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Arriving in the U.S.


The International Services and Engagement Office is currently doing H-1B scholar registration and orientation remotely. New H-1B scholars will receive an email with instructions on how to register and attend an online orientation.

All international scholars in H-1B status are required to register with our office upon arrival to UC San Diego.

You can find more information about the registration process and orientation sessions below, along with other information about settling into your routine as an international scholar at UC San Diego.

Register at ISEO

All new international scholars must register with the International Services and Engagement Office upon arrival in the U.S. When you register with our office, you will have to provide us with your contact information (address, phone number, and email address) in San Diego.

Attend H-1B Orientation

Orientation is required for all new UC San Diego international scholars in H-1B status.

There are special regulations that pertain to particular visa categories. Orientation is an opportunity to learn about these requirements so that violations to the terms of your H-1B status do not occur.

Orientation is also a good way to meet others that are new to the university. Dependents are welcome to attend.

H-1B Orientation:
Every first Monday at 9:30 am (excluding holidays) via Zoom. Faculty and scholars who are due to attend the H-1B orientation will receive an invitation and reminder email with the Zoom meeting information closer to the start of the month. If you have any questions contact

Complete Your Glacier Record

The Glacier Online Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance System ("Glacier") allows UC San Diego to collect tax-related information, including treaty eligibility, from international scholars paid by UC San Diego to properly tax and report payments and/or benefits. If you have not received an email request to complete your Glacier record, reach out to your departmental administrator to request their help.

Applying for a Social Security Card

Sample social security card

The following documents are required to apply for a Social Security card:

The local San Diego Social Security Office has indicated that you can only receive services from the social security office your zip code is assigned to. This is based on your local/home/residential San Diego address, not your work address. To determine which Social Security Office that provides you services: 

For detailed information, visit ISEO's identification documents webpage

Applying for a Driver's License

The State of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does not recognize international drivers’ licenses. The State of California, however, does recognize your national driver license as long as it is valid and translated to English. Although the law is ambiguous when dealing with international visitors we recommend that, if you plan to drive, you get a California driver’s license immediately to avoid the risk of a traffic citation. Keep in mind that automobile insurance is required by law in the United States. Most insurance companies require a valid California driver’s license.

Scholars in H-1B status must have a social security number in order to apply for a license. Dependents must either show proof of ineligibility by obtaining a denial letter from the Social Security Administration or apply for a number, if eligible prior to applying for a U.S driver's license.

Temporary permits can be renewed until the card is received.

Keep in mind that automobile insurance is required by law in the United States. Most insurance companies require a valid California driver’s license.

For DMV locations or more information call (800) 777-0133 or visit the DMV website.

Applying for a Campus Card

To obtain a UC San Diego ID card, ask your sponsoring department for assistance.

Your department administrator needs to complete and authorize a Campus Card Request Form. Take the completed form and go to the Student Services Building located at the Student Services Center, 3rd floor, Suite 354A. If you are responsible for the fee, it must be paid at the Central Cashier’s Office located on the 1st floor of the Student Services Center.

An Affiliate card is eligible for the following:
  • Postdoctoral Scholars- Fellow or Paid-Direct
  • Visiting Scholars
  • Visiting Graduate Students
  • Volunteers
  • Family members - spouses are eligible only if the principal is a paid UC San Diego employee.

More information is available at:

Welcome to UC San Diego, visit our Maintaining Your H-1B Status webpage for information to help you maintain your H-1B status.