Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions about planning your travels to the United States? Kaplan Medical wants to make sure you have answers to your questions, so that you can better plan for your studies. Please read the following document carefully.

General U.S. Immigration Law


What is a non-immigrant visa?

A non-immigrant visa is an immigration document that permits a citizen of a foreign country to enter into the U.S. for a temporary period of time. It also determines what a non-immigrant is allowed to do while in the U.S. There are many different types of visas, depending on the reason for coming to the U.S. For instance, if your primary purpose for entering or staying in the U.S. is to study with Kaplan, you should obtain the F-1 (student) visa status. For more information about obtaining a visa, please visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html.


Does Kaplan issue F-1 visas?

No. All visas are issued by the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad. However, Kaplan is authorized to issue a Form I-20 A-B, or Certificate of Eligibility, in support of an individual's application for F1 visa status.


What is a Form I-20 and why is it important?

The Form I-20, also called a "Certificate of Eligibility", confirms that a non-immigrant has been admitted to a U.S. school that is approved by the U.S. government to enroll non-immigrants. The I-20 is issued by the Designated School Official (DSO) of the school at which the student intends to study and it is required by the U.S. government in order to obtain F-1 visa status. In addition, F-1 students within the U.S. must maintain a valid I-20 by studying full-time.


What is a DSO?

The DSO, or Designated School Official, is the school administrator responsible for issuing your I-20, managing your I-20 during your enrollment and advising you about important policies and procedures related to your F-1 visa status. As an F-1 student, you must regularly communicate with this individual to ensure you maintain legal status while in the U.S. Please note, the DSO assigned to process your application may be different than the DSO that you will work with during your studies at the center. In other words, you may have different DSOs pre- and post-arrival.


What is a Form I-94 and why is it important?

The I-94, also called the "Arrival/Departure Document", is a small white piece of paper that is attached to your passport/visa at the Port of Entry when you enter the U.S. It confirms successful entry into the U.S. The stamped date at the top-right corner reflects the day you entered the U.S. The handwritten or printed date below is the expiration date of your I-94. This expiration date is the date you must leave the U.S. As an F1 visa holder, your expiration date will show "Duration of Status" of "D/S," which means that you can stay in the U.S. as long as you are studying full-time as a student and possess a valid I-20. Most other visa holders receive a specific expiration date.


What is the SEVIS I-901 fee and when do I have to pay it?

The Department of Homeland Security requires that any/all individuals obtaining a new Form I-20 pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee. It is a processing fee for receiving F1 visa status from the government. Therefore, all prospective students applying for a visa at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate must pay this fee. Similarly, students applying for a change of visa status within the U.S. are required to pay it. Transfer students typically do not have to pay this fee, assuming they paid it when applying to the original school.

Please be advised that Kaplan is not involved in the administration or payment of this fee. It is the student's responsibility to make payment for this fee directly to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). For more information regarding this fee or if you would like to make payment, please go to: https://www.fmjfee.com/index.jhtml. Please note, when making payment online, remember to print a receipt of the transaction before leaving the website, since you will be required to submit a copy of the receipt to the government when requesting F1 visa status.


I'm having problems making payment of the SEVIS I-901 fee. What should I do? Can Kaplan help?

Since Kaplan is not responsible for the administration of this fee, Kaplan will not be able to assist students in troubleshooting the problems. However, if you're experiencing problems, you can contact the government directly by calling 212-620-3418.
I lost my SEVIS I-901 fee receipt. What do I do?

You should be able to reprint the SEVIS I-901 fee receipt from the SEVP website. Go to www.fmjfee.com. Click on "Check Status." Enter your SEVIS ID Number (found on your Form I-20), last name and date of birth. The following screen will confirm the status of your payment. You should print that screen for your records.


Can family members come with me to the U.S.?

By law, you can bring dependants with you, as long as they are a spouse or child under the age of 21. If you have such family members that you wish to accompany you, you must list them on your Kaplan application, so that we can issue a dependant I-20 for each dependant. Your dependants will need to use this I-20 to get an F2 visa at the Embassy/Consulate. Any/all other family relationships are not permitted as dependants. If you wish another individual to accompany you to the U.S., that individual will likely need to obtain a tourist (B1/B2) visa. Please check with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate to confirm.


I'm a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident. Are the application requirements the same for me?

The Form I-20, F1 visa and Form I-94 are required only for non-immigrant visa holders, not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Therefore, you will not be required to obtain these documents. You can enter the U.S. using your U.S. passport or green card. However, you will be required to submit all standard application documents to Kaplan Medical and you will be required to meet all application deadlines.


