General Information

Social Security number

For those in F-1 and J1 status: Before applying for a Social Security number, you must:

  • be present in the U.S. a MINIMUM of 10 days
  • AND you must have completed our Sunapsis check-in e-form to get your SEVIS record activated several days before you visit the Social Security Administration.

To obtain a Social Security number/card, you must be gainfully employed in the United States. The Social Security Administration considers an individual to be employed if the person receives a wage or stipend from a U.S. source.

Please visit the Social Security Administration's web page to find the most convenient location and the appropriate forms required for applying for a U.S. Social Security number.

The following documents will be needed to obtain a Social Security number:

  • Valid passport, print out I-94 admissions number, and visa stamp
  • Form DS-2019 or Form I-20
  • Lower portion of I-797 approval notice for those in H-1B status
  • For F-1 Students only, an original letter verifying that the wage, assistantship, or stipend you are receiving is being paid by a U.S. source. The OIS can issue this letter for any F-1 student who requires an SSN. You will need to complete the SSN Letter Request in Sunapsis under F-1 Student Services and upload your letter or email verifying on-campus employment before we can issue a letter for SSA.
  • Letter of employment or sponsorship from UMB department for J-1 scholars
  • Completed application for a Social Security card found on Social Security Administration's web page

Local Social Security Offices

For additional questions, please review the Social Security Administration Fact Sheet.

If you are NOT eligible for a Social Security number, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Details concerning how to apply for the ITIN number can be found by clicking here.

Visa StatusSSN Eligibility
B1/B2 or WT Number is NOT issued.
F-1 Number issued ONLY for individuals with an EAD card and/or a letter of employment.
Must indicate the wage or stipend is from a U.S. source.
F-2 Number is NOT issued.
J-1 Student Number is issued ONLY for individuals with a letter of employment indicating the wage or
stipend is from a U.S. source.
J-1 Scholar Scholar Number is issued for individuals with a U.S. source of income.
J-2 Number is issued ONLY with an EAD card.
H-1B Number is issued.
H-4 Number is NOT issued.
O-1 Number is issued.
TN Number is issued.

 
This represents the current interpretation and practice of the Social Security Administration and is subject to change without notice. Implementation of these guidelines may vary from one SSA office to another.

Maryland driver's license

Before applying for a Maryland driver's license, you must wait 10 days from your first entry to the United States.

Before visiting the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), you MUST submit an Electronic SAVE Verification Request Form online. After completing the SAVE request, the MVA will contact you within a few days to continue the process of applying for a Maryland driver's license. You MUST do the SAVE step before going in person to the MVA.

The following documents will be needed to obtain a Maryland driver's license:

  • Visa document reflecting your valid status in the US (i.e. I-20, DS-2019, I-797, etc.)
  • Valid passport
  • Print out the I-94 admissions number from CPB website
  • Social Security card or, if not eligible, Letter of Denial from Social Security Administration
  • Evidence of residency in the state of Maryland. Visit the MVA's website for a list of acceptable documents.

Local MVA Office

  • Baltimore City MVA
    5425 Reisterstown Road
    Baltimore, MD 21215

If you do not live in Baltimore City, you can find additional MVA locations here. The Office of International Services encourages you to apply at full-service locations.

Travel guidance and resources

As changes are happening rapidly, this section will be updated with guidance and resources to be considered prior to international travel.

The Office of International Services encourages anyone under UMB visa sponsorship to seek individualized guidance from our office prior to undertaking international travel. Please visit during walk-in hours with your passport, visa stamp, and visa document (I-20, DS-2019, copy of I-797), or make an appointment. See walk-in hours and contact information to the left.

For immigration status-specific guidance about what to bring when you travel or apply for a visa, see "Traveling Outside the United States." at the below links:

Resources

  • For international students and scholars who will be traveling on University-related business, please visit the International Travel Resources page. A link to International SOS, the international travel registry system, can be found there.

