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, or Economic Hardship. A SSN is not required to register for classes, opening 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 apply for SSN after they have been in the U.S. for 10 days and no earlier than 3 days after SEVIS record has been activated by the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS).

Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5 (available at a SSA office or online at

Note: Apply no earlier than 30 days before your scheduled employment start date.

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

The Social Security card is noted “Not Valid for Employment” or “Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization.”   It means that on its own (without other documents verifying employment eligibility), you do not have authorization to work and an employer should not hire you.


The Social Security Administration (SSA) office is located at:

300 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 1-114

Honolulu, HI 96850

Phone: 1-800-772-1213



Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 8:30AM – 2:30PM

Wednesday 8:30AM – 11:30AM


Bus instruction to SSA Office from downtown:

  • Board the #1 or #2 bus at Hotel & Bishop Streets (in front of Longs/Ross’s).
  • Get off the bus at the corner of Punchbowl and King Streets.
  • Walk on Punchbowl Street towards the ocean until you reach the Prince Kuhio Federal Building (right side of the street).

  • 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 3, signed work authorization
  • 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 ISS office


International students in valid F-1 and J-1 status may apply for a driver’s license or Hawaii identification (ID) card at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). F-1 and J-1 students must present required supporting documents to verify legal status in the U.S. and fees apply. Both driver’s license and Hawaii State ID serves as official identification and may be used when traveling domestic, proving your age (such as a 21-and-over venues), etc. SEVIS record must be activated by International Student Services (ISS). New students should apply for driver’s license or Hawaii State ID after they have been in the U.S. for 10 days and no earlier than 3 days after SEVIS record has been activated by ISS.


Driver’s License Testing: Written and road testing is required for a first time Hawaii 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 drive in Hawaii 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:


Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office is located at:

925 Dillingham Blvd.

Honolulu, HI 96817

Hours: Monday through Friday 8:00AM – 4:00PM

Phone: 808-532-7730


Bus instruction to DMV Office from downtown:

  • Board the #9 at Hotel & Bishop St  (in front of Longs/Ross’s) or #40, #42, #43, #52, #62, or the C bus at South Beretania Street + Pali Hwy + Bishop St (in front of Honda).
  • Get off the bus at Dillingham Blvd and Alakawa St (Honolulu Community College/across from Costco parking).
  • Walk to Honolulu DMV office across the street and to the right about 100 ft on Dillingham (about 3 minutes).

  • Obtain a Social Security number (SSN). If NOT eligible for a SSN, go to the Social Security Administration (SSA) office and request that a “not-eligible verification letter” be faxed to the DMV office.
  • Valid passport with F-1/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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii address on it. For a complete list of acceptable documents, see


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

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 cancelled for “no-show”.

You may satisfy your MMR requirements at home. Please bring proof or your immunization with you and submit it to the Registrar’s office.


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 are transitioning towards having a combined orientation for both Domestic and International students. Part of the orientation program requires that all international students attend a mandatory immigration session.

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

Failure to meet the requirements of a full-time enrolled student will result in a termination of your SEVIS record due to “failure to maintain status”.


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 eligible to work on-campus while attending classes. You must be in legal F-1/J-1 status to have employment. For more information on employment regulations, please click here.

To find an on-campus job, the best way is to use HPU Connect – an online job search tool provided by the Career Services Center.

Unfortunately, international students Do Not qualify for federal aid.