Is there a government website with more information?

Yes. Please visit http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/.

Kaplan Application Requirements


What paperwork does Kaplan require for admission?

All students are required to submit the following before they will receive an I-20 and/or letter of acceptance from Kaplan Medical:

• Kaplan Medical Application, with your signature (Note: Electronic signatures are not acceptable.)
• Copy of your scholarship letter that indicates your name as the recipient of the scholarship
• Proof of English Proficiency
• Proof of Academic Level (i.e., transcripts or copy of your degree from medical school)

Please note, additional paperwork may be required or requested by your DSO based on your individual enrollment or non-immigrant status at the time of application.


Can you still issue my letter of acceptance if I don't have my scholarship letter yet?

Unfortunately, Kaplan Medical cannot process your enrollment and/or issue your I-20 until you submit a valid scholarship letter. You should speak to your scholarship representative to expedite your scholarship letter if you feel you won't meet the Kaplan Medical application deadline.


What qualifies as proof of English language proficiency for admission purposes?

There are five ways to show English proficiency as follows:

1) A TOEFL score of at least 530 PBT/197 CBT/71 IBT.
2) A TOEIC score of at least 710.
3) An IELTS score of at least 5.0.
4) A copy of your degree or transcripts from an American college or university.
5) A letter from the college or university you attended outside the U.S., which states that English was the primary mode of instruction for the program you attended. Note: Transcripts or a degree can substitute for the letter as long as Kaplan Medical can verify online that the language of instruction was English.

Please note, all TOEFL, TOEIC and IELTS test scores must be dated within the past two (2) years. If your test scores are outdated, Kaplan cannot accept them and you may be required to retake the exams before receiving your I-20 from Kaplan. Additionally, a certificate of completion from an English language program within the U.S. does not qualify as proof of English proficiency.


What happens if I do not have the required application documents?

Unfortunately, Kaplan will not be able to issue an I-20 or letter of acceptance for you. Kaplan can postpone your start date in order to allow you time to complete the admission requirements.


Do application documents have to be translated into English?

All application documents must be legible and easy to read. The DSO reviewing your application must be able to ascertain all important information from the documentation. If your documents are in Arabic, you will likely be requested for an official English translation.


Am I required to show proof of health insurance with my application for admission?

You are not required to show proof of health insurance with your application for admission. However, all F1 visa students are required to show proof of health insurance within the U.S. by their start date. You will not be permitted to begin studies until you submit this documentation to your DSO. On your start date, if you cannot show proof of health insurance in the U.S., you will be required to purchase health insurance from Kaplan's independent provider at $85 per month of your enrollment.

Getting an F-1 Visa at the Embassy/Consulate


How do I get an F-1 visa?

You must first gain admission to Kaplan as outlined above. If eligible for admission, Kaplan will issue a Form I-20, which is a legal immigration document. Next, you'll have to pay the SEVIS I-901 fee online at www.fmjfee.com. This is a government fee you are responsible for paying before you get your visa. Once these steps are completed, you will need to visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate abroad to get an F-1 visa.


What Embassy do I visit?

In general, you are expected to visit the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in the country for which you hold citizenship (i.e. Saudi Arabia). If you are currently located in a different country, you should contact the closest U.S. Embassy to see if they can accept your application for an F-1 visa. To learn more about your local U.S. Embassy, visit http://usembassy.state.gov/.


What documents must I present at the Embassy/Consulate to get an F-1 visa?

For a list of items required by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate, including visa applications, visit the website for your local U.S. Embassy at http://usembassy.state.gov/. Generally speaking, you will be required to submit the following documents:

• Visa application(s) [DS-156 and DS-157 and/or DS-158 if applicable];
• Evidence that you have permanent residence in your home country which you have no intention of abandoning;
• A passport-sized photograph;
• A valid passport;
• Payment for a visa processing fee;
• All three (3) pages of a completed and signed Form I-20;
• Receipt of payment for the SEVIS I-901 fee;
• Proof (via your scholarship letter) that you is able to financially support yourself in the U.S.;
• For dependents only: Birth certificate or marriage license confirming relationship to student.

Please note, if you will bring dependants with you, the above documentation will be required for each dependant as well.


How long does it take to get a visa?