 In the News

Automatic Visa Revalidation

Returning to the United States from Canada or Mexico on an Expired U.S. Visa

Automatic Visa Revalidation allows for re-entry to the United States from international travel to Canada or Mexico with an expired visa stamp in your passport. To qualify for re-entry to the United States using Automatic Visa Revalidation, the following must apply:

Requirements

  • You have been in Canada or Mexico for fewer than 30 days
  • You do not apply for a U.S. visa while in Canada or Mexico
  • You are not from one of the countries currently considered by the U.S. federal government to be state sponsors of terrorism. You may check your country's status here.

I-94 Card
As of April 30, 2013, a paper I-94 card is no longer issued when you re-enter the United States via air or sea. The I-94 admission record is created electronically and maintained in CBP systems. CBP will verify the I-94 electronically to revalidate an expired U.S. visa if the traveler meets the conditions of automatic revalidation. If entry occurred before automation, a paper form must be presented to comply with validation requirements

For those in F or J status, you must have a valid travel signature on your DS-2019 or I-20 before departing the United States. Please stop by our office before you leave if you need a new travel signature.

Visa Stamp to ENTER Canada or Mexico
Depending on your country of citizenship, a Canadian or Mexican visa stamp MAY be required for you to enter Canada or Mexico. Please check with the Canadian and/or Mexican embassies to see if you will require a visa stamp to enter either country before scheduling your trip.

Changes of Status and Automatic Revalidation

Automatic Visa Revalidation also applies to those who originally entered the United States in one non-immigrant status and have since changed to another non-immigrant status.

Adjacent Islands excluding Cuba

For those in F or J status, automatic revalidation also allows for travel of fewer than 30 days to the U.S. adjacent islands.

See "Which islands are defined as "Adjacent Islands"? (Under Question 2)

Traveling to a Country Other than Your Country of Citizenship

Before traveling to another country of which you are not a citizen, check the United States re-entry requirements, as well as that country's travel requirements.  A list of U.S embassies and consulates can be found here. Foreign embassies and consulates in the United States can be found here.

   
Canada
Please note that you can re-enter the United States from Canada with an expired U.S. visa stamp if you meet the criteria. Check the Canadian visa requirements here. If you need a Canadian visa, you can download the application from the Canadian consulate website.

Tax information

The Office of International Services (OIS) provides this tax resource information to UMB students and scholars for informational and educational purposes and not as a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a qualified tax professional. Students and scholars who have questions about their tax situation should consult a qualified tax professional. Each person is responsible for the accuracy of their income tax returns and any resulting penalties or interest. OIS staff members are not qualified and do not provide individual tax advice. OIS disclaims any and all liability from providing this general information.

General Tax Information

If you earned any type of income in a calendar year, such as, but not limited to, wages from employment, interest from a U.S. bank account, or a scholarship, you are required to file U.S. federal income tax forms (such as the 1040NR, or 1040). Most states also have income tax forms that you are also required to file.

Even if you did not earn any income, individuals in F and J status are required to fill form 8843.

A new federal income tax law will be implemented in 2019. It eliminates the personal exemption of $4,050 when filing Form 1040-NR for nonresident aliens. This may impact the refund of withheld wages for federal income tax.

How can OIS help me?

Review our full Tax Information FAQ which provides more detail and answers questions like: Am I Resident or Nonresident Alien for Tax Purposes?, I didn't earn U.S. sourced income, do I need to do anything?, and What forms do I need to file?

As a courtesy, our office provides international students and scholars who were on UMB-sponsored visas or employed by UMB during the tax year access to a system called Glacier Tax Preparation, which will assist nonresident aliens for tax purposes in completing their federal income tax forms.

If you are a resident alien for tax purposes, we recommend you contact a qualified tax accountant (CPA) to assist you with properly filing your taxes.

As stated at the top of the page, OIS is not qualified to provide tax advising beyond what general information is provided on our website.

How do I get access to Glacier Tax Preparation to file federal income tax forms?

You will need to complete the Glacier Tax Preparation Access Request form in order to be granted access. Access will be granted in batches on Friday mornings of each week leading up to April 15, which is the deadline for income tax forms.

How do I file state income tax forms?

