Frequently Asked Questions

How do I open a bank account?

The international student advisor will provide you with a letter that will facilitate your application for a bank account at any bank. You can check the Handbook for International Students for information on banks and ATM machines on campus and in the neighborhood.

How do I get a Social Security number (SSN)?

Once you get a job offer, you should come to the ISA office to get a disk containing a letter that your prospective employer must complete and print out on office stationery. Once you obtain that letter, bring it to the ISA office and request a letter from the advisor. Take both letters to your local social security office, along with your passport and I-20 or DS-2019 to request a SSN.

Can I get support letters for SSN and driver’s license applications, a relative’s visit, military postponement, etc?

Yes, any letters which are required by the U.S. and foreign governments, as well as for the visit of relatives to the U.S., can be obtained at the ISA office.

Do I need to be concerned about taxes when I did not earn any money last year?

Yes. Everyone must file federal, state and local tax returns in April for the preceding year. Check your email and the ISA Moodle page for more information on your tax obligations beginning in February. Forms will be available in the ISA office in early March.

May I enroll part-time this semester?

You can be enrolled part-time only if it is your last semester before graduation and you need less than full-time enrollment to complete your studies. If this is true, you must complete and submit a Request for Reduced Course Load to the ISA office. If you are thinking about dropping below full-time enrollment or dropping classes for any other reason, you must first see the international student advisor about your case.

I have moved. Whom should I notify?

You can change your address with the Registrar’s office and the ISA office via email or in person. You must notify the ISA office within 10 days of your move. When you notify the ISA, we will automatically notify the U.S. government.

Do I need to have health insurance?

Yes. Healthcare in the U.S. is extremely expensive and all students are advised to enroll in a health insurance plan. Information on several plans designed especially for international students and scholars is provided at the orientation programs in August and January and available anytime in the ISA office, Miguel Hall 207A. J-1 students and dependents are required to have health insurance. If you have a dependent, or have questions about your health insurance, see the international student advisor or email

Where do I look for an on-campus job?

Check individual offices where you wish to work. (Suggested locations include O’Malley Library, the Athletic department, the Admissions center and the Research and Learning Center.) Also check the Student Financial Services office in Miguel Hall 100 or online F-1 students do not need to receive prior authorization from the ISA office to work on campus. J-1 students must get written authorization from their responsible officer (international student advisor) before they can work on campus.

Are there really limits on how many hours I can work on campus?

Yes. Students are limited to 15 hours per week working on campus during the semester.

I have questions about my I-94 status and about my visa too. Whom do I ask?

Discuss all your immigration and visa related concerns with the international student advisor. To prevent misinformation it is best to not seek advice from friends, even if they are an international student too, as each situation can be different.

I lost my passport. What should I do?

File a police report, notify your country’s consular office, and let the ISA office know as soon as possible.

I lost my I-20, DS-2019, 1-94 card or other important document. What should I do?

Come to the ISA office right away with any documents or copies of documents that you still have.

I plan to travel outside the US. What do I need to do?

Request a travel signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 at least a week in advance of your trip by coming to the ISA office in Miguel Hall 207A.

Do I need a travel signature while on F-1 OPT or J-1 Academic Training?

Yes. Please visit the ISA Blackboard page and check out the articles on travel listed under employment.

I am a transfer student and the visa in my passport reads my previous institution’s name. Does this pose a problem?

No. You are allowed to transfer to another institution in the U.S., and your visa from your previous institution is still valid as long as it hasn’t expired. If it has expired, you should ask the international student advisor how to renew it.

If I take a W grade for a course during the middle of a semester, does that mean I am no longer full-time?

If you receive a W for your course, you cannot count the credit for that course toward your full-time enrollment requirement. For example, if you registered and enrolled for 12 credits and you receive a grade of W for three credits, then you will only receive nine credits of total enrollment. This will drop you below full-time if full-time enrollment for your program is 12 credits. If you do not know how many credits you must enroll for, contact the international student advisor. Failure to be enrolled as a full-time student will result in your being out of status.