Things To Do Upon Arrival

Driver's license:

  • You may use an international driver's license to legally drive in the New York State, but not all the states accept international driver's license and not all the insurance companies accept foreign driver's license. Another benefit of a legal US driver's license is that it could be used as a valid photo ID, so you don't need to bring your passport every day. In order to apply for a NYS driver's license, you have to apply for a learner permit first.
  • Learner permit: In order to apply for a learner permit, students need to study the online manual, which can be found at the DMV website (, and then bring their immigrant documents to local DMV office (For Syracuse area: Western Lights Plaza, 4671 Onondaga Blvd. Syracuse). Before you can get a learner permit, you need to fill out the Form MV44, pay the application and driver's license fee, pass the vision test and the written test which is based on the manual.
  • Driver's license: When you get your learner permit, you have to take the 5 hour pre-licensing course before you can schedule a road test. Information for the course can be found at With the certificate issued from the 5-hour course, you can schedule your road test on the NYS DMV website ( Note: you may need to wait for as long as 2 month for the road test.
  • More information can be found from: and

Social Security

  • All people employed in the US are required to have a Social Security Number (SSN). A SSN is very useful when you apply for a bank account, your first credit card or a valid driver's license. You must apply for your SSN immediately after hired.
  • ESF students are required to fill out the form of Employment Certification Memo and print it out. Forms for F1/J1 students working on or off-campus can be found at the section of "Employment and SSN Requests" on
  • Application: take your immigrant files (passport, i-20 and i-94) and employment certificate to the local Social Security Administration office (for Syracuse, 4th floor or the Federal Building, 100 S. Clinton Street, Syracuse) at 9am-4pm during weekends.
  • If your SSN is approved by the SSA, you will receive your SSN by mail in 2 to 8 weeks. Make sure you keep your application receipt.
  • More information can be found at: and


  • Every international student with income in the US is required to file tax forms every year.
  • As tax forms are subject to changing every year, please follow the information listed on the SCIS website