Getting a Social Security Card
Generally speaking, social security numbers are available to F-1/J-1 students after they have an offer of employment that meets the SSA standards and have obtained an original employer's letter.
WHAT YOU NEED TO APPLY
*Attention: Original visa documents are required for the application process.
1. Completed application. Form SS-5
Note: On #5 Citizenship, on the SS-5 form, check off “Legal Alien Allowed to Work”
2. Valid Passport
3. Original SEVIS I-20 document (for F-1 visa holders) or DS-2019 (for J-1/J-2 visa holders)
4. A valid I-94 card
5. Proof of employment eligibility (job offer letter, see below)
Original Employer’s Letter on hiring department’s letterhead and must be signed by the employing office.
To minimize any delays please bring originals of all documents. The SSA does not accept any photo copies of documents. Students at UWG can begin their on-campus employment once the application has been filed with SSA. The start date of your employment can not be prior to the date on the SSA receipt. A Social Security Number and card will be issued within two weeks of receiving certification from the Department of Homeland Security.
Getting a Driver's License
You must have a driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle in the United States. Your international driver’s license authorizes you to drive in the US, but local laws and driving procedures may be very different from those in your home country. You may wish to obtain a Georgia driver’s license.
A driver’s license can be obtained from the Georgia Department of Driver Services
Fees and Proof of Identification
To apply for a driver’s license there is a small fee (about $20). You must also show the following as proof of identification:
- Two documents showing your Proof of Residence (utility bill, bank statement, rental/leasing contract, etc.)
- Passport and I-20 form or DS-2019 form
- I-94 form
- Social Security Number.
- If you do not have a social security number, you will have to obtain a Form SSA-L676 'SSN CARD DENIAL NOTICE' from a local SSA office before visiting a DDS Customer Service Center to apply for a driver's license.
- You may contact the SSA at (800) 772-1213 or http://www.ssa.gov to find the SSA office nearest you. After obtaining the form, bring it to the Customer Service Center when you apply for your driver's license or identification card.
- Immigration Status Verification
The Department of Drivers Services (DDS) is required by US federal law to check the validity of your immigration status in a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) verification system known as SAVE. If you are new to the US, you should wait 10 days after entering the US and be sure your SEVIS record has been activated before applying for the license to ensure your information has been uploaded to the SAVE system. If your information matches up successfully in the SAVE database, DDS staff can proceed with your application.
Sometimes there are problems with the verification process in SAVE. If SAVE does not verify your identity on the first check, you will be asked to leave and return in 5 days. DDS should provide you with a case number, and you can phone a DHS help line: 1-888-464-4218. You will need your case number and immigration documents on hand when you call.
Validity Period of License
The expiration date of your new license will match the end date of your I-20 or DS-2019 form (not to exceed a validity period of 3 years). If you are currently pursuing post-completion Optional Practical Training, the expiration date will match the end date of your OPT as listed on your EAD card.
Banking in the USA
Functions of a Bank
- Making transactions easier both domestic and internationally
- They provide a return (pay interest) on our saving
- Safety of principal and interest
- Convenience of being able to write checks and use debit cards
- How and where to open a bank account?
- There are several banks to choose from in Carrollton. Each bank offers different services, so it is important that you compare these services.
- Two pieces of identification (UWG University ID/Georgia State driver's license/passport).
- Students do not need a Social Security number to open a bank account.
- Students need only to provide proof that they are accepted as students of UWG.
- Deposit $25.00 in a savings account in order to qualify for checking and other services.
- A savings account enables students to save money and accumulate interest on their savings. Interest is paid either monthly or quarterly.
- Although students can withdraw money from their savings account, this service limits, the number of monthly withdrawals permitted without penalty.
- Banks offer different types of checking accounts designed to fit individual needs. The cost of having a checking account varies from bank to bank. Some banks charge per transaction, some have a basic monthly fee, and others offer free services for those who maintain a certain minimum balance in their account at all times. A list of all the account activity will be sent in a monthly statement. Students should carefully record every check they write, every withdrawal and deposit, and any transaction fees in order to avoid having checks returned and incurring additional charges. "Bouncing" a check (writing a check for more money than is actually in the account) can cause a major expense and a great deal of trouble. Some banks provide overdraft protection.
