Whatever your need, our Office wants to help. Choose a link below for information on our various services.
Social Security Cards
Filing U.S. Taxes
Finding a Job
You can be a part of or attend big events, such as CultureFest, International Education Week, or the OCCU potluck dinner. You can attend and participate in events sponsored by the theme and language houses, such as Diwali, Mexican Day of the Dead, the Spicy Noodle Challenge, Lunar New Year, Oktoberfest, and more. You can enjoy quieter offerings, such as International Lunch Table. Whatever your style or comfort level, there is something going on - or coming up! - to fit your needs. You're always welcome to suggest events or activities, too - bring your dreams to life!
Whether during breaks or for special events, trips sponsored by the Office of Global Citizenship provide the ways and means to get off of the Mountain! Students can enjoy big city sights (and food!), visiting locations such as the Nashville Zoo, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, the Chattanooga Aquarium, and an international festival in Nashville, among others. Where do you want to go next?
social security cards
If you are able to find employment that falls within your work authorization guidelines, you will need to apply for a social security card in person. In order to apply for your Social Security Card, you must meet the following criteria:
- Secure employment that falls within your work authorization guidelines
- Be in the U.S. for at least 10 Days with an 'Active' Record
- Be "registered" or "validated" in SEVIS. When you arrive in the U.S. for your new educational program, you must check in with the Office of Global Citizenship. When this check-in procedure is completed, the office will register/validate your record in SEVIS within three business days. If you are unsure if you've been registered/validated, contact the relevant office staff person.
When applying for your Social Security Card, you will need to take the following documents with you:
- Social Security Application
- Sewanee Employment Authorization Form
- Current I-20 or DS-2019
- Valid Passport
- Printout of current I-94 record
- F-1 students with approved OPT must also show their EAD
- J-1 students with approved Academic Training must also have a supporting letter from an RO or ARO
Applying for your social security card is free, and you may apply at any Social Security Office. The closest social security office to campus is in Tullahoma, TN:
717 King's Lane
Tullahoma, TN, 37388
For more information, review the Social Security Administration Publication, International Students and Social Security Numbers, for additional information.
International students may apply for U.S. Driver's Licenses through the Tennessee DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). A person who moves to Tennessee and has a valid driver's license from another state or country may drive for up to 30 days before they must apply for a Tennessee driver's license. Students may apply for their driver's license through any DMV, but our office recommends using the DMV in Jasper, since they are familiar with Sewanee and our international students. In order to receive a Driver's License, the DMV requires students to pass two tests: Knowledge Exam and Driving Skills Test.
Before attempting your driving test, you must first pass a knowledge exam. The knowledge exam covers the following topics:
- Traffic signs and signals
- Local road rules
- Safe driving techniques
- Drug and alcohol use
No appointment is needed to take the knowledge exam, but if you fail the knowledge exam, you will need to wait seven days before you can re-take it. When going to the DMV to take the knowledge exam, you will need the following documents:
- Current I-20 or DS-2019
- Passport and visa
- Student ID Card
- Most recent I-94
- Social Security Card (if you have one) - You do not need a Social Security Card to obtain a Driver's License or Driver's Permit. If you do not have a Social Security Card, the DMV will have you sign a form that states you do not have this document.
- Letter of residency - The Office of Residence Life can issue this letter. Please email the relevant staff person and include (1) Your on-campus address; (2) Your mailing address; (3) The date you need the letter.
- If you wear glasses, be sure to take them with you, or wear them.
- $28.00 for the cost of the Driver's Permit (What is the difference between a permit and a license?)
driving skills test
You must make an appointment with the Tennessee DMV to take your road test. You can do this either online or by calling the correct office. You will need to bring a vehicle for the test, which must be in good working condition and properly registered. Your examiner will grade you on your ability to control and maneuver the vehicle on public roads and follow local traffic laws.
You will be given an automatic fail if you:
- Violate any traffic law
- Do not follow directions given to you by the examiner
- Perform any dangerous actions while driving
- Are responsible for an accident
If you fail your driving test, your examiner will let you know how long you must wait before you can take it again. When going to the DMV to take the Driving Skills Test, you will need the same documents you took with you for the Knowledge Exam.
