General Information

Social Security number 

For those in F-1 and J1 status: Before applying for a Social Security number (SSN), 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 (SSA).

To obtain an SSN, you must be gainfully employed in the United States. The SSA considers an individual to be employed if the person receives a wage or stipend from a U.S. source.

Visit the SSA's web page to find the most convenient location to visit to apply for the SSN.

Documents required to obtain a SSN:

  • 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 offer letter before we can issue a letter for SSA.
  • Letter of employment or sponsorship from UMB department for J-1 scholars
  • Completed application form

For additional questions, please review the SSA Fact Sheet.

If you are NOT eligible for a SSN, 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 Status SSN 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 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 SSA and is subject to change without notice. Implementation of these guidelines may vary from one SSA office to another.

Maryland driver's license 

ATTENTION: Please check FAQ about MVA Operations and policies during COVID-19

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

Note that before applying for the MD driver's license, please obtain a SSN which you are qualified for. If not, you need to apply for a SSN denial letter from the Social Security Office.

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 an Online Document Guide for required identity and residency documentation

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 

The Office of International Services encourages anyone under UMB visa sponsorship to seek individualized guidance from our office prior to undertaking international travel. Please make an appointment (Contact Us).

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:


  • 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.

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:


  • 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.
  • 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 request a travel signature in Sunapsis before you leave.

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. Check the list of U.S. embassies and consulates, as well as Foreign embassies and consulates in the United States.


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

Who must file tax forms for 2023 tax season?

If you were physically in the U.S. in F or J status anytime between January 1 - December 31, 2023 you're obligated to send one form, Form 8843, to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even if you had no income. For the 2023 tax season, if you earn over $0 of taxable U.S. source income, you may need to file a federal tax return with the IRS. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also need to file state tax return(s). 

How can OIS help me?

Review our full Tax Information FAQ.

As a courtesy, our office provides international students and scholars who were on UMB-sponsored visas during the tax year access to a system called Sprintax, which will assist nonresident aliens for tax purposes in completing their federal and state income tax forms. Our office covers the federal preparation cost of Sprintax; students and scholars are responsible for covering the cost of preparing the state 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 Sprintax to file my tax forms?

By the end of January 2024, you will receive an email from OIS with instructions and an access code.

If you did not receive the email and held a UMB-sponsored visa status (F-1, J-1, H-1B, TN, E-3) in 2023, and you believe you are a Nonresident Alien for tax purposes, please email OIS to request access.


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

  • 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

Off-Campus Housing

Useful links for researching neighborhoods in and around Baltimore:

  • This website goes into detail about the different neighborhoods, with interactive maps:
  • For Baltimore City Neighborhood Statistical Areas, which is how the city defines the neighborhoods, visit:
  • For information on neighborhood crime statistics, visit the Baltimore Crime Map.

  • Visit this site for an interactive 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:

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.

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.

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.

: 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.