International Student Resources

Driver License

F-1 students are eligible to apply for a regular driver's license in California. You will need to provide additional documentation to prove your legal status in the United States. This documentation may include a valid passport, Form I-94, and Form I-20. You will also need to prove your California residency through two different documents such as utility bills, rental agreements, school documents, etc.

If you've never had a driver's license in any country, you will be required to pass a written test and an in-person driving test. If you've been issued a driver's license in another country, you will need to take and pass an in-person driving test. Here are tips for preparing for your written and driving tests.

In California, you are not required to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) in order to apply for a driver's license. Full details of applying for a driver's license can be found here. Fees incurred during the application process are the responsibility of the student.

Social Security Number/Individual Tax Identification Number

You will need a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for any work authorization as an F-1 student in the United States. When you apply for work authorization, your employer will need your SSN/ITIN to report your income to the U.S. government for tax purposes. Additionally, you will need an SSN/ITIN to file your own taxes and to apply for certain government benefits and services.

To obtain an SSN/ITIN you will need to apply for one at a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office. You will need to provide the necessary documentation to prove your identify, age, and legal status in the United States.

You should also be aware that it can take several weeks for the SSA to process your application and issue a SSN/ITIN, so it's a good idea to apply for one well in advanced of any employment start date.

For more information about obtaining an SSN can be found HERE or Study in the States.

Taxation of Income

Students in the U.S. under an F-1 status are subject to special rules with respect to the taxation of their income. There is no minimum dollar amount of income that would trigger a filing requirement for a student with an F-1 visa. For more specific information about taxable income can be found on the IRS website. There are systems that assist students with filing the appropriate forms: e.g., SpringTax.


The university does not assume responsibility for student housing. It does not have dormitory facilities under its control, nor does it offer student housing assistance. There are independent housing options available in the vicinity of the campus. Apartment complexes are within a five (5) mile radius and monthly rent ranges from $1,700 to $3,000 USD per month.

Students that are traveling from outside the San Diego area may consider nearby hotels. Below is a list of hotels. This list is not exhaustive and students can search for their own preferences.

  • Hilton San Diego Mission Valley
  • San Diego Marriott Mission Valley
  • Sheraton Mission Valley San Diego
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton San Diego
  • Ramada Suites by Wyndham San Diego
  • Courtyard by Marriott San Diego
  • Holiday Inn Express and Suites San Diego

Health Insurance

The University does not provide professional counseling services for students. Students may contact the DSO who may provide information/resources on general wellness, drug and alcohol abuse, nutrition, and volunteer opportunities. Refer to the University Catalog and/or USU Policy Manual under the Student Services section for listing of resources.

USU does not provide health insurance services but international students are strongly encouraged to purchase health (medical) insurance from an independent organization prior to entering the United States.

Opening a U.S. Bank Account

Having a bank account in the U.S. can be very helpful for international students. It will allow you to manage your money more easily and it will give you access to U.S. financial services. Some of the best banks for international students include Bank of America, Chase, HSBC, Wells Fargo, and CitiBank.

To open a bank account as an international student, you will typically need to provide:

  • Identification: A valid passport or other U.S. government-issued identification.
  • Proof of student status: your Form I-20.
  • Proof of address: A document showing your U.S. address, such as a lease agreement, utility bill, or letter from your school.
  • Social Security Number (SSN): While some banks may allow you to open an account without an SSN, having an SSN can make the process easier.
  • Initial deposit: some banks may require an initial deposit to open an account.

The requirement and processes for opening a bank account as an international student may vary from bank to bank, so it's always a good idea to contact the bank directly to confirm their specific requirements.

U.S. Regulatory Nonimmigrant Student Resources

Study in the States

U.S. Visas and Applications

I-901 SEVIS Fee

U.S. Embassy and Consulates

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

U.S. Internal Revenue Services (IRS) - Foreign Students