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Miscellaneous

Social Security Number

A Social Security Number is a number assigned to you by the United States Social Security Administration and is only assigned to:

  • Individuals who are authorized to work in the United States
  • Students at the College on F-1 or J-1 visas who have secured employment either on or off campus

F-2 dependents are not eligible for a Social Security number. J-2 dependents are eligible if they have applied and been approved for work authorization.

In order to report your wages earned annually to the U.S. Government, you must have a Social Security number.

To apply for a Social Security number, you must have a job offer. You and your supervisor will need to complete the top section of the CofC Social Security letter or the off campus Social Security letter. Once the top section is completed, please bring it into the Center for International Education for a signature. You will also need a completed Social Security application, your passport, your I-20 or DS-2019 form, and a print off of I-94 form to apply.

Social Security Administration Office in Charleston:

1453 Tobias Gadson Blvd.
Charleston, SC 29407
1-866-495-0111

Tax Information for International Students

International students who have worked or earned wages in the US will need to file one or more tax forms. Tax laws that apply to internationals are not the same as those that apply to U.S. citizens and/or permanent residents. International students who are filing tax forms for the first time often find it to be a very confusing process. While we are not tax experts, we do want to assist you with this responsibility. If you have not received income then you do not have to pay taxes, but you do have to file a Form 8843.

Federal Forms

F-1 students can file either Form 1040NR or Form 1040NR-EZ.  Form 1040NR is 5 pages long and can accommodate all types of income and expenses.  Form 1040NR-EZ is only 2 pages long and is limited to specific situations

  • Form 1040NR – U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return
  • Form 1040NR-EZ – U.S. Income Tax Return for Certain Nonresident Aliens
  • Form 8843 – all F-1 students must file this form each year regardless of whether or not you earned income in the U.S.

What you need to fill out the forms (Please have the following items/information ready and available):

  • Visa/immigration Status (see Form I-94)
  • U.S. Entry and Exit Dates (see Form I-94 and Passport)
  • Form I-20, if F-1 status
  • Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Address Information (i.e. current U.S. and permanent foreign address)
  • Academic Institution Information
  • Forms W-2, 1042-S and/or 1099 (if any)

Resources

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Local Office:
1 Poston Road, Charleston, SC 29407
Phone: 843.566.0209

State of South Carolina Department of Revenue
Local Office:
Charleston Service Center
3 South Park Circle
Suite 202
Charleston, SC 29407
Phone: 843.852.3600

IRS Publications
(Please note that most of these publications are revised each tax year; therefore please be sure to check the main IRS Publication listing to make sure you are consulting the latest information)

Remember to keep a copy of everything you submit to the IRS.

Note: Staff members of International Education and Programs are not tax professionals. While our office offers help to our students, we cannot provide individual tax advice.

Driver's License

Driver’s Licenses issued by another country are valid in the U.S. for up to 90 days after arrival. Then, you will need a U.S. driver’s license issued in your name to be able to drive legally. It is recommended that you begin the process of getting your S.C. driver’s license before your foreign license expires (if applicable) so that you can rent a car for the mandatory South Carolina driving test. You must take a car with you to complete the driving portion of the test at the Department of Motor Vehicles and you will not be able to rent a car without a valid driver’s license.

  • International students are not eligible for a Social Security Number unless they have a job offer. However, they are still eligible to apply for a driver’s license. Social Security Numbers are issued by the U.S. government to people who are born in the United States or non-immigrants who have obtained permission to work in the United States.

To obtain a SC driver’s license without a Social Security Number:

  • First, request two enrollment letters from CIE – one to take to the Social Security Office and one to the DMV.
  • Visit the Social Security Office for an official letter explaining why you are ineligible for a Social Security Number. They will know what this letter will need to say.
  • Documents needed at the Social Security Office: Passport, Visa, I-94, DS 2019 or I-20, Enrollment letter from the CIE
  • Once all of your documents have been submitted, the Social Security Office will write the letter for you to take to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
    • Social Security Office Location: 1463 Tobias Gadson Blvd, Charleston, SC 29407
    • Hours:
      • Monday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
      • Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
      • Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
      • Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
      • Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • Before you visit the DMV to take your driving test, please be aware that if you have a foreign license, you will need to complete the Translation Form 4030 . CIE can assist you in finding an accredited translator to verify your foreign license. If you do not have a foreign license, you do not need this form.
  • Visit the DMV (3790 Leeds Ave. location only) to take a written test and driving test. A fee of $12.50 applies.
  • Documents needed: Passport, Visa, I-94, DS 2019 or I-20, Enrollment letter from the CIE, the Social Security letter issued, as well as the Translation Form and your foreign license (if applicable)
    • DMV location: 3790 Leeds Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405
    • Hours:
      • Monday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      • Tuesday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      • Wednesday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      • Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      • Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

To obtain a SC driver’s license with a Social Security Number:

  • Request a letter of enrollment from the CIE
  • Proceed directly to the DMV for testing (written and driving; $12.50 fee).
  • Before you visit the DMV to take your driving test, please be aware that if you have a foreign license, you will need to complete the Translation Form 4030 . CIE can assist you in finding an accredited translator to verify your foreign license. If you do not have a foreign license, you do not need this form.
  • Documents needed: Passport, Visa, I-94, DS 2019 or I-20, Letter from School re: enrollment & term, Social Security Number verification/documentation, as well as the Translation Form and your foreign license (if applicable)
    • DMV location: 3790 Leeds Ave, North Charleston, SC 29405
    • Hours:
      • Monday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      • Tuesday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      • Wednesday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      • Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
      • Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

SC driver’s license expiration date is based on the program end date on your DS-2019 or I-20, except for students on OPT in which case it is the OPT end date. Please note that your driver’s license will probably expire before your grace period ends.

Documents generally required to rent a car:

  • A driver’s license issued in the United States

OR

  • A legible, unexpired driver’s license from home country (‘International License’ not required); legible, unexpired passport, and a major credit card.

To renew a driver's license, or to change the local address on an existing SC license, the following documents must be presented to the SC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV):

Student Visa Holders

  • Passport, visa, I-94 print out, and I-20 or DS-2019
  • Enrollment letter from CIE which lists student's current local address.
  • Social Security card or letter from the Social Security Administration indicating the applicant is not eligible for a Social Security number. (CIE will write you a letter to take to the Social Security Administration).

Spouse/Dependent Child of Student Visa Holders

  • Passport, visa, I-94 print out, and I-20 or DS-2019 of F-2 or J-2 dependent
  • Certificate of Enrollment at the College for the F-1 or J-1 student which lists the student's current enrollment
  • Certificate of Identification of spousal relationship and current local address (available at the Center for International Education)
  • Social Security card or letter from Social Security Administration stating that individual is NOT eligible for a Social Security number (can only be issued with presentation of previous 4 documents)

Please contact CIE with any questions relating to these required documents.

Please visit the DMV website for additional information.