PLEASE NOTE: The Office of Global Citizenship does not arrange transportation for students to the DMV to take the Knowledge Exam or the Driving Skills Test.
- Driver's Licenses (TN.gov)
- Tennessee Driver's Manual
- Free practice test
- Getting a Tennessee Driver's License (Vanderbilt Global Support Services)
driver's permit or driver's license
Some international students may choose to apply for a Driver's Permit before applying for a Driver's License. We recommend that students apply for a Driver's Permit before applying for a Driver's License if they have little to no experience driving in the United States. A Driver's Permit allows students to gain experience and build confidence by driving in a safe and secure setting. In the state of Tennessee, students can choose to receive a Driver's Permit after passing the written exam. They are then allowed to drive a vehicle under these rules:
- You must have a passenger in the car who is over 21 and has a valid driver's license. This passenger helps supervise your driving.
- You can only drive between 6am and 10pm.
For more information on Tennessee Driver's Permits, click here. Once you feel comfortable driving, you need to schedule an appointment with the DMV to take your driving test. Please make sure that someone can accompany you who is over 21 and has a valid driver's license.
All F-1 and J-1 international students will automatically be enrolled in Sewanee's International Health Insurance plan from August 1st - July 31st of each academic year they are enrolled. The cost of the insurance plan is communicated directly to students every summer and may vary slightly from year to year. The insurance is paid in full by the university at the start of each academic year, and students will see the charge reflected on their student accounts. While health insurance covers the majority of medical costs, students are still expected to pay for a portion of their medical costs out of their own pocket. For a full description of benefits, please download the brochure.
Exemptions from participation in the Sewanee International Health Insurance Plan may be granted at the discretion of the Office of Global Citizenship for students who are already covered under certain governmental or embassy sponsored plans or as dependents of employees who have coverage through a U.S. employer. Alternate policies must be pre-approved, be equal or better than the coverage provided by the Sewanee policy, and must be maintained throughout the student’s enrollment at the University. Students who want to apply for an exemption from Sewanee's insurance plan must complete the Insurance Waiver Form by July 15th each year they are enrolled so that the Office may review their waiver prior to insurance enrollment on August 1st.
Filing U.S. Taxes
All international students are legally required to file certain paperwork every April to report both their days of presence in the United States and their earned income. If you have been in the U.S. as an international student for more than five years, you will file as a resident alien. If you are an international student who has been in the U.S. for five years or less, with or without a job, you are legally required to file the following paperwork with the IRS:
- Form 8843 - This must be completed by every student, regardless if you have a job or not.
- Form 1040NR or 1040NR EZ - This is only completed by students who had a paid job or received a scholarship, stipend, grant, or allowance during the tax year. You will use your W2 or 1042-S to complete this document.
Sewanee offers a number of resources to assist international students in completing their taxes:
- We offer free access to Sprintax to guide students through the process and file their taxes as non resident aliens.
- New international students are required to attend a Tax Workshop during their first year at Sewanee. The google slides presentation offers valuable information about filing taxes in the U.S.
- A local community organization, BetterFi, offers free tax assistance to international students who are filing their taxes as resident aliens. Students must arrange appointments in advance.
- The following video tutorials also offer helpful guidance on U.S. tax processes:
FINDING A JOB
International students at Sewanee are encouraged to work on-campus through work study. International students are permitted to work off campus through CPT (Curricular Practical Training) or Severe Economic Hardship authorization. International students are also encouraged to pursue OPT and STEM OPT after graduation. Visit our employment page for more information on the various kinds of employment.
To assist students with their job search, the University works with Interstride, a career search platform for international students and students who are interested in working internationally. Some of the features of Interstride include:
- Jobs - A job and internship aggregator to search opportunities at H1-B sponsoring employers in the U.S. or at companies and organizations abroad.
- Country Insights - Guides to numerous countries overseas with links to health and safety information, job postings, and more.
- Resources and Webinars - Information and advice on interviewing, navigating cross-cultural differences, interpersonal communication and networking, assimilating into professional culture in another country, etc.
To set up an account with Interstride, please do the following:
- Go to web.interstride.com and enter your university email. On the next screen, select "Forgot Password." The system will send you a password reset email. You can set a new password and log in.
- Go to your inbox and click on the verification link.
More information coming soon!