I need a driver’s license – What should I do?
Steps to Getting a CA Driver’s License (CDL)
Excellent Site for California Driver License Information:
In addition to the whole process for applying for a CDL, it has a link to download the entire California Driver Handbook, too.
Dependents on F-2 Visas
If you are on an F-2 Visa and applying for a Driver’s License, the DMV requires both you and the F-1 student on which you are a dependent to be present. Bring documents for both of you.
International Driving Permits
California does recognize a valid driver license that is issued by a foreign jurisdiction (country, state, territory) of which the license holder is a resident. However, the State of California does not recognize an International Driving Permit (IDP) as a valid driver license. The IDP is only a translation of information contained on a person’s foreign driver license and is not required to operate a motor vehicle in California. The IDP is also called an International Driver License, International License, etc.
Social Security Numbers
Many students ask about getting a social security number. Students on F-1 visas can apply for a social security for ONE purpose only – Authorized Employment. You can apply for a social security number only when you have been authorized to work. See more information at one of these sites: “Employment & Tseng College Students”, or at https://www.ice.gov/sevis/employment, and https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/working-in-the-united-states.
NOTE: Language Program students (IEP students) are NEVER allowed to work.
I was admitted incorrectly when I came into the U.S.
If you were admitted incorrectly to the U.S., such as your recent entry information was put in under your old B-2 visa instead of your new F-1 visa, for example, you are responsible for correcting it.
Take your Passport, Visa, printed out I-94, and Form I-20 and visit a local CBP (Customs and Border Protection) Deferred Inspection Site to have your admission corrected. See Los Angeles CBP Deferred Inspection site section below.
Contact a DSO in ARC for help in printing your I-94, or for more information in general.
I'm trying to print my I-94 and it says "Not Found"
If you try to print your I-94 and it says "Not Found", try EVERY possible name combination, including putting in or taking off your middle name(s) or middle initial(s) and also check the spelling of your names, changing first and last name order. If still says "Not Found", go to local CBP Inspection Site.
For more details, go to: CBP INFO Center Home > Find an Answer > What to do if your I-94 is "Not Found" online.
I have incorrect information on my visa entry stamp
Go to your local CBP Deferred Inspection Site. The Deferred Inspection Sites will only correct errors made by CBP at the time of entry.
ONLY IF you were issued an incorrect I-94 by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), contact USCIS to correct the record. You may schedule an InfoPass appointment for an in-person interview at a local USCIS office, or call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.
Los Angeles CBP Deferred Inspection site
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
DEFERRED INSPECTION UNIT
300 N. Los Angeles St., Room 2067 2nd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
OPEN: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday (Closed Fridays)
HOURS: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
I have incorrect information on my passport
Contact your embassy to find out how to correct or update a passport. Most embassies will have a website with information for their citizens. Go to https://www.ice.gov/sevis/data-integrity for more detailed information.
I have incorrect information on my visa
Visas are used for entry into the United States. If discrepancies are noted while in the United States, they are not corrected while in the U.S.; they should be corrected when you travel home. Go to https://www.ice.gov/sevis/data-integrity for more detailed information.
Note: Technically, visas can be corrected at any U.S. embassy/consulate outside the United States. However, if students go to a country that is not their home country and the DOS official is not able to verify eligibility from an application or verify the need for a correction, the student will not be readmitted to the United States. It is highly recommended that adjustments to visas be done at the issuing country.
I lost my passport and/or visa
If your passport is lost or stolen while you are in the US:
Note: Passports can be replaced while in the U.S., but visas are not replaced. (Visas are only needed to enter the US.)
I received a Form 1098-T, Tuition Statement. What should I do with it?
F-1 Students and Their Income Tax Obligations
Q: I did NOT earn any income. Do I have to submit a Form 8843?
A: Yes, you still must file Form 8843.
Each year, international students, along with their dependents, need to file “Form 8843, Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition.”
