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Education and Training

Information for Students Wishing to Attend Foreign Schools

The following information must be submitted by Veterans, Servicepersons, Reservists, and Eligible Dependents to assist VA to evaluate their intended program of education.

NOTE: Independent study (distance learning) courses must be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting association. In the alternative, the course may be approved under the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program.

This document provides general information about the approval of programs of education at foreign schools. It also provides specific information for veterans, servicepersons, reservists, and eligible dependents who are planning to pursue training at a foreign school.


  1. To be eligible for training in a foreign school, you must meet the same basic eligibility requirements as for training in the United States. In addition, the training at the foreign school must be at an institution of higher learning leading to a standard college degree, or the equivalent, and the program of education at the foreign institution must have been approved by VA.
    To apply online click on the Apply For Benefits box on the right hand side of this page.
  2. If you are determined to be eligible for VA benefits, you will be issued a Certificate of Eligibility showing the number of months of entitlement you have, as well as the date your eligibility expires. If possible, you should have this document in your possession before enrolling at a foreign school.
  3. You should submit your application early enough to have the program of education approved before leaving the United States. (See General Instruction below.)
  4. You may receive VA benefits under the following programs of educational assistance:
    1. Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33)
    2. Montgomery GI Bill – Active Duty (Chapter 30)
    3. Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)
    4. Post-Vietnam Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program – VEAP (Chapter 32)
    5. Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 35)
    6. Educational Assistance Pilot Program (Section 901)
    7. Omnibus Diplomatic Security & Antiterrorism Act

General Instructions

    1. Before enrolling at a foreign school:
      1. Determine if your program of education is approved for VA benefits. The educational institution you plan to attend should be able to advise you if the program you are interested in pursuing at their school has already been approved for VA benefits. If you are unable to obtain this information from your school, contact us using Ask VA. Provide the name of the foreign school, the complete address, and the name of the program you intend to pursue. We will advise you whether the program has already been approved for VA benefits.

IMPORTANT: If the program of education you intend to pursue has not yet been approved for VA benefits, you should contact an official from the foreign school and request they apply for approval. Only an official of the foreign school may apply for approval of a program; you cannot submit the request on the school’s behalf.

      1. Make arrangements with the school for acceptance, enrollment, payment of tuition and fees, and for any other requirements such as living accommodations.
      2. Make arrangements for travel including your passport, visa, and vaccinations, as required. You should also check with your intended school to ascertain the school’s or host country’s requirements for health insurance. This is very important since, in some instances, you may not be able to start classes until health insurance arrangements have been made.
      3. Maintain a sufficient financial reserve to care for all of your needs until VA educational assistance allowance payments begin.

IMPORTANT: If your program of education has not already been approved, you may experience delays while VA evaluates whether your program can be approved for VA benefits. If approval of your program of education is denied by VA, you will still be responsible to your school for all charges, including tuition and fees.

    1. Some countries have their own version of the Privacy Act. Students attending school in these countries should furnish written permission to school officials allowing them to release information as necessary to VA. Failure to do so may affect receipt of VA benefits.
  1. After enrolling at a foreign school:
    1. Submit your application to VA at least 90 days in advance of your departure to ensure ample time for processing. Prompt processing of your application for foreign training will be greatly facilitated if you send your application to the appropriate VA office.
    2. When you receive the Certificate of Eligibility, take it with you and submit it to the school’s certifying official as verification that you are eligible to receive VA benefits. Your school’s certifying official will then submit your enrollment information on VA Form 22-1999. Please note you will not receive payments until your enrollment information has been received and processed by VA.

Where Your Claim Will Be Processed

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 and Puerto Rico, your claim will be handled by the Muskogee Regional Processing Office. If you are training in U. S. Virgin Islands and any other foreign country or area, your claim will be handled by the Buffalo Regional Processing Office.


Normally, foreign schools certify their students for the complete academic year. If you plan to attend a foreign school for more than one year, 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, the school should request a supply of forms 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.

Approval Information

Information concerning the approval status of a program at a foreign school may be obtained by sending an email to FEDERAL.APPROVALS@VA.GOV.

When submitting an inquiry or application, you should clearly indicate your school name and your planned program of education as precisely as possible. VA will then advise you of the program’s approval status and thus enable you to contact your school without undue delay to initiate any approval procedures that may be necessary.

Restrictions on Foreign Training

The law provides that VA beneficiaries may not pursue programs of education at schools outside of the United States unless they are pursuing approved programs leading to a standard college degree, or the equivalent, at approved institutions of higher learning. The only exception is for persons eligible for Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (Chapter 35) who may receive VA benefits while pursuing approved postsecondary non-college degree programs at training establishments in the Philippines.

The term “institution of higher learning” means a college or university offering programs of instruction leading to an associate degree or higher, or its equivalent. The programs must be recognized as being comparable to a degree granted by accredited U. S. colleges and universities. VA will accept degrees granted by public colleges and universities in foreign countries as being comparable to degrees granted by accredited U. S. colleges and universities. Degrees, or their equivalent, granted by private colleges and universities in foreign countries must be comparable to degrees granted by public colleges and universities in the same country. Degree or equivalent programs must have the same entrance requirements as the degree programs offered by public colleges and universities in the same country.

Approval Procedures

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 a veteran, serviceperson, reservist, or eligible dependent wishes to enroll in a program of education that has not already been approved, he or she should ask the school to request approval of the program he or she intends to pursue. VA can take no action until a request for approval is received from a school official.

IMPORTANT: Some schools located in the United States offer courses in a foreign country under contract with the Department of Defense. These courses are not considered foreign training. Similarly, “Junior Year Abroad” programs and similar programs offered by schools in the United States are not considered foreign training.

Instructions on how school officials may apply for approval of programs of education can be found here.

Where To Go For Help

For applications and further information, the following offices or representatives will be glad to assist you:

  • Any VA Regional Office;
  • Local representatives of veterans’ organizations and the American Red Cross;
  • Foreign Service Posts;
  • Canadian Department of Veterans Affairs (Canadian schools only).

Within all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, call VA’s customer service toll-free for information about education benefits: 1-888-GI BILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). For toll-free TDD service, call 1-800-829-4833. For information about all other VA benefits, call toll-free 1-800-827-1000.

You may send us an email inquiry 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by using Ask VA. You will generally receive a response within 3 to 5 business days.

During business hours, Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm EST, Students and School Certifying Officials calling from outside the United States may call the Buffalo Regional Office at 716-857-3196 or 716-857-3197. Once connected, the caller can immediately enter "option 1" to be placed in special priority queue. This is not a toll-free number but the caller will be routed to the next available Customer Service Representative for priority service.