Glacier Tax Preparation does not provide assistance with state income tax forms, but will link you to another company, Sprintax, who will charge a fee of approximately $29 to assist you in filing your state income tax forms. OIS is not responsible for paying this fee. 

English language resources

Listed below are a variety of opportunities available to students and scholars at UMB to improve their English language skills. This list is provided to inform the UMB international community and is not an endorsement of the programs on this list.

UMB Offices and Programs

  • UMB Writing Center
    The Writing Center assists UMB students and fellows by providing individual consultations, workshops, and support groups.

Community Resources

  • Esperanza Center
    The Esperanza Center offers free English language instruction.
  • Children of the World
    Co-op in the Charles Village area of Baltimore provides ESL instruction to adult members and playgroups for families with children ages 6 months to 4 years old.

College/University ESL Programs

Housing information

On-Campus Housing

UMB offers on-campus housing in two locations.

The Pascault Row Apartments are located on West Lexington Street. There are 80 units that can accommodate 88 residents in one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The other option is the Fayette Square Apartments. Fayette Square offers everything from private studios and one-bedroom apartments to spacious two-, three-, and four-bedroom apartments in the sleek new Tower Residences. They also offer two-, three-, four-, and seven-bedroom apartments in the restored Historic Residences.

Pascault Row and Fayette Square

518 W. Fayette St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
 
Phone: 410-706-5523
Fax: 410-706-5530
http://www.housing.umaryland.edu/

Off-Campus Housing

UMB Housing offers links to off-campus options.

Useful links for researching neighborhoods in and around Baltimore:

  • This website goes into detail about the different neighborhoods, with interactive maps:
    www.livebaltimore.com/
  • For Baltimore City Neighborhood Statistical Areas, which is how the city defines the neighborhoods, visit:
    www.bniajfi.org/map_gallery
  • For information on neighborhood crime statistics, visit the Baltimore Crime Map.
  • Visit this site for an interactive ESRI Tapestry Segmentation map for Baltimore. Tapestry segmentation classifies U.S. residential neighborhoods into 65 unique market segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, which can be quite useful when looking for a place to live. To view, click the Thematic Overlay tab and choose from the drop-down menus Demographics, then 2010 ESRI Tapestry:
    http://cityview.baltimorecity.gov/CityView/

Baltimore College Town Network
The Baltimore Collegetown Network brings 14 area colleges and universities together with government, business, and community leaders to strengthen the links among the city’s educational, cultural, and community institutions.
www.baltimorecollegetown.org/

Immigration terms

F-1 Student: A visa classification for a nonimmigrant who is pursuing a “full course of study” to achieve a specific educational or professional objective at an academic institution in the United States that has been designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to offer courses of study to such students, and has been enrolled in SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System). The F-1 student is expected by the U.S. government to return to their residence abroad once the program is completed. A student acquires F-1 status using Form I-20, issued by the school through SEVIS.

J-1 Student: A visa classification for a nonimmigrant who is admitted to a degree program at an “accredited educational institution” for a “full course of study” or is engaged full time in a nondegree “prescribed course of study.” Certain criteria must be met to qualify for J-1 Student status. A student acquires J-1 Student status using Form DS-2019, issued by the school through SEVIS.

J-1 Scholar: Typically, nonimmigrants having academic appointments as visiting faculty, postdoctoral fellows/associates, research associates, and other temporary academic appointments. A scholar acquires J-1 status using Form DS-2019, issued by the school through SEVIS.

J-1 Intern: A visa classification for a nonimmigrant student who is currently enrolled and pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the United States and whose U.S. internship will fulfill the educational objectives for their current degree program. Certain criteria must be met to qualify for J-1 Intern status.

H-1B Employees: A visa classification for “temporary workers” in “specialty occupations.” Petitions for H-1B status are submitted by the employer to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval.

Specialty Occupation: For H-1B purposes, a specialty occupation is an occupation that requires "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge" and the "attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.”

Visa: A visa is a stamp placed in the passport by a consular official at a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas. It is the permission to apply for (re)entry into the United States. As long as you remain in the United States, it does not matter if the visa stamp has expired. There are many different kinds of visas that correspond to immigration statuses.

