Practical Matters

Practical Matters


Students with F-1 or J-1 student visa status must obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) for employment (including on campus employment). In order to issue a Social Security number, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires evidence that you have received a formal offer of on-campus employment, or have been authorized for off-campus employment through Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training (OPT), Academic Training (J-1 visa), or Economic Hardship. A SSN is not required to register for classes, open a bank account, obtain a driver’s license, cell phone, credit card, insurance, or other “non-work” reasons.

SSA verifies your immigration documents and status with Immigration before issuing the SSN. Students who do not plan to work while studying are not eligible to receive an SSN.

Note for new students: SSA recommends that new students wait to apply for an SSN until after their SEVIS record has been activated by the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS).

  • Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card:
  • Valid passport with F-1/J-1 visa
  • Original I-20 or DS-2019
  • Original I-94 card or a printout of I-94 Arrival/Departure record from
  • Proof of employment eligibility:
    • F-1 on-campus employment: On-Campus Employer Verification Letter from Human Resources
    • F-1 off-campus employment:
      • CPT (internship/coop): Form I-20 page 2, work authorization indicated
      • OPT: Employment Authorization Card (EAD card)
      • Economic Hardship: Employment Authorization Card (EAD card)
    • J-1 on-campus employment: On-Campus Employer Verification Letter from Human Resources
    • J-1 off-campus employment (Academic Training): work authorization issued by OISS

Social Security office information is subject to change. For official location and hours, please refer to the Social Security Administration page:

Honolulu Location

300 Ala Moana Blvd

Rm 1-114 Fed Bldg

Honolulu, HI  96850


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8:30 am - 3:30 pm

Wednesday: 8:30 am - 11:30 am



Social Security Administration will mail your Social Security number and card to you in approximately 2-3 weeks.

The Social Security card has an annotation that says: “Not Valid for Employment” or “Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization.” This note means that the Social Security card by itself is not proof of work authorization. You must also show other documents (for example, your I-20 or DS-2019 with work authorization indicated or a letter verifying your on-campus employment) in order to prove that you have obtained proper work authorization.


International students in valid F-1 and J-1 status may apply for a driver’s license or Hawaiʻi state identification (ID) card at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). F-1 and J-1 students must pay the relevant fees and present required supporting documents to verify legal status in the U.S. Both driver’s license and state ID can be used as official identification and may be used when traveling within the U.S., proving your age (such as a 21-and-over venues), etc.

To avoid waiting in a queue, make an appointment with the DMV here:

New students, please note: The DMV may require that your SEVIS record be activated by OISS in order to receive a state ID or driver's license. New students should apply for driver’s license or state ID after they have been in the U.S. for 10 days and no earlier than 3 days after their SEVIS record has been activated by OISS.

Review the official Required Documents Guide here:

However, the DMV reserves the right to request additional documentation. We recommend that students bring:

  • Social Security Number (SSN) Card OR if you're NOT eligible for a SSN: go to the Social Security Administration (SSA) office and request an SSN ineligibility letter
  • Valid passport with F-1 or J-1 visa
  • Original I-20 (for F-1 visa holders) or DS-2019 (for J-1 visa holders)
  • Original I-94 card or a printout of I-94 Arrival/Departure record from
  • Employment Authorization (EAD) card if you are on Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • Two documents showing proof of Hawaiʻi residence address (rental agreement for 6 months or more, bank statement no more than two months old, utility bills, etc.). The documents needs to have your name and Hawaiʻi address on it

There are several driver's licensing, satellite city hall, and self-service DMV centers on Oahu. To find a location best suited to you, please review this website:

DRIVER’S LICENSE TESTING: Written and road testing is required for a first time Hawaiʻi license.

General information: (808) 532-7730

Road Test information: (808) 832-4117

For more information regarding driver’s license and state ID, please visit the official website of the City and County of Honolulu at

Note: If you have a valid foreign license and valid International Driving Permit, you may be able to drive in Hawaiʻi for up to one year from the date of your arrival in the U.S. The country must be listed a result of the United Nations Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva, 1949), and the Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American States. For complete listing of the recognized countries, please call AAA at 808-593-2221 or visit the AAA website:


According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), you may only enter into the United States within 30 days before the program start date listed on your Form I-20.

For example, if the program start date on your Form I-20 said August 24, 2020 then you could potentially enter the U.S.. on or after July 25, 2020.

Please report to OISS in person during normal business hours within 1-3 business days of your arrival in Honolulu.

We recommend that you check-in at OISS as soon as possible after arriving in Honolulu, Hawaii. U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement requires students to check-in by your program start date listed on your I-20, or you will legal status will be canceled for “no-show”.

Priority sessions are offered to students arriving the week before the program session date to minimize wait times and quicken to process. Please ensure to complete all steps and sign-up for these sessions once it is mentioned in your HPU student email. 

You may satisfy most of your immunization requirements from your home country. Please submit your immunization records in accordance with the instructions listed on the Registrar's health clearance instruction page. HPU has partnered with Med+Proctor for the submission of your immunization records.

 The State of Hawai`i requires all students who will be in Hawai`i for more than 5 months to take a TB test upon arrival. Registrar’s office automatically puts a hold on your account until your health requirements have been satisfied.

Orientation is mandatory. At HPU, we have a combined orientation for both domestic and international students. Part of the orientation program requires that all international students attend a mandatory immigration session which can be completed online. Instructions for the mandatory immigration session are sent to incoming students via email before the beginning of the semester.

Failure to attend a mandatory immigration session will result in a hold on your account.

All students must be enrolled in a full-time course load per the registration regulations listed here. In general, undergraduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits, while graduate students must enroll in a minimum of 9 credits in order to be considered "full-time". Failure to meet the requirements of a full-time enrolled student will result in a termination of your SEVIS record due to a failure to maintain status.

Tuition and other deadlines will always be posted on the current Academic Calendar. All questions or concerns regarding tuition, fee, deadlines, and payments, should be directed to the Business Office at 808-356-5272 or To avoid late fees, please pay your tuition in full on time.

Please click on the corresponding link below for more information regarding housing:

Waterfront Lofts at Aloha Tower

Hawai'i Loa Campus

Off Campus Housing

U-Pass is a reduced rate student bus pass. All full-time undergraduate and graduate students who are taking classes on the downtown campus/HLC campus will be assessed a transportation fee each semester.

You may get a job. However, international students are subjected to certain restrictions. International students are only eligible to work on-campus while attending classes and you must be in legal F-1/J-1 status to have employment. For more information on employment regulations, please click here.

The best way to find an on-campus job is to use Handshake – an online job search tool provided by the Career Services Center.

Unfortunately, international students do not qualify for federal financial aid.