Life Around Rutgers

The largest Rutgers campus is located within the vibrant city of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Learn about all this community has to offer by exploring the resources listed below. 

For information on Camden, click here 

For information on Newark, click here
 

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Additional Information

Getting a U.S. Phone Number +

When you’re inside the U.S., you will need to obtain a new U.S. phone number to avoid large international charges and to maintain your immigration status. As a short term solution, you may purchase a prepaid sim card/phone at a convenience store/airport to have a limited amount of call minutes, texts, and internet data added to your phone. For a long term plan, you will want to consider contacting a cell service provider (see a limited list of companies here) to activate a new phone plan that will cover the duration of your stay. At in-person International Student Orientation, Rutgers Global often invites cell providers to our Resource Fair to help you with this. You are welcome to also use any service that best fits your needs. You do NOT need a SSN to obtain a phone.

Large stores like Target, Walmart, BJs, Costco, and more will often also sell phones. Be aware of international calling/texting fees - these can be very expensive. It is a good idea to use Wi-Fi/internet-connected services such as FaceTime and WhatsApp to contact friends and family at home. Create a plan ahead of time on how and when you will reach out to your loved ones. 
 

Opening a U.S. Bank Account +

Once you arrive on campus, you can go to a local bank to open a bank account. There are two types of bank accounts in the U.S:

Checking Account
A checking account allows you to frequently deposit and withdraw money. You can use your checking account for living expenses, paying tuition and other bills, and more. Please note that checking accounts may come with minimum monthly balances and service fees, such as an "inactive" fee if you do not spend from it at least once per month. On the day students open their bank accounts, ask the banker for ways to maintain the accounts without having to pay monthly fees. 

Savings Account
You may not need a savings account but you can open one if you want to save money and accrue interest. Typically, a savings account requires a minimum deposit and is generally for money you do not intend to use for daily expenses.

Every U.S. bank offers different services and deals to international students. Be sure to read through the fine print to understand the bank's requirements before signing up.

Applying for a Driver's License or State ID Card +

Driver's License

A valid driver's license is required to drive an automobile in the United States and in New Jersey. Driving laws and policies for issuing driver’s licenses can vary from state to state.  An international driver's license is valid for new residents of New Jersey ONLY for the first 60 days in which you reside in this state. After 60 days of residence in New Jersey, you are required by state law to have a valid New Jersey driver's license to operate a vehicle here.

You can apply for a driver’s license after you have been in the United States for 10 days or more, and your SEVIS record is active. If this is your first semester at Rutgers, it could take up to 30 days from the start of the semester for your SEVIS record to be activated by Rutgers Global – ISSS.

Follow these steps to apply for a license:

  • Gather the documents needed to meet the 6 Point ID requirements
    • For students who are not eligible for/do not have a SSN/ITIN, you will need to obtain an affidavit as part of your 6-point requirements. This affidavit can be either notarized by a witness or signed in-person at the MVC in front of the staff member. We recommend the MVC staff. 
  • Visit the NJMVC by scheduling an appointment at NJMVC.gov
  • For more information please visit Study in the States.
  • Students residing in a state other than New Jersey must consult the Department of Motor Vehicle in their state of residence. Click here for information about moving to New Jersey. If you move to a new state, you are also expected to update your license within a certain period.

 

*IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT SSNs AND ITINs FOR DRIVER'S LICENSE APPLICATIONS*

Starting June 1, 2021, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) will allow applicants without a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to submit a sworn affidavit to meet the requirements for a standard NJ driver license or non-driver ID card. They no longer accept SSN Denial Letters. 

Here are the instructions and format for the affidavit and updated 6 points of ID requirements for a standard driver license or non-driver ID. 

Students should NOT have a SSN and an ITIN at the same time. Therefore, we strongly recommend you use the MVC affidavit above when applying for a license instead of applying separately for an ITIN. Otherwise, you will need to rescind your ITIN later on if you have the need to instead obtain a SSN. 

 

State IDs / Non-Driving IDs

This process is extremely similar to that shown above. Instead, you fill out a form for a NON driving ID. As 6 points of identification are still required, we highly suggest using the affidavit of no SSN/ITIN. 

  • All initial non-driver identification cards must be obtained in-person by scheduling an appointment and any Licensing Center.
  • Complete the Application for Permit/License/Non-Driver ID (Form BA-208).
  • Pass the 6 Points of ID requirements.  
  • Pay the fee. The MVC accepts American Express® card, MasterCard®, Visa® card, Discover card®, checks, money orders and cash.

Getting a Car +

Please note that you must have automobile insurance in order to own and/or drive a car. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has helpful information on purchasing a vehicle. If you are looking to buy a car, be sure to do extensive research about what kind of car would best fit your needs and your budget. Cars are sold at dealerships, or sometimes from individual car owners. We also recommend that you bring a friend or family member who is knowledgeable about buying a car in the United States with you when you make the purchase.

Click here to find a nearby Motor Vehicle Commission location that can assist you with vehicle titles, registration, etc.

Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) +

The process to get a SSN or ITIN is explained on this page (click here). 

A social security number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit number issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for U.S. citizens, permanent residents and eligible nonimmigrant workers in the United States. SSA uses SSNs to report wages to the government, track Social Security benefits and for other identification purposes.

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens.

Students should NOT have both a SSN and an ITIN at the same time.

 

Nearby Health Centers and Hospitals +

It is important to stay healthy during your stay at Rutgers. If you are feeling sick, there are three health centers on campus where you can make an appointment to meet with a physician. For hours and locations of the health centers and pharmacies, please visit here. If you need urgent medical attention or have an actual emergency, call Rutgers Police at 732-932-7211 or 911.

There are also two large hospitals blocks away from the Rutgers- New Brunswick campus, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and St. Peter’s University Hospital in case of emergencies.

For RBHS- Newark students, the University Hospital is located on campus.

Schooling for Children on F-2s and J-2s +

Education in the United States is required for children up to the age of 16. Public education is free of charge. Schools start in early September and go through mid-June. Children must be five years old by December 1 to be enrolled in kindergarten in the same school year.

Bring your children’s birth certificates, school, and immunization records—all in English. Children must have the following immunizations to attend school: three or more diphtheria toxoid series (DPT or DT); three or more trivalent oral polio series or four salk polio vaccine series, measles, mumps, and rubella live vaccines, given on or after the first birthday; or a statement from a physician that the child has had measles or mumps, or a certified serological blood test if the child has had rubella.

New Brunswick Public Library +

Learn more about the New Brunswick Public Library on their website