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Arriving in the U.S.


The International Faculty and Scholars 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 IFSO

Registration is required for ALL new and transfer UC San Diego international scholars. Please make sure to provide us with your contact information (address, phone number, and email address) in San Diego.

Please bring the following documents:

  1. Passport
  2. Form I-94
  3. Dependent(s) documents (if applicable)

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 recieve invitation and reminder emails with the Zoom meeting information toward the start of the month. 

Applying for a Social Security Card

Sample social security card

As a UC San Diego employee in H-1B status, you must apply in person at the local Social Security Office.

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

  • Passport
  • Form I-94 record printed from the USCBP website
  • H-1B: original H-1B Notice of Approval (Form I-797)

For additional information, visit the Social Security Administration’s website: Documents needed – select “noncitizen” on the left-hand side. Remember that you are not a “student” for U.S. immigration purposes.

Please note that not all social security offices provide the same services. The nearest Social Security Card Center is in downtown San Diego at 109 West Ash St., San Diego, CA 92101. To verify their hours of operation and attain additional information, visit their website or call (800) 772-1213.

For bus routes to these offices visit, or visit UC San Diego’s Transportation and Parking Services website.

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:

IFSO Listserv!

Subscribe to the listserv for International Faculty, Scholars, and Dependents! The listserv includes immigration updates, workshops, and upcoming event information.


Contact IFSO!

International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO)
Phone: (858) 246-1448