Getting Settled in Pennsylvania

Getting Settled in Pennsylvania

Getting Settled in Pennsylvania

Whether you are new to the U.S. or relocating from another state, there are many things you will want to do to prepare for life in Pennsylvania. Getting a Pennsylvania driver’s license and opening a bank account will likely be at the top of your list. 

Obtaining a Social Security Number

A Social Security number is only assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. It is used to post wages to Social Security records so workers can become eligible for Social Security benefits. Social Security will only issue you a number if you are working, have specific authorization to work, or have a government requirement to be issued a number.

The Social Security Office that MU international students and scholars use is located at: 

1809 Olde Homestead Ln #104
Lancaster, PA 17601

To apply, you will need:

  1. Social Security Card Application
  2. Valid passport
  3. Valid I-94 card (if you were issued one when you entered the U.S.) OR Admission stamp in passport + Print-out of electronic I-94 card (available at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov)
  4. All of your original I-20's (F-1 Students) OR DS-2019s (J-1 Students and Student Interns). Note: The signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 must be an original signature. It cannot be a rubber-stamped signature.
  5. Proof of Employment (F-1) or Eligibility to Work (J-1/ J-2)

For more information regarding obtaining a social security number, visit studyinthestates.dhs.gov/obtaining-a-social-security-number

 

Obtaining a Pennsylvania Driver’s License

You will need to show the following documents to obtain a Pennsylvania Driver's License or ID Card. You must bring these documents to a Driver License Center to obtain your ID Card or information on how to obtain your Driver’s License.

  1. Documents: 
    1. I-20 (F-1), DS-2019(J-1), I-797 (H-1B)
    2. Employment Authorization Document "EAD" (If Any) Students on Optional Practical Training (OPT) must present the EAD, and the applicant cannot go before the start date on the EAD.
    3. Valid passport
    4. I-94 card (if issued paper I-94) or I-94 printout (if issued electronic I-94), refer to the automated I-94 process. 
    5. Your U.S. Entry Visa (used for last entry)
  2. Two of the following as proof of residency in Pennsylvania:  
    1. Current utility bills (for example, electric, cable, telephone, landline not cell phone. You may use two of the same type of utility bill as long as they are for two different months.
    2. Lease agreements or proof of residency letter from the University Housing Office for on-campus students. 
    3. W-2 Tax forms
    4. Car insurance statements
    5. Bank statement
  3. Social Security Card (or Letter of Ineligibility): If you are not eligible for a social security number you will need to bring a letter of denial/indecision from the Social Security office. You can obtain this letter at the Social Security Office. Be sure to take all your immigration documents with you to obtain this letter. 

For more information regarding driving in the United States, visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/driving-in-the-united-states.

Please Note: 

  • Pennsylvania has a special reciprocity agreement with France and Germany. French and German nationals should inquire with PennDOT for details.
  • Those with a Canadian driver's license may drive legally in the U.S. for 60 days after moving to Pennsylvania.

Renewal your Driver's License or I.D.

A Pennsylvania Driver's license can be renewed until the end date on the  I-20 or DS-2019 even if it is less than one year.  PennDOT will include the grace period (60 days for the F-1 and 30 days for the J-1).  

International Driving Permit

Students who do not qualify for a Pennsylvania Driver's license can drive for one year if they have a valid foreign driver's license and an international driving permit.

PennDOT/DMV Location

The closest location to Millersville University is in the Regency Square Shopping Center: https://local.dmv.org/pennsylvania/branch/lancaster-penndot-driver-license-center 

131 Rohrerstown Rd
Lancaster, PA 17603

Obtaining a Bank Account

Many international students find it convenient to open a U.S. bank account. This allows for easier access to funds and is very convenient for students who work. Foreign bank cards and credit cards may work in the U.S., but they are often subject to high transaction fees.

PSECU credit union is conveniently located on campus in the Student Memorial Center. There are various PSECU ATMs located around campus where students can conveniently withdrawal money for no fees if they have a PSECU account.

All MU students are eligible to open an account at PSECU. To open an account students will need the following documents:

  • Social Security Card (if you have one)
  • Copy of most recent I-94
  • Copy of I-20 or DS-2019
  • Copy of Passport

For more information regarding PSECU, visit their location on campus, calling 717.871.7732, or their website