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:1808 Colonial Village Ln Suite 101Lancaster, PA 17601
To apply, you will need:
- Social Security Card Application
- Valid passport
- Valid I-94 card (if you were issued one when you entered the U.S.) OR Admission stamp in passport + printed I-94 record (available at the Form I-94 government website).
- All of your original I-20 (F-1 Students) OR DS-2019 (J-1 Students and Student Interns) documents. Note: The signature on your I-20 or DS-2019 must be an original signature. It cannot be a rubber-stamped signature.
- Proof of Employment (F-1) or Eligibility to Work (J-1/ J-2)
- Employment Verification Form. Note: This form will be completed and provided by your prospective supervisor on campus.
For more information regarding obtaining a social security number, visit studyinthestates.dhs.gov/obtaining-a-social-security-number
Obtaining a Pennsylvania Driver’s License
IPS offers step-by-step guidance to our international students in how to obtain a PA driver’s license. Please contact the office to sit down with one of our staff members to get more information about the process.
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 PENNDOT Photo & Exam Center to obtain your ID card or information on how to obtain your driver’s license.
- Original immigration documents (I-20, DS-2019, I-797)
- 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.
- Valid passport
- Most recent I-94 card (if issued paper I-94) or I-94 printout (if issued electronic I-94).
- Your U.S. Entry Visa (used for last entry)
- Two of the following as proof of residency in Pennsylvania:
- 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.
- Lease agreements or proof of residency letter from the University Housing Office for on-campus students.
- W-2 Tax forms
- Tax records
- Car insurance statements
- Bank statement
- Enrollment letter from IPS
- 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 Administration. You can obtain this letter at the Social Security Office. IPS can provide more information on how to receive this letter.
Steps for Obtaining Your Driver’s License:
- Complete form DL-180 and get a physical examination for page 2
- Take the permit knowledge test at a PENNDOT Photo & Exam Center
- Take the eye screening (vision) exam
- Make the payment for your driver’s permit, license, and photo and ID card services. Check the Payments and Fees website for accurate costs.
- Schedule your road test and prepare for the driving/parking portion of it.
- Take your road test and after successful completion, have your picture taken and receive your driver’s license card.
To access the PENN DOT website and the driver’s manual, click here.
For more information regarding driving in the United States, visit https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/driving-in-the-united-states.
- 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.
Renew 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.
The closest location to Millersville University is in the Regency Square Shopping Center:131 Rohrerstown RdLancaster, PA 17603
Your can find other locations near you by clicking here.
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 withdraw 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.
Millersville University has many resources available for international students to assist with registration. Visit the Registration Website for step-by-step instructions, current registration dates, and registration guidelines. Be sure to check this website to see when registration will be open for you! In addition, IPS has created some instructional documents to further assist international students with the registration process. See below for the appropriate instructions for your student type.
Degree Student Instructions – You should meet with your Academic Advisor for advice on classes for next semester. Refer here for tips on registering if you’re a degree-seeking student. If you’re graduating this semester, be sure to complete the application for graduation.
Partner Dual-Degree Student Instructions – In the initial semester students will be given a class schedule and meet with their Department Chair to complete their Graduation Plan. Use the Graduation Plan to choose classes for the next semester. After the first semester, students can follow the regular process of registering.