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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 on-campus employment

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 on-campus to the U.S. Government, you must have a Social Security number.

In addition, the State of South Carolina requires you to have a Social Security number before you can apply for a driver's license. In the case of an F-2 dependent to receive their driver's license, a letter from the Social Security Administration is required stating the dependent is not eligible for 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 CIE 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

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)


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

To apply for or renew a driver's license, or to change the local address on the 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
  • Certificate of Enrollment at the College which lists student's current local address. Ask the CIE fo this letter.
  • Social Security card or letter from the Social Security Administration indicating the applicant is not eligible for a Social Security number. The CIE can 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)

Local DMV office:

North Charleston
3790 Leeds Ave North Charleston
SC 29405-7442
Phone: 843.740.6168

Please visit the DMV website for additional information.

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