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SEVIS & Social Security Information      

Be sure to register your United States address in SEVIS as soon as you arrive in the U.S. You should do this BEFORE applying for your Social Security Card.  Registration in SEVIS must happen within twenty (20) days of your arrival into the United States but the sooner that you register, the sooner you can go to the local Social Security office to apply for a Social Security number. Failure to register in SEVIS will result in cancellation of your visa, making it illegal for you to work in the United States. Please follow your visa sponsor’s recommendation on how to register in SEVIS.

Apply for your Social Security Card ten (10) days after enrolling in SEVIS. Please note - if you do not follow this procedure, it can take longer than necessary to get your Social Security Card. You will need the following forms when applying:

Valid passport (not expired or expiring during your stay)
Form I-94 – Arrival/Departure Record, issued when you arrived in the U.S. 
Form DS-2019 – Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status
Job Sponsor’s letter showing you participate in the Exchange Visitor Program
Completed application
Please note all copies must be originals or certified by the issuing agency.  The regional Social Security Administration office address is:

2875 Sabre Street, Suite 100
Virginia Beach, VA 23452

Office Hours are Monday-Friday from 8:45 a.m. – 3:45 p.m., excluding Federal Holidays. Hampton Roads Transit is the local public transportation.  You can catch the bus from Route 20 to First Colonial Road/Laskin Road and transfer to Route 29 to Lynnhaven Mall.  Schedules can be found online at or call 757-222-6100.  

Once you receive your Social Security Card or Card Application Acknowledgement Letter, you should give a copy of this to your employer.  Depending on employer policy you may have already begun to receive your paycheck.  You are required to have Federal Income Tax and Virginia State Tax withheld from your pay. The taxes you should not pay are as follows:
 - Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid 
Please provide your employer with this information to ensure proper taxes are withheld.  If you have any questions about this process, please contact your J-1 visa sponsor (found on your DS-2019 form). 

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Bank Account Information       

To help safely manage your money while in the U.S, it is recommended you open a bank account with one of the local banks. There is a variety of services these banks can offer including checking and savings accounts. Many banks offer ‘Free Student Accounts’ which offer services with little or no fees. While opening the account, be sure to ask about any additional fees (minimum balance, opening fee or transfer fee for sending money home). Take time to discuss the different options available to you to ensure you’re getting the account which best suits your needs. DO NOT keep large sums of cash with you or at your home. You will need the following information when opening the account:

Unexpired passport with valid visa, DS-2019 and I-94
Social Security card (may be initially required) 
Opening deposit (cash or check)
Home address abroad
Email address

Some banks may be present at the J-1 Cafés, which are held Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Community Chapel on Laskin Road. You can also search the internet for other local banking options.