On average, it takes 2-4 months to get your visa, so you should make sure you schedule your appointment early to ensure the process is completed in time for your travel to the U.S. There are two things that determine how long it will take to get your visa:

1) Wait time to get your appointment scheduled: Wait time varies from Embassy to Embassy. Visit http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html to confirm how long it takes at your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate.
2) Processing time after your appointment: You will not walk out of the Embassy with your visa in hand. It takes the U.S. Embassy/Consulate time to process your visa. Some students can get their visa within a couple days. For most students, however, it takes several weeks.


For how long will my visa be valid?

Kaplan does not issue your visa and therefore cannot confirm for how long it will be valid. Instead, you should confirm this information with your local U.S. Embassy/Consulate at the time of your visa appointment. Before you leave the Embassy/Consulate, you should make sure:

1) Your visa is valid through the end of your Form I-20, so that your visa covers you through your entire enrollment.
2) Your visa allows multiple entries into the U.S., so that you can travel back home during your program, if needed.


Can Kaplan help me complete the government's application for a visa?

No. Students are solely responsible for completing all government documents and applications. If you have questions about your visa application, you should direct your questions to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate you will be visiting.


What is the likelihood that I will be approved an F-1 visa?

Kaplan does not issue visas and therefore cannot confirm the likelihood of approval. However, you should note, that visa issuance is not guaranteed. To increase the likelihood of getting approved a visa, you should make sure you prepare all required paperwork as listed above before your Embassy appointment and that you bring all required paperwork (and payments) to the Embassy appointment. This includes having a valid Kaplan I-20.


What happens if I am denied a visa?

If denied your visa, you should ask the Consular Officer the reason for denial before you leave the Embassy. You have the right to request the denial in writing as well. If the reason for denial was caused by a mistake that Kaplan made on your Form I-20, Kaplan can revise your I-20 and write a support letter, which you can use to revisit the Embassy in hopes of getting a visa during a second interview. If no reason or a different reason is stated, and/or if you fail to ask for a reason, Kaplan will likely be unable to assist you further. In most cases, the government's decision is final and there is little Kaplan can do to change their decision.

Traveling to the United States


When can I enter the U.S.?

You have up to 30 days before the start date listed on your I-20 to enter the U.S. Kaplan Medical strongly recommends you enter as early as possible to allow you time to get settled. For instance, if you need to find housing, open a bank account, find transportation, etc, use the 30 days prior to your start date. Remember, once you're in the U.S., you cannot postpone your start date to make these arrangements. Additionally, if you do not report to Kaplan by your start date, your I-20 will be “terminated” and you will fall out of legal status and have to leave the U.S. immediately.


Can I enter the U.S. after my start date?

If you travel to the U.S. after your start date, you will probably face problems at the Port of Entry, since it appears you failed to meet the requirement of reporting to the center by your start date. In fact, you could be denied entry to the U.S. for failing to start on time. To prevent these problems, you should make sure you meet all deadlines Kaplan Medical has provided to you to ensure you don't have to postpone. If you are unable to make your initial start date, you should contact the International Admissions Department and ask that we postpone your start date. If space is available in another program, we will update your enrollment details and mail a revised Form I-20 to you indicating the new start date.


What documents will I need to show at the Port of Entry when entering the U.S.?

In general, you must show the Port of Entry Officer the following documents. If these documents are missing or incomplete, you may be detained, questioned or denied entry altogether.

• A valid (non-expired) passport.
• A valid (non-expired) F-1 visa with the name of the center you will be attending printed at the bottom. The name of the school on the visa should match the name of the school on the I-20.
• All three pages of your Form I-20 signed by you and the school's DSO.

If you are traveling with dependants, such as a spouse or child, each dependant must have the following documents:

• A valid (non-expired) passport.
• A valid (non-expired) F-2 (dependant) visa.
• All three pages of the dependant's Form I-20. The I-20 must be signed by you and the Kaplan DSO. Dependants do not sign the Form I-20.


What happens at the Port of Entry?

Please visit http://www.ice.gov/sevis/students/index.htm and review the document called “What a Student Can Expect.” This document discusses what you will need to do at the Port of Entry.


What should I check for when I receive my I-94 at the Port of Entry?