Q: I earned some money last year. Do I have to submit a Form 8843?
A: Maybe not. You certainly must file a tax form(s) for federal (U.S.) and also state taxes.
See next section, “F-1 Students and Filing U.S. and State Taxes”
Income Tax Software and Paying to Have Your Taxes Done for You
This software works with Non-Resident Alien (NR) forms: Glacier and Windstar (Foreign National Tax Resource). And H&R Block supports NR forms as long as it is through a storefront, or brick-and-mortar business.
Warning! Turbo Tax and H&R Block at Home do not support 1040 NR forms.
You can file your taxes yourself or you can pay someone to do it for you. If you use a lower-cost service, such as H&R Block, you will be working with a Tax Preparer. If you have anything complicated going on with your taxes, consider hiring a tax professional which is usually a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Timing and Deadlines for Tax Forms
Beginning in January each year, taxpayers in the U.S. begin receiving the forms they need to file their taxes. These forms come in the regular mail or they are made available on line. Employers, banks, investment companies, colleges and universities, etc. are required by law to provide this information to U.S. taxpayers.
You are required to submit, or file, your tax forms no later than April 15th (or a couple of days later if April 15th is on a weekend or holiday). Submitting required forms and documents is referred to as “filing your taxes.”
Exception: If you file only Form 8843, by itself, the deadline is later than April 15th. Look for the deadline in Publication 519, under ‘When to File.’
From Study in the States, International Students: Learn About Filing Taxes, from Study in the States
From IRS, Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens
Very comprehensive source for F-1 students and federal taxes
Form 8843: www.irs.gov/Form8843
CSUN’s Tax Clinic, VITA, https://www.csun.edu/bookstein-institute/csun-vita-clinic/resources
Students and Filing U.S. and State Taxes
If you did not earn any money while a student in the U.S., filing a tax return is not required. You only have to file a Form 8843.
If you earned any taxable income, you must file income tax returns.
There are Federal Taxes and State Taxes
Federal taxes are U.S. taxes.
Keep in mind that the information on this site regarding federal and state taxes was not compiled by a professional. It is simply the information found at irs.gov and ftb.ca.gov that relates to F-1 students only.
If you have any tax questions – seek help from a tax clinic, a paid tax preparer, or a tax professional. Also, if you are not on an F-1 visa, find the correct person, business, or forms that are appropriate for you.
Both 1040NR forms are available at https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/taxation-of-nonresident-aliens
Instructions for the forms: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1098et.pdf
Information from the IRS:
My family or friends want to visit me. Do I need an "Invitation Letter"?
No. Officers who work at U.S. Consulates tell us that these types of letters are unnecessary. However, if your parents or family feel that an Invitation Letter is important, you can request one using the invitation for family visit request form. Attach a copy of the person’s passport and make sure to include the relationship between you and the person in the letter. Allow at least one week for processing.
Can my mother, brother, sister, etc. be a dependent?
No. Only a spouse (husband or wife) and/or children can be dependents on an F-1 visa. When your spouse or children become dependents on your F-1 visa, they will be on F-2 visas. See SEVIS – Dependents, F-2 Visas and Request Dependent I-20 (for F-2) form.
I’m in the U.S. on an F-1 visa and I’m having a baby. How do I take time off?
Student visas were designed for students to come to the United States to study and then return to their home country. There are a few very specific regulations in place to help students continue their studies after an emergency that requires a long stay in a hospital, for example. Being pregnant is not an emergency. The only exception would be a dangerous pregnancy that causes a woman to be unexpectedly hospitalized. Otherwise, if you are not studying, you are expected to return home. If at any time you quit school, you lose your SEVIS status.
I need to take a session or term off. How do I request time off?
If you are in status and you will not be leaving after a session or term has already started, your first step is to meet with your academic advisor. For IEP students, that is IEP Academics. For graduate students in a Tseng College program, see the Program Manager so that you will not be automatically enrolled in the session.