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Life in the United States

Life in the U.S.

Social Security Number

Social Security numbers serve as personal identification numbers in the United States.  They are also required before a person may be paid for employment. 

You must have a job before applying for a Social Security number. If you have been hired for on-campus employment, you’ll have to complete some paperwork to apply for your Social Security card. It takes approximately two weeks after the date of application to receive a Social Security card in the mail. Unfortunately, you cannot get paid for your work until you have received your Social Security card, so start this process as soon as you’ve found a job!

Bank Account

Many banks in the United States require patrons to have a Social Security number before opening an account. Several banks near North Park’s campus do not have this requirement. If you would like to open a bank account, please stop by the International Office for a letter which you can show the bank as part of your account documents. 

Driver’s License

In order to apply for a regular Illinois driver’s license, you must have a Social Security number. 

If you don’t have a Social Security number, you may drive using a valid driver’s license from your home country for one year. In certain circumstances, you may also be eligible for a Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License (TVDL).

You may have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) from your home country. The IDP is a translation of your home-country driver’s license; it does not constitute a legal driver’s license by itself. 

Health Insurance

Health care in the United States can be very expensive, so all students at North Park University must have adequate health insurance coverage. As an international student, you are given the option to enroll in a school-offered plan at the beginning of the fall or spring semesters.

You may opt out of the North Park offered insurance plan if your personal insurance meets standard requirements. However, if you do not show proof of your own insurance by the end of the second week of classes, we will automatically enroll you in and bill you for North Park’s insurance.

If you are covered by North Park’s insurance policy and have visited a doctor or emergency room, please come to the International Office for assistance in submitting your insurance claim.

Financing your U.S. Education

Like health care, higher education in the United States can be very expensive. As an international student, you are not eligible for the same types of financial aid as your peers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Make sure you've consulted the following resources for information on financial aid: