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You will find it almost essential to have a bank account in the USA, unless you are here for a short period of time. We (USA Americans) use debit cards for almost all our purchases these days. We usually carry very little cash on us.
Opening an account
All you need to open a bank account is your passport, a U.S. address and some money to deposit. The bank will ask for your social security number (SSN) but you DO NOT NEED this number to open a bank account. If you are eligible for a SSN, just tell the bank you will give the number to them after you receive it. If you are not eligible for an SSN, that is fine. If you open up an interest-bearing savings account, you are eligible to apply for an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN)
If you want funds transferred electronically from your home to your bank here in the United States, you will need (1) the name of your bank, (2) your bank account number, and (3) your bank's routing number. Each bank charges for wiring funds in and out of the country. Contact the individual banks for fees.
The Triangle area (Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh) is a great place to raise children. There are lots of family friendly things to do as well as many parks and green areas. Good Resources to check out include: Carolina Parent, Durham Parks & Recreation and Chapel Hill Parks & Recreation. That said, one really must have a car if you are coming here with children. For more information on how to go about purchasing a second-hand car, take a look at
Adjusting to a new culture while maintaining your own can be difficult. DISC offers a variety of resources to help you successfully navigate the cultural maze.
Fact Sheets & Resources
Durham boasts some of North Carolina's most notable chefs and restaurants. Nearly 500 restaurants can be found in Durham, with food ranging from North Carolina barbecue (traditionally pulled pork) to fresh seafood. There are many diverse restaurants in Durham with a variety of cuisines. Check out discoverdurham.com or subscribe to Bites of Bull City.
Restaurants Close to Campus. There are some fun neighborhoods within walking distance to West and East Campuses. The non-profit, Downtown Durham, is a wonderful resource for eateries walking distance to campus, coffee shops and much more.
Tips on Tipping. In the United States a “tip” is NOT included in restaurant bills, haircuts, taxi rides or other services provided. Take a look at this Consumer Reports information to learn more about tipping in the United States.
If you are a student looking to work on campus, there are a number of student worker jobs on the Duke campus. However, you must find a job that does not require Work-Study. Exception to this is if you have been granted Duke University aid. As an international student you can work 19.9 hours maximum per week during the academic year.
If you are an international spouse on a J-2 visa and have been granted work permission, go to the spouses tab for some general tips on the job search. If you are on the F-2 visa there are many opportunities in the community to volunteer. Contact Duke International Student Center for more information about volunteering.
Finding Jobs on Campus — We developed this handout for the many students who asked us how to find a job on campus.
dukelist.duke.edu — Best place to look for non-work study jobs on campus
How to Obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) during COVID-19 Closings and Restrictions
Whether you are here on an F or J visa, you must have a job offer before you can apply and then apply within 30 days of your start date.
If you have already begun working or are within 30 days of starting a job, please send the following information/documents and IHouse staff will forward your documents to a Social Security Administration agent. Once it is determined that you qualify for an SSN and your documents are sufficient, they will be required to attend an in-person appointment at the Social Security Agency at 3511 Shannon Road Suite 200, Durham, 27707.
If you meet the above criteria, please submit the following to email@example.com
Tax Payer Identification Number (otherwise known as ITIN).
The best place to take English Language Classes is at Durham Technical Community College. Durham Tech offers classes at no charge in both Durham and Chapel Hill during the day and in the evenings. You must attend the mandatory registration session in order to be enrolled for classes that semester. DTCC also offers more academic English classes for a fee. Note: Durham Tech does not provide childcare.
ESL Resources. — This handout includes information about where you can study and/or practice English language in the area.
Private Tutor List. — Hiring a Private English Language Tutor may be a better option given your circumstances. Here is a list of local tutors and editors.
Finding an Optometrist. — If you need to find an eye doctor and/or get contact lens or glasses.
Finding a Dentist. — There is a dental clinic at the Student Wellness Center that is open to all at Duke. However you can also go to a dentist in the community.
Finding a Doctor for Non-Students. —mIf you are a Duke student, you can go to the Duke Student Health Center for medical treatment. This information is for everyone who is not a Duke student and needs to find a doctor or clinic.
Duke International Student Center at Duke is actually an office and not a place to live.
Housing on campus is primarily for Duke Undergraduate Students. All graduate and professional students as well as visiting scholars need to find off-campus housing.
When you think about looking for a place to live, questions to consider include...
*If you don't have a car, then we STRONGLY urge you to find a place to live within the Duke Vans zone. However, you may choose to take public transportation to and from campus, check out this useful map for locating apartments near city bus stops.
**The majority of apartments in the U.S. are equipped with major appliances (stove/over, refrigerator, etc.). However, unless stated otherwise rentals to not come with any furniture. It is very easy to obtain furniture (new or second-hand). You can do it! Many people order items online and have it delivered straight to their apartment/house. Take a look at our shopping resources to see where you can purchase second-hand furniture, rent a small truck if you need to transport your furniture, as well as where to rent furniture.
If you need assistance with finding a suitable place to live, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Price Lists Fact Sheets
Resources for finding a place to live include:
In case of emergency, dial 911 immediately
Duke University strives to be a safe place for students to learn, grow, and enjoy their college experience. Security is a shared responsibility and students, faculty, and staff are all valuable partners with Campus Security to help to maintain a safe campus community for all. If you are living off campus and within the Duke Vans zone, we suggest putting the Duke RideCell App on your phone.
Do not hesitate to contact Duke International Student Center with any questions and/or concerns you have. No question is too small or too silly.
All international students, scholars and their family members who stayed in the U.S. for one day or more in 2021 must file Form 8843 individually and send it to Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215 by April 18, 2022. This is true even if you did not have any income in 2021. In February 2022, you can find instructions and the latest form 8843 on the International House website.
Additional requirements for those who earned income in the U.S. during 2021?
If you had any U.S. based income in 2021, you will need to file for a federal tax return and a state tax return by April 18, 2022. Your tax status will determine the correct tax forms to file. Your tax status is determined by your visa type and the amount of time that you have been in the U.S.
To determine your tax status, check out the IRS website:
Resident Alien or Nonresident Alien
Determining your tax filing status
Definition of Terms and Tax forms
Local Tax Professionals
5322 NC Hwy 55, Suite 103
3400 Croasdaile Drive, Suite 203
Durham, NC 27705
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Although your Duke Card serves as a Student ID in the United States, some students also want to obtain the International Student Identity Card otherwise known as ISIC. One may obtain the card by going to the ISIC website, https://www.isic.org. The cost is $25.
There are a few bus and train options to visit other U.S. cities.