The I-94, also called the “Arrival/Departure Document”, is a small white piece of paper that you will receive when you enter the U.S. It will be attached to your passport/visa at the Port of Entry and it confirms successful entry into the U.S. The Port of Entry Officer will hand-write an expiration date on the I-94, which confirms how long you can legally stay in the U.S. Before leaving the Port of Entry or airport, make sure your I-94 is marked with F1 visa status and that it says “Duration of Status” or “D/S.” All F-1 visa holders should get “D/S.” This means you are able to stay in the U.S. as long as you are maintaining valid F-1 status by studying full-time at a Department of Homeland Security approved school. (Please note, you can only study with Kaplan as long as permitted by the expiration of your I-20.) If your I-94 is marked with a different expiration date and/or a different visa type, you should question the Port of Entry Officer before you leave the airport, since you may face problems with your legal status after entry if you do not get “D/S.” Unfortunately, Kaplan will not be able to fix these types of mistakes for you, so it's important to catch these mistakes before you leave the Port of Entry.


What is Form I-515A and what do I need to do with it if I am given one at the Port of Entry?

Form I-515A is a government form given to some travelers who are missing documentation required for entry to the U.S. If you are given this form by a Port of Entry Officer, you must ask what documentation you are missing. Once confirmed, you will be required to submit that documentation to the government within 30 days after entry. If you do not meet this deadline, you will fall out of legal status and will have to leave the U.S. immediately. If you are given this form, please speak to the DSO at your Kaplan center immediately after entry. Kaplan can assist you in completing the documentation. Make sure you inform your center DSO about this documentation sooner rather than later to ensure we have enough time to help you process the paperwork. It can take days or weeks to obtain the appropriate paperwork, so don't cut the deadline close.


After arriving to the U.S., when do I need to start studies?

You are required to arrive at the Kaplan Medical center as listed on your I-20 and begin full-time studies no later than the start date listed on your I-20. If you do not meet this requirement, your I-20 will be terminated and you will fall out of legal status. Should this happen, you will be required to leave the U.S. immediately. Remember, once you are in the U.S., you are not permitted to postpone your start date. If you arrive to the U.S. early and want to begin studies before your start date, you are welcome to do so. Just visit the center and let them know you want to start sooner.


Is there anything else I need to do after arriving to the U.S.?

Yes. Don't forget to contact your Advisor at the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) and request your Financial Guarantee (FG) as soon as you arrive to the U.S. When you report to the center, you will be required to submit your Financial Guarantee to complete your enrollment. It can take up to a couple weeks to receive your FG, so it's important to request this document as soon as you arrive to the U.S. If Kaplan Medical does not receive your FG by your start date, you may have delays in beginning studies, which can negatively impact your legal status.


What do I need to bring with me to the center on my first day?

Please bring the following documents:

1) Your Form I-20 (stamped by the Port of Entry) and the Form I-20 for any dependants who traveled with you
2) Your Passport and the Passports of any dependants who traveled with you
3) Your F-1 Visa and the Visas of any dependants who traveled with you
4) Your I-94 and the I-94s of any dependants who traveled with you
5) Your Financial Guarantee from SACM
6) Proof of Health Insurance
7) Your local US address, phone number and email address

Academic and Program Information


What will I be studying and can I select a different program of study?

CompletePrep is the preferred course by both the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) because:

• It includes the most comprehensive preparation for the USMLE exam, thereby helping to ensure you receive a competitive score on the USMLE.
• It includes opportunities for observorships, which will allow you to gain experience in a US clinical environment, as well as opportunities to obtain letters of reference – both of which are important on the application for medical residency.
• It includes convenient access to Step 2 CS preparation, which will give you hands-on practice to ensure you pass the exam.

For more information about the CompletePrep program, please visit /KSA/course-information.html.

Since CompletePrep is the best program to help you achieve success on the USMLE exam, enrollment in other programs is rare. However, if you have already passed one of the USMLE exams and therefore do not need to study for all parts of the exam, you will likely be approved for another program.


Do I have to start studies on one of the published start dates?

Yes. The CompletePrep program has scheduled start dates based on when lectures begin. You must start when the program begins.


Can I study in another city besides Newark NJ, Washington DC or Chicago IL?

We understand you may be interested in other locations, but these locations are the best options for you, so you should plan to make living arrangements in one of these locations. Firstly, CompletePrep is only offered at Chicago, Washington, DC and Newark. Furthermore, laws in some states make it nearly impossible for International Medical Graduates to obtain hands-on clinical experience. Without such experience, it becomes difficult to obtain a letter of recommendation from US physicians who are familiar with your skills and abilities within a clinical context. Without the letter of recommendation, it is more difficult to obtain a residency. For this reason, we strongly recommend participating in the CompletePrep program, as it will provide you with more hands-on clinical experience and is more academically rigorous than what we can offer you in any of our centers.


Can I study Step 2 before Step 1? In what order should I take my exams?

