common or shared target market. The result is a convenient card package that allows the cardholder to access both the partner’s product and services, and the ISIC benefits and student identity element all within a single card which features dual branding. Current ISIC co-brand partners include academic institutions, financial institutions and banks, as well as other commercial partners such as transportation and travel insurance companies.

Since a number of years, the ISIC is also distributed as co-brand card, in partnership mainly with banks, schools and universities, student associations, transport companies and/or any organization which is targeting its services to students or youth. These partnerships allow co-brand partners to upgrade their bank, college, transportation or other cards to an official student ID with ISIC, giving the card holders access to all the global and local ISIC benefits. 

With co-branded cards, ISIC or ITIC and a service provider or institute join together to create a unique card with the aim to reach and provide services to a common market.

Why switch your student card to the ISIC card?

The ISIC card combined with your visual identity on your student cards will enable you to:

  1. Promote your international scope by making your education policy even more visible to Kenyan and foreign colleagues and potential students that you are an establishment without borders: your students’ status must be recognized around the world,
  2. Offer your students a widely accepted card while encouraging them to increase their international mobility. With ISIC, they can organize their overseas travel in the best conditions. The ISIC card provides access to over 42,000+ benefits and discounts relevant to students in 125,000+ locations worldwide relating to travel, everyday life, culture, leisure, etc.,
  3. Contribute to welcoming foreign students by offering them, in addition to international benefits, information and discounts in all aspects of everyday life in Kenya,
  4. Regroup and develop over time the technological applications of your student card in order to improve the running of your internal services by having the largest possible range of technical solutions, and …
  5. Lastly, offer your teaching staff the ITIC card (International Teacher Identity Card) and your non-teaching staff a Staff card granting access to specific discounts in Kenya and around the world. 

ISIC provides complete card technology, issuing and printing services to enable you to seamlessly issue and distribute ID and access cards within your organisation. 



You can choose to integrate ISIC with your existing member card in-house or create a new all-in-one multi-functional card. We offer complete printing and card issuing solutions to academic institutions, membership organisations and businesses.

ISIC smart card services include barcode integration, magnetic stripe, contact smart cards and contactless smart cards. 

                                        Card technology options

Being able to add different forms of card technology to the ISIC card allows you to create a multi-functional card which will service the key needs of your organisation with the added benefits of an ISIC globally recognised ID and access to the ISIC discount portfolio. 

Common uses of card technology integrated with ISIC:

  • Barcodes: access control, identification, usage tracking
  • Magnetic stripe: identification, verification, usage tracking, quick data retrieval
  • Contact smart card: payment and banking cards, identification, access 
  • Contactless smart card: payment, banking and transport cards, identification, credit card, access card

Benefits of integrating card technology into your ID card

  1. Barcodes: simple technology and easy implementation, low investment, widely available
  2. Magnetic stripe: Globally standardised
  3. Contact smart card: High level of security, bigger data storage, high durability, commonly used by banks and financial institutions, data processing ability
  4. Contactless smart card: Highly practical and convenient, fast transaction speed, multi-functional due to its high ability to process data, 2 chips can be combined into 1 card

Work with ISIC

  1. Become an ISIC benefit partner
  2. Become an ISIC issuing partner
  3. See who we work with