Interest Bearing Checking Account
- Regular checking accounts do not earn interest. However, an interest bearing checking account combines the features of both a checking account and a savings account. This means that students may write checks and also collect interest on the money in their account. This type of account usually requires a high minimum balance at all times.
How To Cash Checks
- To cash a check two pieces of identification are needed. The primary piece of ID must be a driver's license or a State of Georgia ID card. The second piece of ID is usually a major credit card.
- Some stores will cash a check for students who shop there regularly and have a proper ID. Some stores may not accept the temporary checks that most banks issue to new account holders. In fact, most stores require that checks have name and addresses professionally printed on them.
State of Georgia ID Card
- Non-drivers can be issued a State of Georgia picture ID card at the Georgia Department of Transportation, This ID is available to individuals who do not have a driver's license. A valid passport is required for verification of person and date of birth. The State of Georgia ID card is an accepted form of identification throughout Georgia and is valid for four years. It can be used for identification when cashing a check or when opening a bank account.
Function of A Bank Card
- Many banks issue cards that make deposit and withdrawal services available 24 hours a day by use of an automatic teller machine (ATM). These machines, frequently located outside the bank, are very convenient and allow access to cash after the bank closes or in an emergency. However, there is often a service charge of approximately $1-$2 for using ATM's from another bank.
- A note of caution: To prevent assault, users of ATM's should be cautions when withdrawing funds after dark.
- Credit cards are convenient, especially to cover unexpected major expenses. Medical fees, airplane tickets, and car repairs can be paid for by with any major credit card. But credit cards are seductive. It is very easy to get deeply into debt. Be sure to understand all of the terms of a credit card before signing anything. Most credit companies charge an annual fee of $20 to $40. Some waive this fee while others do so with a minimum number of annual transactions. The company will send a monthly statement. By paying the full balance before the statement date, additional finance charges (usually 25 - 18%) may be avoided. The credit card company will then assess a finance charge on unpaid balances. That charge will appear on the next month's statement.
- A note of caution: The issuing company should be notified about lost credit card A new card with a new account number will be sent. Also call the police department so that it may have the information needed in case of any illegal activity any old account.
Returning Student Airport Transportation
The ISAP office volunteers their time to provide transportation to the international students to and from the airport at the beginning tne end of the semesters. Transportation deadlines are listed below and it is unlikely that we can accommodate requests that are made after the deadlines.
International Student Tax Information
In most cases, international students will have to file tax forms for their stay in the United States, even if you were not employed. Please click the button below to learn more about your tax obligations.
Out of State Tutition Waiver
International Students at UWG may be eligible for an out of state tuition waiver which helps allows international students to pay in-state tuition. See the requirements and different levels of the waiver by clicking the button below.
International Student Scholarships
We encourage all of our students to submit a General Scholarship Application on our financial aid website. This applies you to all of the scholarships UWG has to offer.
International students can also apply for private scholarships.
International students who are experiencing an emergency (such as a death in the family or medical illness) can also apply for the Carrollton Civic Women's Club Emergency Fund.
Carrollton Civic Woman's International Student Emergency Fund
The Carrollton Civic Woman’s Club International Student Emergency Fund was set up in support of CCWC’s passion to help international students. Their model is “Planting the Seeds of Service in our Community”. Funds from the Carrollton Civic Woman’s Club International Student Emergency may be used for the following purposes:
- Emergency funding for international students experiencing a situation that is critical in nature.
- Sudden health emergency
- Death in the family, or other family emergency
The Emergency Fund is reserved for currently enrolled students who experience a true emergency causing a financial hardship such as money needed for unplanned trip home due to a death or illness of a family member, replacement clothing or books due to a fire or other disaster, medical emergencies or other unforeseen but urgent situations.
I. GENERAL INFORMATION
- Emergency monies are not to exceed $400.00 unless unusual documented circumstances exist.
- Students may receive only one Emergency Fund disbursement within an academic year.
- Emergency Funds are not intended for tuition and fees or standard living expenses.
- Emergency Fund disbursements are not made when school is not in session.
- Each Emergency Fund application will be considered on its own merits.
- Supporting documentation showing need may be required.
- Students must be registered full time unless a reduced course load has been approved through ISAP.
II. PROCESSING AND DISBURSEMENT
- Applications received will be reviewed immediately or in no more than 48 hours.
