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Social Security Number

If you are an international student, almost nothing is possible without this; it is a vital piece of information. If you haven't already registered for social security and obtained a number, arrange to do so during your first week, if not your first day! Ask your mentor, or even a member of the Postdoc committee, to arrange to drive you to the nearest social security office, at 7859 Bustleton Avenue, taking your passport, your IAP-66 form, and your home address. Alternatively, there is also an office in center city at 801 Arch St. Approximately five working days after you have filed the information with the office, you can call to find out your social security number. A card with the number will be mailed to you. For further information, phone Social Security Administration (all locations) at 1-800-772-1213.

Finances

Bank Account

You will need your social security number before you can set up your bank account. Also take your passport, your official letter of employment, and proof of your address.

There are a number of banks within walking distance of the Cancer Center. The Center offers Credit Union services to staff members through the American Heritage Federal Credit Union.

Contact Human Resources for more information. The Credit Union visits the Center once a month. Check the Human Resources bulletin board for locations and dates.

If you want to send money abroad, contact your bank at home. It is often most cost-effective simply to mail a check to yourself back home to be paid into your own bank.

Credit and Debit Cards

You can obtain a VISA debit card from some banks and the Credit Union after 6 months. When you use a debit card, the money is immediately withdrawn from your bank account. This is not the same as a credit card; if you have a credit card you will be sent a bill to pay each month. It is very difficult to obtain a credit card in the US when you have no credit history here. It is, therefore, very useful to have a credit card before coming to the US. If you want to build up a credit history, essential if you want to take out a loan for a car or house etc., you will have to take steps to get a credit card from an American bank.

Accommodations

The Fox Chase Cancer Center provides subsidized housing to the postdoctoral and graduate student communities.

A number of people choose to live in Center City. Accommodations in the city are more expensive and about 30 minutes away by train. If you have your own car and choose to live downtown, you may also have to pay extra for a parking. Beyond Fox Chase, other neighborhoods within a 20-minute drive of the campus include Germantown, Mt. Airy, Andorra, Mayfair, and others.

Utilities

It will be easier to set up your utilities if you already have your social security number.

Learn more about phone, electric, gas, and broadband.

Taxes

Everyone in the US has to file state and federal tax return forms by April 15. You will receive a W2 statement (official notification of your earnings and amount of tax withheld) from Fox Chase in January, and you will need this in order to fill out your tax return forms.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) holds a seminar at Fox Chase in March for foreigners. They provide information on filling out your federal tax return forms. The US has tax treaties with many countries, which may effect your federal tax status. You can obtain your federal tax forms, and a comprehensive information booklet, the "US Tax Guide for Aliens" publication N519, at this seminar. For further information contact: IRS, Federal Building, 600 Arch St., Philadelphia. 1-800-829-1040, or www.irs.ustreas.gov.

As well as Federal tax, you will also be required to file State tax forms. These State tax return forms can be obtained from the State Building at Broad and Spring Garden Streets in Center City , or from local public libraries. The nearest one to FCCC is on Rhawn St., one block south of the railway station.

Visas

For visa information, contact Human Resources. It also helps to talk with other postdoctorals who have been through the procedures. If you do not leave the US during your stay, you will only need to renew your IAP-66 form. If you leave the country, matters become much more complex. You must be sure to obtain a valid visa before re-entering the US. For details about how to do this, check with the American Embassy in the country you are visiting about getting your visa renewed.

Identification cards

The legal drinking age in Pennsylvania is 21 years of age. Sometimes, you will be asked to show a photo ID with your birth date. Legally accepted forms of ID are your passport, a PA driver's license or a PA Identification Card. For information on obtaining a driver's license or a PA Identification Card, visit the PA Department of Motor Vehicles web site.

Benefits

All postdocs receive subsidized health and dental insurance. Questions about health and dental insurance should be directed to the Human Resources Department. If you're interested in applying for these benefits, contact the Human Resources Department at 215-728-2763, room C215, HumanResources@fccc.edu.