Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What health records do I need to submit, and am I required to have health insurance? 
  2. What is a Social Security Number, do I need one, and how do I get one? 
  3. Do I need to file taxes? 
  4. How do I get a driver's license? 
  5. How do I request a transcript from Augustana? 
  6. My visa is about to expire — will I be out of status? 
  7. What updates do I need to provide the International Programs Office (IPO)? 
  8. How do I invite my parents to graduation — can I get a letter of invitation?

 

1. Augustana requires health records for all students, and there are options for insurance. International students will be automatically enrolled in a health insurance plan, but you have the option to submit a waiver to show proof of sufficient coverage in the U.S. to opt-out of the Augustana plan. Please see Health Insurance and Student Health Records for more details along with the required health form and health insurance waiver form. 

 

2. Social Security Numbers are unique identifying numbers only issued to an international student who is authorized to work, as well as to all United States citizens for the purposes of taxes and government benefits. You do not need to get a Social Security Number if you do not have a job, and you cannot apply for a number without a job offer. If you have been offered a job under the regulations of your visa and you've been authorized to work by the International Programs Office, we will assist you in completing the application process for a Social Security Number. You will be required to get a job-offer letter from your employer as well as an authorization confirmation letter from the IPO. You can schedule a time to go to the Social Security Administration Offices with your International Student Advisor and you'll need to bring the authorization letters, your passport, Form I-20 and the Social Security Application form which is also available in the International Programs Office. Sometimes cell phone companies will ask you for your SSN to sign up for a phone and plan. If you are not authorized to get a Social Security Number under the previous guidelines, you can get a pre-paid cell phone plan or you may ask to be exempted from providing an SSN by paying a large security deposit ($400 or more). 

 

3. All persons living in the United States are required to file tax documents each year, including international students, even if you're not working. The International Programs Office can help you determine which tax form you will need to use and how to file the form with supporting documentation. Tax information sessions are held every spring semester prior to the tax submission deadline on April 15th. Check your email in January and February for tax information updates and session schedules and see our tax filing resource, Sprintax, for more information. 

 

4. You are allowed to drive a vehicle in the state of South Dakota if you possess a current license in your home country or an international driver's license. If you wish to purchase or rent a vehicle, you will find it easier to do so with a South Dakota Driver's License. You must pass a written test, an eyesight test, and a driving test in order to get a South Dakota Driver's License.  You will also need to supply a current passport, visa, Form I-94, Form I-20, social security card or letter from IPO indicating you do not need a SSN, and an address verification letter. We highly advise you to study for for your written test and practice for your road test. If you don't have a license from your home country or an international driver's license, you will need to obtain an instruction permit in order to practice for your driving test. The Department of Motor Vehicles has more information on this process. Additional note: if you purchase a car, you must register the vehicle and you must have automobile insurance. 

 

5. Paper or Electronic transcripts can be requested anytime from the Registrar's office. 

 

6. You are allowed to be in the United States on an expired visa as long as your Form I-20 is current. If you leave the United States, however, you will need to have time to apply for a new visa before you will be allowed re-entry. Please check your visa expiration date before making plans to travel outside of the U.S.

 

7. The International Programs Office uses the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) to maintain your immigration records. To ensure you maintain status, you must inform us of any changes to your name, address, major, program end date, funding, academic level or academic enrollment plans. 

 

8. We are happy to write a letter of invitation for your familiy members to attend your graduation. Please email the International Programs Office with the names of your family members you wish to invite along with the dates of their anticipated visit . While we can provide these letters, what can be more effective is for you to write an invitation letter along with proof of your enrollment for your family members to present when they apply for a visitor's visa.