- Once approved, emergency items, will be purchased by the Office of International Student Admissions & Programs staff with a debit card issued expressly for this purpose. Itemized receipts will be retained to document expenses. There will be no cash disbursements.
Campus Directory for International Students
Department Description & Services Website Phone Number Office Location Academic Advising Meet with an advisor to know which classes to take https://www.westga.edu/student-services/advising/index.php (678) 839-5342 UCC, Room 208 Bursar's Office Fee payment and refunds https://www.westga.edu/student-services/bursar/index.php (678) 839-4737 Aycock Hall, Room 101 Career Services Help to find a job on campus, internships and OPT options after graduation. Also assist with resume writing, interviews, etc. https://www.westga.edu/student-services/careerservices/index.php (678) 839-6431 Row Hall, Third Floor Center for Academic Success Academic Coaching, Tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, Academic Success Workshops http://www.westga.edu/cas/ (678) 839-6280 UCC, Room 200 Center for Student Involvement Campus organizations, Fraternities and Sororities, volunteer, leadership training https://www.westga.edu/campus-life/csi/index.php (678) 839-6526 Campus Center, Room 123 Coliseum Sports events, graduation https://www.westga.edu/campus-life/coliseum/index.php (678) 839-5105 Coliseum Counseling Services Assistance with stress, anxiety, culture shock, etc. https://www.westga.edu/student-services/counseling/index.php (678) 839-6428 Row Hall, Room 123 Dine West Meal Plans and on campus dining options https://www.westga.edu/campus-life/dinewest/index.php (678) 839-6525 Z-6; East Commons Enrollment Services Center Transcripts, certificates of enrollment, course overrides http://www.westga.edu/esc/ (678) 839-6140 Parker Hall Financial Aid Scholarships and Loans https://www.westga.edu/student-services/financialaid/index.php (678) 839-6421 Parker Hall Health Services Doctor's visits, immunizations, pharmacy https://www.westga.edu/student-services/health/index.php (678) 839-6452 Health Center Housing & Residence Life Living arrangements on campus https://www.westga.edu/campus-life/housing/index.php (678) 839-6426 East Commons, First Floor International Student Admissions & Programs Immigration compliance and international student support services https://www.westga.edu/academics/isap/ (678) 839-4780 Mandeville Hall, First Floor Library Checkout books and resources, class reserves, research help http://www.westga.edu/library/ (678) 839-6495 Library Multicultural Achievement Program Center for Diversity and Inclusion, AAMI, Cultural heritage Celebrations https://www.westga.edu/campus-life/diversity/multicultural-program.php (678) 839-6582 Row Hall, Room 204 Parking and Transportation Get your parking permits, pay parking tickets, and help with bus services https://www.westga.edu/campus-life/parking/index.php (678) 839-6629 Row Hall, First Floor Registrar Registering for classes, account holds, dropped classes https://www.westga.edu/registrar/ (678) 839-6438 Parker Hall Student Information Technology Services Computer repairs and software, such as anti-virus, Microsoft Office, and Windows for FREE http://www.westga.edu/sits/ (678) 839-5067 Cobb Hall, Room 122 University Bookstore Textbooks, clothes, graduation announcements, general merchandise http://www.bookstore.westga.edu/ (678) 839-6523 Bookstore University Police Report a crime, request assistance, emergencies, campus security https://www.westga.edu/police/index.php# (678) 839-6000 Row Hall, First Floor University Recreation Center Gym, fitness classes, outdoor recreation, club sports, intramural sports https://www.westga.edu/campus-life/urec/index.php (678) 839-5500 Campus Center Wolves Card Office Get your student ID card and help with the account linked to the card https://www.westga.edu/campus-life/wolvescard/index.php (678) 839-6525 University Community Center, Third Floor
Department: Academic Advising
Description & Services: Meet with an advisor to know which classes to take
Phone Number: (678) 839-5342
Office Location: UCC, Room 208
Department: Bursar's Office
Description & Services: Fee payment and refunds
Phone Number: (678) 839-4737
Office Location: Aycock Hall, Room 101
Department: Career Services
Description & Services: Help to find a job on campus, internships and OPT options after graduation. Also assist with resume writing, interviews, etc.
