If you plan to study at a foreign school, you can use VA benefits to cover your tuition and fees.
Are you eligible for compensation?
- You are eligible for, or are already receiving, VA educational assistance.
- Your program is approved by VA.
- Your program at the foreign school is at an institution of higher learning and will earn you a standard college degree or the equivalent.
Exception: Those eligible for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance may receive VA benefits while pursuing approved postsecondary non-college degree programs at training establishments in the Philippines.
Who is covered
You and your dependents
- Significant tuition assistance
- A location-adjusted housing allowance to pay for your living expenses during enrollment
How it works
VA will accept degrees from schools or establishments in foreign countries that are similar to degrees granted by accredited U.S. colleges and universities. If you are considering getting a degree or its equivalent from a private institution overseas, the degree must be comparable to those granted by public colleges and universities in the same country. In addition, programs at private institutions must have the same entrance requirements as programs offered by public colleges and universities in the same country. Independent study (distance learning) courses must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting association.
Exception: Programs at schools located in the United States that offer courses in a foreign country under contract with the Department of Defense are not considered foreign training. Likewise, “Year Abroad” and similar programs offered by schools in the United States are not considered foreign training.
For applications and further information, the following offices or representatives will be glad to assist you:
- Any VA regional office (from outside the United States, call 001-918-781-5678 during business hours, 7:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (CST), Monday through Friday)
- Local representatives of Veterans organizations and the American Red Cross
- Foreign service posts
- Canadian Department of Veterans Affairs (Canadian schools only)
You can also check your approval status or send us questions by email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by using the Submit a Question section of our website.
How to apply
Begin your application process and see below for next steps.
Before enrolling at your foreign school:
Contact the school or Submit a Question to learn if VA approves your program for benefits. Provide the name of the foreign school, the complete address, and the name of the program you intend to pursue. VA will let you know whether your program has already been approved. Allow for extra time if you are applying to a program that VA has not yet approved.
- Programs offered by schools in the Philippines are subject to approval by the Director of the Manila Regional Office. Programs offered by all other foreign schools are subject to approval by the Director of the Buffalo Regional Office.
- If you or your eligible dependent wishes to enroll in a program that has not already been approved by VA, you will need to ask the school to request approval. VA can take no action until a request for approval is received from a school official (not from you). Note that if your program is not approved, you will be responsible for all costs at the school, including tuition and fees.
- School officials should follow these instructions when applying for approval of education programs.
Make arrangements with the school for acceptance, enrollment, payment of tuition and fees, and living accommodations.
Make arrangements for travel, including your passport, visa, and vaccinations, as required. You should also check with your school to learn about the health insurance requirements for the host country or school.
Be sure you have enough money to care for all of your needs until VA payments begin.
You must provide written permission for school officials to release information as necessary to VA. Failure to do so may affect receipt of VA benefits. Some countries have their own version of the Privacy Act, which is the preferred format.
After enrolling at your foreign school:
Submit your application to VA at least 90 days before your departure. Make sure you send your application to the appropriate regional office for the fastest service. Your benefit will be processed depending on your school’s location:
- If you are training in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, your claim will be handled by the Atlanta Regional Processing Office (in Decatur, Georgia).
- If you are training in the Republic of the Philippines, American Samoa, Guam, Midway, Wake Island, any of the islands in the Federated States of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau, your claim will be handled by the Muskogee Regional Processing Office.
- If you are training in any other foreign country or area, your claim will be handled by the Buffalo Regional Processing Office.
Submit your Certificate of Eligibility to the school’s certifying official as verification that you are eligible to receive VA benefits.
Your school’s certifying official will submit your enrollment information on VA Form 22-1999. Please note that you will not receive payments until your enrollment information has been received and processed by VA.
Normally, foreign schools certify their students for one academic year. If you intend to continue your education at the foreign school for longer than one academic year, you may have to reapply. Within 120 days of your reenrollment, you should notify the school of your intention to reenroll and have the appropriate certifying official submit an enrollment certification for your reenrollment. If your school does not have a supply of the enrollment certifications, it should request them from the Buffalo Regional Office, and they will be mailed directly to the school.
You should keep the school advised of your plans for continuing enrollment in order to avoid any delay in receiving your benefits.