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International Student Services: FAQ & Resources

  • International Student Services: FAQ & Resources

    The International Student Services office is dedicated to assisting international students academically and personally while studying at SUNY Erie. Services that the department offer are U.S. immigration advisement and compliance, academic advisement, cultural adjustment, Optional Practical Training (OPT), support documentation and referrals.

  • FAQ

    1. How do I apply for a New York State driver license?

      You may apply for a temporary driver's license once you are in the United States. You will need a letter from us, a letter from the Social Security Office stating that you are ineligible for a social security number, your passport, your I-20, and 6 points of proof of name. The best office to go to is the Town of Tonawanda, Sheridan Plaza, 2309 Eggert Road (corner of Sheridan Drive). Information can be found at http://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/get-driver-license.

      You will need to take a written test, take an approved five-hour driving class (available at http://westerncentralny.aaa.com) and then take a driving test.

      Using your cell phone and texting while driving is against the law in New York State.
      For more information visit:

      Buckle up! Per New York State law, you must wear your seat belt.
      For more information, visit:

      Tips on preparing for your road test:

      Helpful information:
      Driving in New York
      If You are Stopped by the Police
    2. How do I get a transcript?

      All information and necessary forms needed for requesting a transcript can be found at https://www.ecc.edu/transcripts-records/.
    3. How do I get extra help in a course?

      You can get extra help by going to one of the tutoring labs located on campus.
    4. How do I transfer from SUNY Erie?

    5. What does the SUNY Erie International Student health insurance cover?

      Your insurance card was emailed to you at the beginning of the semester. You should carry this with you at all times. It has your insurance ID and important information. If you did not receive your card, contact International Student Services Office.

      SUNY Erie International Student Insurance Brochure
    6. What is the difference between an Emergency Room and an Urgent Care Center?

      When to go to the Emergency Room:
      Continuous chest pain: This may be a sign that something serious is happening to your body and you may need immediate attention. Also, if you are having hard time breathing, feeling sick and have a burning feeling along with these chest pains for a long period of time, find the closest emergency room as soon as possible.

      Broken bones: Breaking bones can be very painful and if not taken care of immediately can be dangerous to the rest of your body. For immediate attention, the emergency room is the safest choice.

      Severe stomach pain: If you are experiencing a painful stomach ache that goes on longer than usual, get to the emergency room as soon as possible. Severe stomach pain can be related to infections, kidney stone problems, or food poisoning. 

      Contusions, head trauma or severe cuts: Injuries to your head are serious and should be taken seriously. This may cause you to experience seizures, losing your consciousness and repeatedly vomiting. If you are badly bruised and/or bleeding heavily and you are unable to stop it, it would be best to go tan an emergency room to get immediate attention.

      Suddenly dizzy or disorientated: This may be a sign of seizure, dehydration or something more serious.

      When to use an Urgent Care Center:
      These are medical facilities that can deal with numerous conditions that need to be treated immediately but are not an emergency or life threatening. Here are the top 5 situations where you should go to the urgent care rather than the emergency room.

      Rash: This may be a sign that there is inflammation to the skin. This can be caused by chemicals, soaps or even cosmetics dyes in clothing that are in contact with the skin. If rash starts to get worse or swells and becomes red, immediate medical attention may be required so that your condition does not get worse.

      Bleeding or Cuts
      : If you get injured and you are bleeding (not heavily) and may require stitches, going to an urgent care is cheaper than going to the emergency room. They will be able to provide the same service as if you went to the ER.

      Eye irritation and redness: There are many things that can cause your eye to become red and irritated. They range from allergies, dry eyes to computer vision syndrome (caused by staring at a computer screen too long). If your eye irritation and redness goes on longer than normal, get to an urgent care closest to you.

      Moderate back pain: If you are experiencing these kinds of pains for at least 2 weeks, you may want to see a doctor soon to see what's causing the problem. This may be a sign that something more serious may be happening in your body. 

      Fever: This is usually linked to an infection in the ear, lungs, or throat. It is not normally considered to be a dangerous condition and you can get treated properly at an urgent care.
    7. Where can I find an on-campus job?

    8. Where can I learn more about studying in the U.S.?

      You can find information about being an international student and studying in the U.S. by visiting Study in the States.
    9. Where do I find information about filing taxes?

    10. Where do I find information on getting a Social Security Number?

      You can find information on obtaining a Social Security Number by going to https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10181.pdf
    11. Where is a directory of all faculty and staff at SUNY Erie?

      You can find a complete listing of all faculty and staff at the college by going to helpdesk.ecc.edu/PhoneDirectory.
    12. Is there a club for International Students?

  • How Do I Stay in F-1 Status?

    • ▸ Register full time for a minimum of 12 credits every Fall and Spring semester. You may not skip a semester.

    • ▸ Register for at least 9 credit hours of on-campus seated classes.

    • ▸ Remember that hybrid classes (HN1, HC1, etc.) count for ½ the credit hours towards on-campus seated classes.

    • ▸ Attend ALL of your classes. You may be dropped from a class if you do not attend.

    • ▸ Do not drop or withdraw from a class if it will put you under the 12 credit hour requirement.

    • ▸ Maintain academic progress. If you are put on academic probation, see the International Student Services Office for advisement.

    • ▸ Always make sure that your I-20 is current and that it has not expired.

    • ▸ If you change your academic program, contact International Student Services for a new I-20.

    • ▸ Have page 2 of your I-20 endorsed by a Designated School Official (DSO) each year prior to the day of the original or last signature, especially if you travel.

    • ▸ If you move, notify International Student Services within 10 days.

    • ▸ Do not work without permission from International Student Services.

    • ▸ If you plan on leaving SUNY Erie permanently, discuss it with a DSO first.

    • ▸ Visit International Student Services if you have any problems, issues, concerns or questions.

  • Has Your Personal Information Changed?

    Throughout your stay at SUNY Erie we expect that you will have changes to your personal information. In order to stay in status these changes need to be reported to the International Student Services Office within 10 days so that we can update the registrar's office and SEVIS. Examples of information changes that need to be updated include:

    ▸ Name Change – Through marriage, divorce or court order
    ▸ Address Change – When you move to a new home
    ▸ Phone Number
    ▸ Social Security Number – If you receive a social security number to work in the U.S.

    The easiest way to update the International Student Services Office is to fill out the Data Change Form. When you have filled out the form you may bring it to the International Student Services office.