Phone Number: (678) 839-6431
Office Location: Row Hall, Third Floor
Department: Center for Academic Success
Description & Services: Academic Coaching, Tutoring, Supplemental Instruction, Academic Success Workshops
Phone Number: (678) 839-6280
Office Location: UCC, Room 200
Department: Center for Student Involvement
Description & Services: Campus organizations, Fraternities and Sororities, volunteer, leadership training
Phone Number: (678) 839-6526
Office Location: Campus Center, Room 123
Description & Services: Sports events, graduation
Phone Number: (678) 839-5105
Office Location: Coliseum
Department: Counseling Services
Description & Services: Assistance with stress, anxiety, culture shock, etc.
Phone Number: (678) 839-6428
Office Location: Row Hall, Room 123
Department: Dine West
Description & Services: Meal Plans and on campus dining options
Phone Number: (678) 839-6525
Office Location: Z-6; East Commons
Department: Enrollment Services Center
Description & Services: Transcripts, certificates of enrollment, course overrides
Phone Number: (678) 839-6140
Office Location: Parker Hall
Department: Financial Aid
Description & Services: Scholarships and Loans
Phone Number: (678) 839-6421
Office Location: Parker Hall
Department: Health Services
Description & Services: Doctor's visits, immunizations, pharmacy
Phone Number: (678) 839-6452
Office Location: Health Center
Department: Housing & Residence Life
Description & Services: Living arrangements on campus
Phone Number: (678) 839-6426
Office Location: East Commons, First Floor
Department: International Student Admissions & Programs
Description & Services: Immigration compliance and international student support services
Phone Number: (678) 839-4780
Office Location: Mandeville Hall, First Floor
Description & Services: Checkout books and resources, class reserves, research help
Phone Number: (678) 839-6495
Office Location: Library
Department: Multicultural Achievement Program
Description & Services: Center for Diversity and Inclusion, AAMI, Cultural heritage Celebrations
Phone Number: (678) 839-6582
Office Location: Row Hall, Room 204
Department: Parking and Transportation
Description & Services: Get your parking permits, pay parking tickets, and help with bus services
Phone Number: (678) 839-6629
Office Location: Row Hall, First Floor
Description & Services: Registering for classes, account holds, dropped classes
Phone Number: (678) 839-6438
Office Location: Parker Hall
Department: Student Information Technology Services
Description & Services: Computer repairs and software, such as anti-virus, Microsoft Office, and Windows for FREE
Phone Number: (678) 839-5067
Office Location: Cobb Hall, Room 122
Department: University Bookstore
Description & Services: Textbooks, clothes, graduation announcements, general merchandise
Phone Number: (678) 839-6523
Office Location: Bookstore
Department: University Police
Description & Services: Report a crime, request assistance, emergencies, campus security
Phone Number: (678) 839-6000
Office Location: Row Hall, First Floor
Department: University Recreation Center
Description & Services: Gym, fitness classes, outdoor recreation, club sports, intramural sports
Phone Number: (678) 839-5500
Office Location: Campus Center
Department: Wolves Card Office
Description & Services: Get your student ID card and help with the account linked to the card
Phone Number: (678) 839-6525
Office Location: University Community Center, Third Floor
Health Insurance for International Students
All international students are required to have health insurance coverage while in the USA. Click the button below to learn more about your options.
Getting Involved at UWG
In addition to relevant education, internships and job experiences, US employers also value well-rounded students with extracurricular activities and leadership experiences. Getting involved can result in gaining transferable skills that you can use in your career field of interest.
International Student Club members enjoy access to free printing, fax machines, and computers in the ISAP office.
Adjust to a new culture is difficult. Here are some resources and tips to help.
Here are some tips to follow that will help you handle the first month’s challenge:
- Familiarize yourself with the culture: Before your trip, read articles about current events that are happening in the area. Study the region’s history and learn about the culture in general.
- Network: Use the Internet as a source for networking with people in the area. Just be cautious about where and with whom are you networking.
- Get a sense of location: Make sure you are familiar with the geographical location of the city, the climate etc. Also, before your arrival, it would be a good idea for you to study the area’s major roads and forms of transportation.
- Choose your place: Where are you going to live and what do you want out of this place? Ask yourself several questions such as what is the location, cost, safety, Internet access, transportation accessibility, nearby hospitals, stores, etc. Living in the right environment is vital for your adaptation.
