Establishing Yourself

Upon arrival, there are steps you need to take to establish yourself. If you plan to stay in the United States for an extended period of time, you will want to obtain a Social Security Number.

Social Security Number

Getting a Social Security Number (SSN) is one of the first things you’ll want to do, they will require it in almost everything you do as you get settled in.

For this, you have to go to the Federal Building located Downtown on Main Street. When you get there, they will instruct you to go to the second floor where you will get a number and wait as your turn comes up.

You will have to take the following documents with you:

  • Passport, with American Visa
  • I-94
  • DS-2019, or its equivalent
  • Letter of acceptance from the University of Akron
  • If you are on a scholarship, be sure to ask your sponsoring institution to extend you a letter addressed to the Social Security, explaining the reason why you are here, and the need for a SSN. This will make the process much easier.
  • An address where you can receive your Social Security card (likely your host family address).

They will mail your Social Security card to you in approximately 7 days or less. After you get your card, keep it in a safe place since that number represents you in the United States.

You can find more information on the process here.

State Identification Card

To avoid carrying your passport with you all the time and identify yourself in the city, be sure to go to the License Bureau and get a State ID card.

To get your State ID do the following steps:

1. Go to the License Bureau located at Wolf Ledges Pkwy, in front of the Akron Main Post Office.
2. Request a State ID.
3. Fill in the form.
4. Provide them your Passport and your I-94 or I-20 and a copy of your lease or any document that prove you are living here. (Also have your DS-2019, or equivalent, with you in case they ask you for it).
5. Pay the State ID fee.
6. Get your picture taken.
7. Take your ID.

If you plan to obtain a driver’s license, it is not necessary to get a state ID card, as this will serve the same purpose.

Driver’s License

If you have a valid driver license issued in your home country, take it to the Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV). The license must have your full name printed on it.

1. If the name and country is recognized by the BMV: You can proceed to take the written test and the remaining driving tests. No appointment is necessary to take the driver knowledge test and vision screening, but be sure to check what days certain exam stations are open for business. Your vision will be tested at the exam station to see if it meets the minimum standards established by law. You must pass a driver knowledge test on Ohio motor vehicle regulations and traffic signs. Once you pass these tests, you will obtain a temporary instruction permit which will authorize you to practice for your skills test by driving on the street (but only with a licensed driver 21 years of age or older in the seat next to you).

2. When you are confident of your driving skills, contact the nearest exam station to schedule a skills test (which has two parts- driving and maneuverability) Upon successful completion of your skills test, you will receive an ‘examination passed’ which is a 60 day driving permit. You need to take this to a license agency and obtain your actual license.

3. If the name or the country is not recognized by the BMV (or If you have not obtained a driver license in your home country) You must obtain a temporary permit packet (To get this you must provide documentary proof of age, identity and social security number (if assigned) – Other documents may be acceptable if they provide the required information).

4. Take your complete temporary permit application packet to the nearest Ohio State Highway Patrol driver license examination station. No appointment is necessary to take the driver knowledge test and vision screening, but be sure to check what days certain exam stations are open for business. The tests, exams and procedures listed above will also apply.

If you are involved in an auto accident: 

The duties you need to perform after you have an accident are determined both by state law and by the terms of your contract. Obviously, the first thing you should do is make sure everyone is all right and call an ambulance if one is needed.

Second, for most accidents in most states, the police should be notified.

Third, you should give the other driver(s) involved in the accident your name, address, telephone number, and the name of your insurance company and/or your insurance agent. You also need to get this same information from the other driver(s).

Fourth, at the first opportunity, you should contact either your insurance agent or your insurance company to notify them that you have been involved in an accident.

Finally, there are a number of conditions in the insurance contract that you must satisfy in order to receive compensation from your insurer. For example, you need to cooperate with your insurer during any investigation undertaken during the claims settlement process. Failure to complete any of these actions can, and sometimes does, result in non-payment by your insurance company for losses that otherwise would have been covered.