I-20: A piece of paper called a Certificate of Eligibility. It is used to obtain an F-1 Student visa.

DS-2019: A piece of paper called a Certificate of Eligibility. It is used to obtain a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.

I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record): Upon entry to the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer creates an I-94 record for you in the electronic system. The I-94 controls your immigration status and your length of stay in the United States; it either has a date of expiration or is valid for the Duration of Status, D/S. As of April 30, 2013, CBP is only issuing paper I-94 cards at land crossings. If you change immigration status from within the United States, your approval notice will include a new I-94 number for you, which will not appear in the electronic system. 

Duration of Status (D/S): A Student or Exchange Visitor's permission to stay in the United States is defined as "Duration of Status." It appears on the I-94 card as D/S and relates to the expected date of program completion (item #3 on the DS-2019 or #5 on the I-20). J-1 Exchange Visitors and F-1 Students must file for an extension of program at least two months before this date.

eShip Global - mailing information

Express Mail Shipment of I-20 or DS-2019

UMB offers you the opportunity to receive or ship your documents through a safe, quick, and dependable delivery service. If you need your documents quicker, we use an express mailing service that will allow you to receive the documents through DHL or FedEx in three to five days. To request express mailing of your documents, go to the University Express Mail Services website.

Requesting your documents through express mail is at YOUR expense. It can be paid by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover card only) or PayPal when you place your request.

To request express mailing of your documents, follow these directions:

  • Access the secure website here
  • Create an account for free
  • Select University of Maryland, Baltimore as your school
  • Select Office of International Services as the department
  • Enter your mailing address
  • Put your UMB ID in the "Student ID" field
  • If you do not know your UMB ID yet, use uemsid-xxxx
  • Enter your payment information
  • Review your address and payment information. Errors in the information submitted will delay the shipping of your I-20 or DS-2019
  • Place your order

Please make sure that your name is indicated exactly as it appears on your admission/invite documents.

If you have questions about how to use this service, please visit the FAQ section of this website or email student.support@eshipglobal.com

Please pay close attention to the information submitted, as errors in the credit card information or submitting incorrect or incomplete address information will result in a delay of receiving your documents.

Inviting visitors

Are your family or friends going to visit you for graduation or at any other time while you are at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB)?

Follow these steps to help them apply for a visa:

  1. Check if your guests are eligible to apply for the visa waiver program (ESTA)

  2. If your guests are not eligible for the ESTA program, they may apply for the B-2 visitor

    • Your guests should review the information on visitor visas by the U.S. Department of State and refer to the website of the U.S. Consulate where they will apply to learn about the current forms, fees, and processing times.

      If your guest is not fluent in English, you may need to translate the information or recommend that they contact the nearest U.S. consulate to request a translated version before applying for the visa. They should read the information before submitting their application for the visa.

     
  3. Your guests will need the following documents to apply for a visitor visa

    • Your invitation letter (Sample Invitation Letter (B2))
    • Enrollment confirmation from the Registrar’s office or copy of UMB appointment letter

    • Financial support documents

    • Copy of your visa (Canadians are exempt from the visa requirement), I-94 card/record and I-20 for F-1s, DS-2019 for J-1s, or I-797 approval notice for H-1Bs.

    • Proof of their strong ties to their home country.*

      *What kind of documents would demonstrate the proof of strong ties in their home country?

      • An employer’s letter describing the employee’s position, annual salary, company permission for the trip, and the expected return date to employment

      • Evidence of substantial property and investments in their home country

      • Records of other trips abroad and return

      Please be aware that your family and friends may be denied a B-2 visa if they have relatives who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. For further immigration advice, consult with a licensed immigration attorney.


Note
: If you are on a UMB-sponsored visa (i.e., F-1, J-1, or H-1B), our office can write a letter that is limited to confirming your UMB-sponsored visa status, however, the U.S. government indicates that such letters do not impact the visa issuance decision. Log in to Sunapsis (instructions found at the bottom) to request a letter for each individual. 

Disclaimer: The contents have been prepared for general informational purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice or serve as a substitute for legal counsel.