Kaplan Medical has found that International Medical Graduates are most successful when they begin their studies with Step 1 since Step 1 covers the basic sciences, which is the foundation for Step 2, which is the application of the sciences to demonstrate clinical knowledge. As such, the CompletePrep program begins with Step 1. After completing Step 1, you can begin studies in Step 2 CK. You can take Step 2 CS at any time during your studies with Kaplan. Upon arriving at the center, you will meet with a Medical Advisor to create a study plan, so that you know when and how to study appropriately. We're confident this plan will help you achieve a competitive score on the USMLE.


For how long will my I-20 be valid? For how long can I study with Kaplan?

When enrolling in USMLE CompletePrep, you will receive an I-20 that is valid for up to 18 months. You will be expected to complete Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS within these 18 months.

Please note, your initial CompletePrep enrollment will be 12 months in length. In order to continue to study through the 18 months, you will need approval from the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission (SACM) to extend your studies. If approved, you must continue to maintain full-time studies. In other words, you are not permitted to stay in the U.S. through the end of your I-20 unless 1) you have an enrollment approved by SACM and 2) you are studying full-time at the center. If you complete your studies before your I-20 expiration date and/or you do not receive approval for an extension, your DSO will shorten your I-20 to reflect your early end date. You will then be permitted 60 calendar days to transfer-out to a non-Kaplan school or depart the U.S. If you do not transfer or depart the U.S. within this 60 day period, you will fall out of legal status due to overstay.


Can my I-20 be extended if I need more time to study?

Your I-20 can be extended if you are progressing to the next USMLE Step and you have maintained legal status. For instance, after completing USMLE CompletePrep (which includes Step 1, Step 2 CK and Step 2 CS), your I-20 can be extended for continued studies in Step 3. Please note: In order to receive an extension for Step 3, you must first show passing scores on Step 1 and Step 2 CK. You should plan to take your exams at least 6 weeks before your Step 3 start date to ensure you receive passing scores on time. You will also need to receive approval and continued scholarship payment from SACM to continue or extend studies with Kaplan Medical.

However, an extension to repeat Step 1 or Step 2 will generally not be permitted. I-20 extensions, so that you can repeat the same course, are rare and require you to meet very specific criteria. You should not expect to receive I-20 extensions to repeat curriculum. Given this, it is important that you pace yourself during your studies to ensure you meet your academic goals in a timely manner and no later than your I-20 expiration date. You should plan to meet regularly with your Medical Advisor at the center to create and manage a study plan, which will help you meet important deadlines and progress academically. Please note, all requests for I-20 extensions must be made to your Kaplan Medical DSO and SACM before your last day of study. I-20 extensions will not be granted if requested after your last day of study. There are no exceptions to this policy.

Student Life


What are the study requirements at Kaplan?

You will be required to study at the Kaplan center that issued your I-20 at least 22 hours per week, during each week of your enrollment(s). Based on the study plan created for you by your Medical Advisor, you may be encouraged to study for more hours. In addition, you will be required to attend any/all Guided Study Sessions that are included with your program. You will learn more about Kaplan's attendance requirements on your first day of class.


What happens if I do not study 22 hours per week and/or fail to meet the attendance policy?

If you do not meet Kaplan's full-time study requirements, you risk falling out of legal status with the following consequences:

• Your I-20 will be terminated.
• You will no longer be eligible to study with Kaplan.
• You and your dependants will be required to leave the U.S. immediately after termination.


During my enrollment with Kaplan, can I take time off for vacation or travel?

If you want to travel or take time off while remaining in the United States, you will need to qualify for an authorized vacation. In order to qualify for vacation, you must study with Kaplan for nine months, be currently enrolled and registered for classes and you must be in good academic standing with good attendance. Additionally, all vacation requests must be pre-approved by the center DSO and SACM. Your vacation will not be authorized unless it is first approved by your center DSO and SACM. This is true even for emergency situations.

If you want to travel outside the U.S., including weekend trips to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean islands, you must request a leave of absence from your center DSO. To qualify, you must be currently enrolled and registered in classes and you must be in good standing with good attendance. Similar to vacation, all leave of absence requests must be pre-approved by the center DSO and SACM. Your leave will not be authorized unless it is first approved by your center DSO and SACM. This is true even for emergency situations.

Please note, if you take time off before your request is approved by your DSO, the missed study time will not be credited and your attendance may be negatively impacted. When this happens, you risk being "terminated" in SEVIS and falling out of status.

Can I work while studying at Kaplan?

