ISIC Association ISIC Association ISIC Association

Our 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. Together at the 3rd International Student Conference they collectively made the decision 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 recognise ISIC’s 60 years of history a short documentary featuring interviews with key people central to the ISIC card’s significant milestones in the past and present.

ISIC 60th Anniversary documentary from ISIC Service Office on Vimeo.

 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. In addition, 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.

Want to know more on the history of ISIC? View the latest timeline featured in the 2017 ISIC Association Annual Report.