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Foreign Programs

If you plan to study at a foreign school, find out how you can use VA benefits to cover your tuition and fees.

Can I get VA education benefits to study at a foreign school?

You can get education benefits if you qualify for—or already get—VA educational assistance and:

  • We’ve approved your program, and
  • Your program is at an institution of higher learning where you’ll earn a standard college degree or something of equal value at that foreign school

Who’s covered?

  • Veterans
  • Qualified dependents

Exception: Family members who qualify for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance can get VA benefits while in approved postsecondary (after high school) non-college degree programs at training locations in the Philippines.

What benefits can I get?

  • Money for school
  • Money for your housing costs during enrollment

Is the application process different for foreign schools?

Yes. The application process is different. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Contact the school or use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to find out if we’ve approved your program for VA educational benefits. Use the GI Bill Comparison Tool.
  • If you still have questions regarding the school or program, you may submit a question to us using the GI Bill website. Go to the GI Bill website.
  • Then, give us the name of the foreign school, the complete address, and the name of the program you want to enroll in. We’ll let you know if your program has already been approved.

If you or your qualified dependent wants to enroll in a program that we haven’t approved, you’ll need to ask the school to request approval. We can’t take any action until an official from your school (not you) requests approval. If we don’t approve your program, you’ll have to pay all costs at the school, including tuition and fees.

Can I attend any foreign school?

  • We’ll accept degrees from schools in foreign countries that are similar to degrees granted by U.S. colleges and universities that are accredited (meaning approved and recognized according to certain standards).
  • For private schools overseas, the degree must be of equal value to those granted by public colleges and universities in the same country, and the school must have the same entrance requirements.
  • Independent study courses must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting association.

Use the GI Bill Comparison Tool to see what benefits you can get at the school you want to attend.
GI Bill Comparison Tool

Exception: Programs at schools located in the United States that offer courses in a foreign country under contract with the Department of Defense don’t qualify as foreign training. Likewise, year abroad and similar programs offered by schools in the United States don’t qualify as foreign training.

How do I get these benefits?

  1. After we approve the school, you’ll need to apply. Apply for benefits.

    Turn in your application to us at least 90 days before you leave for your new school. We’ll decide what benefits you get based on your school’s location.

    If you get approved for benefits, turn in your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to the school’s certifying official to show that you qualify for VA benefits. Your school’s certifying official will submit your enrollment information with VA Form 22-1999. Please note that you won’t get payments until we’ve received and processed your enrollment information.

  2. Be sure you have enough money to cover all your needs until VA payments begin. And make arrangements with the school for acceptance, enrollment, payment of tuition and fees, and housing.

  3. You must give written permission for school officials to release information to us as necessary. If you don’t, it could affect when you get benefits.

    Normally, foreign schools certify their students for 1 academic year. Within 120 days of your enrollment, you should let the school know if you plan to re-enroll, and ask the certifying official to submit an enrollment certification for you. You should make sure the school knows your plans for continued enrollment in order to avoid any delay in getting your benefits.

Need help?

Get more information or help with your application:

  • If you’re in the United States, call 888-442-4551 (888-GI-BILL-1), 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (CT), Monday through Friday. Or, go to a VA Regional Benefit Office near you. Find a Regional Benefit Office.
  • If you’re outside the United States, call 001-918-781-5678 during business hours, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (CT), Monday through Friday
  • Get help from local representatives of Veterans organizations and the American Red Cross
  • Go to a foreign service post
  • Contact the 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. Submit a Question.