Social Security Numbers and Drivers Licence

Social Security Numbers

It is the current policy of the Social Security Office to issue numbers to international students only when necessary for employment. If you already have a Social Security number when you apply to Cal Poly Pomona, it is still valid for on-campus employment. When a student is hired for on-campus employment or for an off-campus internship, the first step to applying for a social security number is to request an original letter or statement of employment (job offer letter) from the employer. Bring the letter to the International Center and request a Social Security letter. Once a letter is provided, the student takes both letters to the Social Security Office with the student's passport and I-20 to request a Social Security Number.

If you are hired for a part-time job on campus, as allowed by the BCIS for students on F-1 and J-1 visas (or if you have other work authorization through the International Center), you would need to take a job offer letter to the Social Security Office to be issued a social security number.

Some banks will allow you to open a bank account without a social security number as long as you have a foreign address. You can apply for a driver's license without a social security number as long as you get a letter from Social Security stating that you are not eligible for a social security number at this time.

Obtaining Social Security Numbers

You will need a social security card before you can work on or off campus (with authorization). There is no cost to apply for a Social Security card.

Social Security Instructions PDF

Bring the following documents when applying for a social security card:

  • Passport
  • I-20 (F-1 visa) or DS-2019 (J-1 visa)
  • I-94
  • A letter of offer of employment from a campus department or an outside firm (for those who have on-campus employment or are authorized for off-campus employment.
  • A letter from Cal Poly Pomona with original signature and contact information for Cal Poly Pomona Designated School Official (DSO)

Social Security Office Locator

Online Local Office Search:

The nearest Social Security Office to the Cal Poly Pomona campus is at:
960 W. Mission Blvd
Pomona, CA 91766
Telephone: (800) 772-1213
Office Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Except Federal Holidays

Note: Social Security Cards issued to F-1 and J-1 visa holders normally have a notation stating "Valid for employment only with DHS authorization." You will be allowed to work on-campus as long as you are enrolled as a full-time student and are in valid visa status.

California Driver's License or California Identification Card Information

You may drive in California with an international driver's license for up to 10 days. Then you must obtain a California driver's license if you wish to continue to drive. You will have to take a two-part test. First, a written exam, and then a driving test.

A free booklet is available from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to help prepare you for the written exam. This booklet is also produced in several different languages besides English. It may take as long as 6 months to 1 year before your receive your photo driver's license or California I.D. card. Until then you will be given a temporary permit (after you have passed the written and driving tests).

Before the DMV can issue you a photo I.D. they must first send a copy of your visa status documents to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) in Sacramento to verify that you entered the U.S. in legal status. Another California law requires automobile insurance when you own a car (refer to the DMV booklet for specific information on this law).

Obtaining a Driver's License or California I.D. Card

Bring the following when applying for a driver's license or California I.D. card:

  • Passport
  • I-20 (F-1 visa) or DS-2019 (J-1 visa)
  • I-94
  • Social Security Card (or letter stating that you are not eligible from Social Security)
  • Costs are different for a driver's license and an I.D. card

Directions to DMV

Online Local Office Search:

Driving Directions to DMV PDF

The nearest DMV Office to the Cal Poly Pomona campus is at:
1600 S. Gary Ave.
Telephone: (909) 865-0097

It is advisable to call for an appointment or schedule an appointment online before going to the DMV.

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