UMD: A Globally Connected University

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I transfer to another school?

Once you decide which school you want to go to, please submit:
1. A completed Transfer-Out form indicating your final choice;
2. A copy of the admission letter for the school to which you want to transfer.
After we receive these two documents, we will release your SEVIS record to your desired school after the completion of the current semester or at a later time if you prefer.

More information on transfers may be found here.
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How/When do I need to verify my information in SEVIS?
You need to update your SEVIS record within 10 days of any changes to your address or employment information. You can update your address by using TESTUDO and if you are on OPT you must update your employment information in iTerp.

Please also remember to complete your SEVIS verification at the beginning of every semester before the deadline for schedule adjustment if you are currently enrolled or at least every six months while you are on OPT.
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Do I need a Social Security Number (SSN)? Why?
Social Security Numbers are issued for tax purposes only. They are used to identify you within the government tax and pension system. Only those who have authorized employment are eligible for Social Security cards. They are not general purpose IDs. Accordingly, you do not need a Social Security number to:

  • open a bank account
  • rent an apartment
  • open a utility account (e.g. electricity, gas)
  • set up a cell phone account
  • register your children for school
  • conduct business with other financial institutions
  • Receive a driver's license

If a business representative or service provider asks you for a Social Security number, simply inform him/her that you are an international student and do not have a Social Security Card. For more information, click here.

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How do I obtain a copy of my transcript?
General student record information is available through the University of Maryland Testudo system. On the left side of the Testudo page is a section for "Applicants & Former Students." You can click there to see prompts to request Enrollment Verification and your student Transcript.
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How do I make an appointment with an ISSS advisor?
There are two quick ways to secure an appointment. First, try calling the ISSS main office line at 301-314-7740. Your second option is to log onto an ISSS daily chat session. An ISSS student advisor is on chat daily from 10:30am-12:30pm -- the advisor will be able to give you several options so that you can select one that fits with your schedule.
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How can I get a drivers license?
You do not need a SSN to obtain a driver's license, and thus you do not need a letter from our office verifying your valid non-immigrant status. However, before your driver's license can be obtained in Maryland you will need to go to the Social Security Administration (SSA) to obtain a letter of ineligibility, which states that you are not eligible for a SSN and you will need to take to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) when you go in person to get your license. Information about the SSA is available on our website at:

In the interim, the first step to obtaining a driver's license is to complete a S.A.V.E. Verification Request Form online to verify your status in the US. Upon completion of this form, a MVA representative will contact you within two (2) business days with the verification results and information to continue the process. If you experience any difficulties with the form, or do not receive a response within two (2) business days, please send an e-mail to the MVA to For more information, please visit the MVA website at:
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Why did I not receive my drivers license?
First of all, you are not alone having this problem. The MVA has been working with the university to resolve the issues that international student consistently have experienced.

Because there are a number of government departments involved in an international student's immigration verification please review the steps outlined below. The process that MVA has set up is a step by step process so if one step was missed or not initiated then the final processing cannot be completed. This information is directly from a contact at the MVA with whom the university has developed a relationship.

STEP I: Applicant should wait at until at least 30 days after your school registration is complete to either request the Online Verification or visit the MVA. Please do not do both.

STEP II: Complete the online SAVE Verification Request Form (Make sure all contact information is completed and correct).
MVA reports that an MVA representative will contact you within two (2) business days with the verification results and information to continue the process. (If you experience any difficulties with the form, or do not receive a response within two (2) business days, you can send an e-mail to the MVA at
If you missed this step this may explain why you received a short-term license.

STEP III: Once an MVA representative has contacted the applicant after confirming SAVE verification and scheduled an appointment for the applicant, the applicant should have all the required documents listed here: passport with visa, I-94 paper form or printout from online I-94, I-20 with SEVIS number, letter of ineligibility from Social Security or Social Security card, 2 proofs of residence, out of State or foreign issued drivers license, 3-Hour Alcohol & Drug Certificate if applicable) See here for complete list of acceptable sources documents.

ALSO NOTE: Applicant should have everything in order before their visit, or completing the online verification. Once the MVA receives verification, the response is only valid for 30 days.
(If their documents are not in order, or the applicant does not come to the MVA within 30 days of being contacted from the online request, a new SAVE request will be required, which may delay the process)

For additional information review the MVA's page for international applicants.
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Where can I get information about paying taxes?
ISSS staff does not have the expertise to advise international students and/or graduates on tax issues. Contact a tax specialist to confirm whether you are eligible for a tax refund. For general information, follow the ISSS link for tax information.  Also, the Graduate School has posted dates in which it will provide general tax advice, but that may be limited to current graduate students. See here for more information.

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How can I get an invitation letter for my family/friends to visit?
As of May 22, 2013 ISSS is no longer issuing invitation letters. These letters are not required by the embassy to issue a B2 visa. The Student/Scholar should submit a copy of their I-20/or DS2019 to the relative applying for the tourist visa. You can also send an Enrollment Verification Certificate along with the copy of your passport.

The B2 visa is designated for tourist activities, such as sightseeing, visiting friends and relatives, obtaining medical treatment, etc. No invitation letter is needed if the purpose of the activity is for sightseeing and visiting the United States.

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