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Current PDSO Office Hours: Mondays - Fridays, by appointments

Congratulations, you have arrived in Los Angeles!

     Now you wonder what to do next to get settled as a newcomer. The good news is, our campus is located at a very convenient area where it is only within a short walking distance to places where you need to get many of the following things done. Besides finding a place to stay or getting food to eat, the following sections will show you what you need to do to settle down.


What You Need to Do

Open a Bank account

Opening a bank account is probably the most important thing to do for new International students. It's a good idea to choose a bank where its ATM machine is nearby.  Therefore, many ITS students at the dormitories choose Bank of America based on the same reason.

To open a bank account, you must prepare the following documents:

  • Your passport with a valid F-1 Visa, I-20 and I-94 (Get your arrival record HERE)
  • A letter of enrollment from the Registrar at ITS
  • A letter to prove your residential address in the US
    • Dormitory students: Please ask the Registrar
    • Off-campus students: Please ask your landlord or landlady.

Please remember to set up your online banking account AND choose "paperless" bank statement.

A Credit Card:

International students just arrived usually cannot get a credit card until after maintaining a good standing at your bank for 3 to 6 months. Many credit card companies require a Social Security Number from new customers to get a credit card. To learn more about Social Security Number, please click HERE.


Get a Cell Phone and a number

With a bank account, you should be able to get a local cellphone number.

  • If you already have an unlocked cellphone, all you need is to get a SIM card from any mobile carriers. You can google any cellphone store near you. The popular carriers in the US are T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon.
  • If you need an unlocked cellphone, ISS can help you order one from With Amazon Prime membership, ISS can help you get a new cellphone in just 2 days. You must pay cash or through Zelle from your bank app at the time of order being placed.

Get a State ID or Driver's License

It is much more convenient to have a California ID or Driver's License than carrying your passport with you anywhere you go. You can get your State ID or Driver's license at any Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The nearest Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is within walking distance from ITS. The following is the address:

800 S Glendora Ave, West Covina, CA 91790

ID or Driver's license?

A driver's license serves both purposes of identification and permission to drive. If you do not plan to drive, you can get a California ID. If you are driving soon, getting a driver's license is a better option.

Please click HERE for more information by the state of California DMV.


Get a Student ID Card

Getting your Student ID card should take place within the first week of your first school term. At ITS, a student ID card shows your affiliation to our seminary. It is important to make sure you get a validation sticker on the back for the current academic year.

Traditionally, a student ID usually offers student discounts in bus fare or at museums or movie theaters. Nowadays, many online technology services and online stores offer discounts to college and university students.

At ITS, ISS also issues student ID cards. Your first student ID card is free. A replacement costs $10.

You need a Laptop

At ITS, no students can ever survive a school term without a laptop.

After the COVID pandemic, 75% of the students at ITS are taking courses online. That means many of our classes are now online or hybrid.  Though International students, the 25% of our student body, still need to attend most of their classes in person, a laptop is a necessity for writing and sending your assignment to your professors. Furthermore, many of our course readings are and will be in electronic format. You definitely need a laptop to read ebooks or use online databases.

ISS can help order a laptop for you on With Amazon Prime membership, ISS can help you get a new laptop in just 2 days. You must pay cash or through Zelle from your bank app at the time of order being placed.


Health Insurance

The cost of ambulance services, health care services and medications are very high in the US, and therefore International students are generally required to get health insurance.

Though ITS does not offer health plans to our international students, the State of California offers Medi-Cal insurance benefits to individuals between the ages of 26 and 49 who are undocumented and do not have a Social Security Number starting January 1st, 2024.

To learn more about and apply for Medi-Cal, please click on the pdf link HERE.

If it is an absolutely emergency, please call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest emergency room in your area. If you need recommendations to see a family doctor, please come visit ISS.

Do I need a Social Security Number?

  • Yes, if you need to file a tax return. At ITS, you can get a Social Security Number (SSN) if you have on-campus employment or are doing Curriculum Practical Training (CPT). 
  • You also need a SSN if you apply for a credit card. And you also use your SSN to check your credit score. Therefore, please do NOT carry Social Security card with you; please store it in a safe place. Your identity will be stolen if you lose your Social Security card.
  • Please see your PDSO if you need to apply for a SSN. You will need at least letter(s) from your PDSO to apply.

You might need a car

Driving and freeway culture have been deep-rooted in Los Angeles. It can be challenging to live in LA without a car.  In order to drive, you need the following:
A Driver License: You need to pass a written test and a driving test. There is a California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in the city of West Covina near ITS. 
Buying a car: A used car is your best bet. Be prepared to pay US$2,000 to $5,000 for a used car. 
Car Insurance: Getting liability coverage only is much less expensive and ideal if you drive a used car. 


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Susan Liu, the Director of International Student Services, at or 626-653-9547 ext. 106.