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Social Security Number & Driver's License

Applying for a Social Security Number

The United States Social Security system provides some pension and insurance benefits to US residents.  Anyone who is employed is required to apply for a Social Security Number in order for the employer to withhold the appropriate amount of Social Security taxes from the employee's pay. 

All international degree-seeking and visiting exchange students are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number upon receiving their first job offer from an on-campus or off-campus employer in the United States.  Students must apply for a Social Security Number prior to beginning employment and can apply up to 30 days prior to their employment start date.  Applications must be submitted in person, and the nearest Social Security Administration office is located in Crawfordsville, Indiana - approximately 35 minutes from Greencastle. 

SUGGESTED Documents to apply for a Social Security Number 

This is a suggested list of application materials. Be sure to check the most up-to-date information about required documentation to apply on the Social Security Administration's web pages.

  1. Completed Form SS-5 Application for a Social Security Number (one original and one photocopy)
  2. Original and photocopy of your complete I-20 or DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility immigration document
  3. Original passport and photocopy of your biographic/expiration page(s)
  4. Photocopy of your F-1 or J-1 visa (stamped in your passport)
  5. Printed copy of your I-94 Departure Record
  6. Letter verifying your employment details from your on-campus or off-campus employer. (templates available here)
  7. Letter from DePauw's International Student Services office verifying employment eligibility and valid immigration status. Make your request by filling out the Social Security Document Request Form available here
  8. Letter from DePauw's Office of the Registrar verifying your on-campus residential address. Make your request by visiting the office in person or by emailing registrarsoffice@depauw.edu.

You can also visit the International Student Affairs office or email intlstudents@depauw.edu for more information. 

Driving in the United States

prepare before you arrive

To drive a car in the United States, you must have a valid Driver's License.

The easiest way to start legally driving in the United States upon arrival is to obtain two documents from your home country before coming to DePauw:

1. A valid driver's license from home, and
2. An "International Driver's Permit"

Based on a 1949 United Nations treaty on international road travel, most countries around the world accept this combination of a home driver's license (unexpired) and and International Driver's Permit (IDP), which translates the home driver's license into English and other predominant languages. You can use these to drive legally in the US for up to one year, as long as they don't expire. It is recommended that students switch to an Indiana driver's license before that first year ends, as Indiana driver's licenses are more easily recognized by local authorities.

Driving and driver's licenses are regulated by each state, so students should reference Indiana's driving laws and application procedures on the website of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). In addition, please refer to Study in the States which lists required documentation to bring to your appointment. 

The local Greencastle branch  of the BMV is located at 1010 Mill Pond Lane, Greencastle, IN 46135. Phone: (888) 692-6841. (Hours posted on the Indiana BMV website.) The office is within walking distance of DePauw.

If you do not have a driver's license in your home country

Students can apply for their first driver's license in Indiana at any time. The first step to getting an Indiana driver's license is to apply for an Indiana Learner's Permit, which is issued as a training period for new drivers to practice driving.  After completing the learner's permit, students will be eligible to apply for a regular Indiana Driver's License

Visit the International Student Affairs office or email intlstudents@depauw.edu to receive the current list of required application documents and to request the necessary letters you will need from DePauw in order to apply for your Indiana Driver's Permit or License.