- Attend the University’s activities: Go to the student service department and ask about different activities such as: Open Houses, Student Orientations, and Special Events, among others. Make sure you get involved and participate in these different activities. They are excellent tools for networking and familiarizing yourself with the system.
- Be part of a group: There are always clubs and organizations that you can join. Explore your areas of interest and see if there is a match for it.
- Be productive: Are you good with numbers, science or language arts? See if you can get a part-time position as a tutor at the campus. This will allow you to develop camaraderie among the university’s faculty, staff and students and of course, money is always welcome.
- Don’t be afraid to explore: Go and see the city’s main monuments, museums, parks, and attractions. Don’t go alone, get together with other international students and make trips to different places. Ask the university if they provide transportation or packages for these types of activities.
- Be flexible with your surroundings: In other words, be open to new textures, colors, flavors and ways of thinking. Be open to trying different things. This is part of the experience.
- Don’t judge and don’t stereotype: Stay away from all the feelings that will prevent you from growing as an individual and experiencing a new way of life.
- Search for your customs: The world is getting smaller and smaller. I am sure that you will find people from your country that can give essential tips and help you through the process. What about finding a restaurant where you can enjoy a traditional dish just like back in home?
- Understand that it is fine to feel alone sometimes: Do something about it; don’t take it personal. Remember this is part of the process.
- Have a clear goal: Go for it.
- Last but not least, HAVE FUN AND LEARN AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!
Aspects of U.S. for Students to Learn
Americans tend to emphasize the value of time more than other cultures. This can be seen in the prevalence of clocks and watches, for example. “What time is it?” is a question taught early on in foreign language and ESL classes. Lateness of more than ten minutes to an appointment generally requires some sort of explanation and apology. We even speak of time in terms of money: “to spend time,” “to waste time,” “to save time,” and even “time is money.” On one memorable occasional in an ESL class, all of my students seemed to be shuffling in about a quarter of an hour late, much to my irritation. I finally treated the class to a diatribe on the value Americans placed on time, that being consistently late would lower the grades and get them fired from jobs, lose them friendships, and so on. One student finally spoke up: “What time do you think this class begins, Professor?” It was only then that I remembered that the class began at twenty minutes after the hour, not on the hour, so actually the students, who were showing more awareness of time than I was in this case, were early, not late. However, although I was wrong about the start time of that particular class, I was right about the value attached to time in general.
Americans tend to be more sensitive about space than many people; the notorious “three foot bubble,” describing social distance in the U.S., being fairly accurate. This is a large country which has at least a heritage of wide open spaces, and that has affected the people living here. There is even a well-known phrase, “I need some space,” or “Give me some space,” which means roughly “Leave me alone,” or “I need privacy,” but can be taken almost literally to mean “space” in the sense of an implied separation and distance from the addressee.
Americans also put a great value on work, and the country has been recognized by the U.N. as one of the most productive in the world. An economic depression becomes a real physical one to many individuals who find themselves out of work. This value of work probably goes back to the Puritan heritage of the country and their work ethic, the belief that hard work made one a good and valuable person. Most people in the U.S. have probably been affected by this prevalent value, no matter what their personal heritage, either by embracing it or rebelling against it.
Americans are among the worst savers and biggest spenders in the world; it is no consequence that our national debt is now in the trillions of dollars. This gets enacted a the personal level as well: people routinely spend more than they have through use of credit cards. ESL students should remember that their American friends who seem to have a luxurious lifestyle and to be able to buy whatever they want may very well be doing this on credit and to not adopt this behavior or encourage the friend in it.
Friendships can be difficult to make and maintain in the U.S. for some of the reasons discussed here: the work ethic and resultant lack of time as well as the need for “space” and fear of intimacy that perhaps does not exist in many cultures. Much of American literature addresses in some way this theme of the difficulty of achieving intimacy, from The Great Gatsby to The Catcher in the Rye, reflecting the nation’s anxiety. Still, once others can get past initial barriers, Americans are capable of strong friendship ties although they may seem initially difficult to get to know.
No culture, of course, can be reduced to a couple of observations in a few pages.
However, by being introduced to a few American norms and values regarding time, relationships, and money, for example, students can begin to understand the culture better, and understanding leads to fitting in better, if only for the small time that the student attends college in the U.S.