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Living and Working Here

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Social Security


Social Security Information: 1463 Tobias Gadson Blvd. Charleston, SC 29407 1.866.495.0111 843.573.3615
For an international student to obtain a social security card they must bring the following forms to the Social Security Office:
• Passport
• I-94 Card (white card in passport)
• I-20 Form (student copy)
• Letter from The Citadel stating that the student is eligible to work on campus.
• Completed social security application form.
 
The letter of eligibility from The Citadel may be obtained from the Human Resources Office. This letter will also require the signature of the Director of Multi-cultural Student Services & International Studies. For additional information go to Social Security Online. (See International Student Handbook - page 26.) 


SC Driver's License

 
Because a driver's license serves as a form of identification in the United States (when you are writing checks) many international students feel it would be to their advantage to obtain a South Carolina Driver's License.
To obtain a South Carolina Driver's License you will be asked to pass a vision test, a written test on SC traffic laws and signals, and possibly a driving test. To learn the laws, you can obtain a driver's manual at the Department of Motor Vehicles located on Lockwood Drive (out The Citadel back gate). The driving test will not be given in rainy conditions, and you must bring an insured car to take the test.
 
According to a new South Carolina Law proof of a valid visa will no longer determine eligibility for a South Carolina Driver's License. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will accept the following documentation as proof of immigration status:
• Passport with I-94 Card • Current & updated I-20 Form
Additional documentation that may be helpful:
• Social Security Card • Driver's License from your home country or International Driver's License
 
Please contact the Office of International Studies if the DMV requests proof of a valid visa in order to apply for a South Carolina Driver's License. IMPORTANT: It is against the law to drive in South Carolina without a valid driver's license.  (See International Student Handbook - page 27.)

 
Banking in America
 
Banks offer many different financial services. You may wish to compare the services and costs of several banks before choosing one at which to open an account. One bank may be more conveniently located than others; another may have more automated teller machines around town; a third may charge less to maintain a checking account; a fourth may allow you to do your banking from home via computer. Banks are competing for your business, so don't be shy about asking questions. Ask your foreign-student adviser for recommendations on local banks.
Before you select a bank and set up your account these are some questions you need to ask:
 
• Is a minimum account balance required and is there a penalty if my balance goes below the minimum?
• Will my checking account earn interest?
• Is there "Free Checking"? Are there monthly service charges? (Some banks offer students checking accounts with no service charge).
• What other services does this bank offer and is there a charge for them? (safe deposit box, exchange foreign currency, cashier's checks/certified checks)
 
(See International Student Handbook - pages 28-30.)

Transportation
 
There will be times during the year-three-day weekends, semester breaks, and holidays-when everyone on campus may be gone. And if everybody is going, you might as well go to, but how will you reach your destination?
 
Unless you want to use public transportation, you may want to consider buying a car and reselling it before you return home. Whether you purchase a new or used car, it is important to remember that you must also purchase automobile insurance. In case of an accident, the insurance will protect you against most of the cost of injuries and the repair of your car or the other vehicle involved in the accident. It is also important to remember that insurance may be more expensive than the car itself depending on your age, how long you have had a driver's license, and other factors. Having your own car will allow you more freedom to visit the surrounding Charleston area, go on trips during vacation, go to the movies, or go to the local shopping mall.
 
In the United States, renting a car is easy and affordable. Rental car companies vary and their prices are competitive. You will need to check the local telephone directory for a list of companies in the Charleston area or go on line. To rent a car all you need is a credit card and a driver's license. Note: Some companies may impose an age limit and also require you to purchase insurance. (See International Student Handbook - pages 10-11.)
Shopping in the U.S.
See International Student Handbook - pages 32-33.
 
Faculty Contacts
See International Student Handbook pages 8-9.
 
Academics & Coursework
See International Student Handbook pages 4-5.

 
F-1 Student Employment

The following are types of employment available to F-1 students under INS regulations. According to the regulations, a student must not work in the United States, unless the employment is specifically authorized under the following categories:

  • On-Campus Employment
  • Practical Training (curricular and optional practical training)
  • Severe Economic Hardship
  • Special Student Relief Program
  • Employment Sponsored by International Organizations

INS requires that all students seeking employment must be currently maintaining a valid F-1 status. A student who is "out of status" is not eligible for any F-1 employment benefits.

See International Student Handbook pages 5-7.