As an F-1 visa student, your primary purpose for staying in the U.S. must be full-time study, so that you can achieve your academic and/or career goals. Therefore, the U.S. government restricts your ability to work to the following situations only:

On-Campus, Part-Time Employment: You may work at the Kaplan center that issued your I-20 for no more than 20 hours per week. This is an option only if there is a position available and you are the most qualified candidate for that position. Please note, there is a limited number of these positions at most Kaplan centers. Therefore, this type of employment is rare.

Off-Campus Employment Due to Financial Hardship: If you have studied for nine (9) months and can demonstrate in writing that you are experiencing an unforeseen financial hardship that arose after admission to Kaplan, you may qualify for this type of employment. This type of employment requires both DSO and government approval before you begin work. If you think you qualify, please speak to your center DSO for more information.

Please note, if you are found to be working without government approval and/or in a position not listed above, your employment will be considered unauthorized employment. This will result in immediate termination of your I-20 in SEVIS. If this occurs, you will no longer be eligible to study with Kaplan and must leave the U.S. immediately.


Can I participate in an observorship or clerkship while studying with Kaplan?

Yes, observorships are included in the CompletePrep program. Please note, however, the experience must not be paid or compensated in any way. Please remember that as an F1 visa student, you are responsible for completing 22 hours of study each week at the Kaplan center that issued your I-20, even during weeks when you are participating in your observorship. Participation in an observorship does not replace or eliminate your need to study at the Kaplan center that issued your I-20. If you are not able to complete your observorship while also studying full-time, you should plan on completing your observorship during your authorized vacation period. Talk to your DSO and Medical Advisor to plan accordingly.


Does Kaplan offer student housing?

Unfortunately, student housing is not a service provided by Kaplan. However, if you are having a difficult time identifying appropriate living arrangements, we may be able to provide recommendations or additional information. However, you are solely responsible for making living arrangements.


Does Kaplan offer daycare services?

Kaplan does not provide this service. Students are solely responsible for making these arrangements independently of Kaplan.


How can I get a Social Security Number?

Unfortunately, due to a ruling issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in October 2004, F-1 students are no longer eligible to receive a social security number, unless they have a valid offer of employment. Should you be offered on-campus employment through Kaplan or be approved by the government for off-campus employment, your center DSO will advise you on where to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). For most Kaplan students, employment opportunities are limited and therefore, Kaplan students should understand that social security numbers will not be issued for them. If you are experiencing difficulties due to the lack of a SSN, you should ask the service requesting the SSN for alternate arrangements. For instance, if a bank is requesting a SSN, you should ask the bank to create an alternate identification number for you. An agency should be able to make alternate arrangement since you are not legally permitted to obtain a SSN. If the agency refuses to make an alternate arrangement, you should expand your search. For instance, try community banks or credit unions which may be more flexible in their policies compared to larger national banks.


How can I open up a bank account in the U.S.?

Each bank has different processes and policies, so you should do your research before selecting a bank. Remember, many banks have monthly service fees, so make sure you ask many questions to understand the services and conditions. Once you have identified a bank that meets your needs, you will need to visit a local branch to open an account. You will likely be asked for proof of U.S. residency. Therefore, you should be prepared to show your Form I-20, visa and Form I-94 to verify your F1 visa status. A letter from Kaplan confirming your enrollment dates and non-immigrant status is also helpful. Please ask your center DSO for this information. Typically, banks also require two utility bills with a U.S. address on it to confirm a local mailing address. Therefore, you may not be able to open a U.S. bank account immediately after arriving to the U.S.


How do I obtain a U.S. driver's license?

Driver's licenses are managed by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in each state. Therefore, the first step is to research where your local DMV office is located by visiting www.dmv.org. Requirements, costs and processes vary by state, so make sure you do plenty of research in your area. In most cases, DMVs will require that you show proof that you live in the state, which can often be done through lease agreements, current utility bills and/or an enrollment confirmation letter from your school. If you are requested for such a letter, please ask your center DSO.


Where can I get additional information about the city in which I will be living?

Kaplan Medical has created a welcome package for you, specific to each center location. These welcome packages contain useful information about housing options, ground transportation, recreational activities, banks, etc.

For more information about studying in Chicago, Newark, and Washington DC, download the information packages on our study locations page.

Hear it from our students:

“Well-organized course with excellent teaching staff who helped me in preparing for my exams. Very comfortable center with warm, friendly environment for studying. I highly recommend Kaplan to everyone who wants to get a higher score.’

- Abdulraheem Alshangiti, New Jersey Penn Station Center