Obtaining a Social Security Card
Social Security Numbers (SSN) are available to F-1/J-1 students only with a valid employment offer that meets the requirements below.
Requirements To Apply
*Original documents only.
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.
Transportation to the Social Security Administration Office
SSA is located in Villa Rica, GA, approsimately 15 miles from UWG. To assist, ISAP will coordinate 2 free campus shuttles during the 1st two weeks of each semester. Afterwards, students are responsible for their own transportation to SSA.
One option to get their is via "Carroll Connection". Rides are $3-5 one-way and must be reserved by midday the day before. Call: 844-778-7826 for reservations and information.
SSA Address: 908 S Carroll Rd, Villa Rica, GA 30180. They close at 4pm, M-F and at 12pm on Wednesdays.
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.
International Student Tax Information
In most cases, international students will have to file tax forms for their stay in the United States, even if they were not employed. ISAP provides support with special software called Sprintax as well as personal guidance. Details are at the link below. .
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.
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
ISAP encourages all students to become well-rounded! This requires not only steady academic progress towards your degree, but also involvement and leadership activities to enhance your resume and experience. There are over 100+ clubs and activities at UWG.
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:
- Learn some state, national and local history.
- Hangout with Americans. They are the best way to open cultural doors and explain it.
- Learn your way around: zip code, major roads, landmarks, your local address
- Get involved in at least 1 club or group on campus. Find them via "Wolf Connect" app.
- Become a tutor in a subject you are good at and get paid!
- Explore and ask about anything. Americans love to share. Organize an off-campus trip with friends. Rent a car. Visit UWG Outdoors for great, inexpensive trips.
- Be open to new flavors, smells, customs and thoughts. Leave judgements in your room.
- Avoid stereotypes. We're all humans from different places and situations.
- Set a goal. Go for it. Have Fun!
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.
Is there a shopper shuttle?
Yes. The UWG shopper shuttle departs Fridays at 1pm in front of Row Hall and returns at 4pm. The shuttle is free with current UWG ID. It goes to / from the main shopping area near Target / Walmart as well as Publix and Kroger supermarkets and other shops.
Originally, the idea of the shopper shuttle came from a group of international students in 2014 who saw a need for all UWG students without personal vehicles.
Walkable Alternatives for the Basics:
- CVS Pharmacy & Personal Items: 2125 Maple St, 15 min. walk / .8 mile / 1.2km
- Food Depot Supermarket: 180 Maple Crossing, 20 min. walk / 1.2 miles / 1.9km
- Family Dollar (disount, mini-variety store): 2290 Maple St. / 1.3 miles / 2.1km