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Living in the U.S.

In this section, we share details on obtaining a driver’s license, how the medical system works in the US, finding housing, transportation options and staying safe.

You must have a driver’s license and insurance to drive a car in the US.

It is not possible to obtain a driver’s license directly. You must first obtain a temporary instruction permit before obtaining a driver’s license (see below for more details). Only after obtaining a driver’s license are you allowed to drive a car by yourself.

How to Apply

1. Take a driver education course (recommended). You can search online for driving schools in the Dayton area.

2. Prepare required documentation. Take the following documentation with you to the written and driving tests:

  • Passport
  • U.S. visa
  • I-94
  • I-20 (F-1 students) or DS-2019 (J-1 students)
  • A recent bank, utility, cellphone, or credit card statement that clearly shows your name and current address

Some offices may ask for a Social Security Number (SSN). Only students with jobs have a SSN. If you do not have a SSN, just the documents above are satisfactory.

3. Take the written test and driving test. The written and driving tests are administered at the facility below. Read the Digest of Ohio Motor Laws to prepare for the written exam. When you are ready to take the written exam, go to:

6134 Chambersburg Rd.
Huber Heights, OH 45424
(937) 233-7211

Tue-Fri: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Sat: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

No appointment is necessary. Arrive at least one hour before closing. If you pass the written test, you will be issued a temporary instruction permit which authorizes you to drive only when a licensed driver is seated in the front seat. A temporary instruction permit does not allow you to drive alone. You must be accompanied by a licensed driver.

When you are ready to take the driving test, schedule an appointment online or by calling the number above.

Renewing while on OPT or in Grace Period

If you are in your 60-day grace period and are leaving the U.S. during that period, you will not be able to renew your driver’s license after your I-20 end date.

If you are transferring to another university or changing levels (example: from undergraduate to graduate), your driver’s license can be renewed with a new I-20.

If you have requested OPT, you can obtain a driver’s license with these documents:

Students with EAD:

  • EAD
  • SS card, if you have one
  • Proof of Ohio residence

Students with approved OPT but no EAD:

  • I-20 showing approved OPT 
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Proof of Ohio residence
  • Letter from employer dated within past 60 days showing current employment
  • SS card, if you have one

Students with requested OPT:

  • I-20 with requested OPT 
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Proof of Ohio residence
  • I-797
  • SS card, if you have one

Health Insurance

The US healthcare system is expensive and complicated. To protect your health, safety, and finances, UD requires international students to possess adequate health insurance coverage for themselves and their dependents (if any). Coverage must meet our standards, be active while you are enrolled (including vacations), and be verified regularly.

Your health insurance must meet these standards:

  • Cover at least a minimum of $250,000 per condition.
  • Have a deductible of $500 or less per individual.
  • Provide $50,000 or more for medical evacuation to your home country.
  • Provide $25,000 or more for repatriation (removal of remains after death) to your home country.
  • Be in effect for the entire time you are enrolled at UD, including vacations, for yourself and dependents.

To understand how health insurance works in the US, visit this website.

Seeking Medical Care

In the US, simple, minor and routine medical care is administered at a physician’s office, not at a hospital. Understanding where to go in which situations will ensure you receive the proper care and minimize your expenses.  

If you need to seek medical care, consider these options below:

Types of medical care

General practitioner/family physician

You can find a general practitioner/family physician to be your primary doctor and visit their offices for minor and routine care, such as physical evaluations, fever, sore throat, immunizations, cough, stomachaches, sprains, etc.  

UD Student Health Center

The UD Student Health Center provides care for current students. There is no charge for visits for undergraduates, Law and PA students.  Graduate and IEP students are charged for each visit.

UD Counseling Center

The UD Counseling Center provides mental health services to UD undergraduate and graduate students. 

Premier Student After Hours Clinic

If you need medical attention but the Student Health Center is closed, visit Premier Student After Hours Clinic.

Urgent Care

Urgent Care centers are for illnesses or injuries that are not life threatening but require quick attention. Many Urgent Care locations stay open after normal business hours and on weekends. Urgent Care centers do not provide long-term care and do not have operating rooms.

Emergency room

The hospital emergency room is for urgent or life-threatening illness or injury. If you are experiencing a life-threatening illness or injury, call 911 or visit the nearest ER. Miami Valley Hospital is the nearest hospital and emergency room to campus.

As you begin your housing search, consider the following:

  • Location – Living close to the university, public transportation, grocery stores, etc is desirable for most students but demand is high. If possible, visit the properties you’re interested in so you can assess the neighborhood’s safety and convenience. Familiarize yourself with UD’s campus so you know which areas to search. UD’s address is 300 College Park, Dayton OH 45469. Use this to refine your search.
  • Budget – Do a quick search of housing in your desired location using websites like,, or a comparable tool. See what kinds of options are available and the costs. 
  • Terms & Conditions – Review the lease carefully. What happens if you end the lease early? Will the landlord pay for utilities (water, gas, electricity) or are you responsible? When is rent due and how must it be submitted? What other responsibilities will you have as a tenant?

Below are the types of student accommodations you’ll likely choose from when studying in the USA.

On-Campus Housing

UD housing offers the best living spaces, a community environment, and award-winning residential curriculum. There are also more opportunities to meet people and make friends, less time spent traveling/from class, and more convenient access to university personnel and resources. An often overlooked benefit of living on campus is knowing exactly who is responsible for the housing and where to go when you need questions answered. When you stay off campus, you may not receive the same level of care as you would staying on campus.

Off-Campus Housing

Living off campus is often less expensive than living on campus. You may, however, have to take greater responsibility for how your apartment is managed and maintained. To get a better understanding of on and off campus housing, take a look at this overview

Because the search for off campus housing is specific to the needs of each individual student, and the relationship between the student and the landlord is a private business transaction, ISSS is unable to help you find housing. We do, however, recommend the following tools to aid your search: 

Housing in the US has become more expensive in recent years. To get an idea of what the typical price of rent is in Dayton, visit this website. Finding something less than $500 a month is unlikely.

Make contact with apartment complexes and landlords to understand the options. Visit the property and meet the landlord or property manager so you know who you’ll be working with. 

What to Prepare

You’ll likely need some or all of these documents when applying for off-campus housing:

  • Completed rental application. Each landlord will collect this information differently. Some may have you complete a paper form. Others may have you submit an application online.
  • Social Security Number (SSN). Most international students won’t have this. Only students who are working can obtain a SSN.
  • Passport or another form of identification
  • Previous month's bank statement
  • Scholarships/funding documents from your college or external organizations, if applicable.
  • A letter of employment if you work on-campus or off-campus, if applicable.

When it’s time to sign a lease, you’ll likely be asked to submit the first month’s rent plus a security deposit. The security deposit is often equal to one month’s rent. Some or all of  the deposit will be returned to you at the end of your lease. Review the lease carefully to understand how and when this money will be returned.

UD provides transportation around and near campus during the fall and spring semesters. 

There are two options:

  • Getting around campus. The UD shuttle is offered Monday - Friday 7:30a.m. to 6:30p.m.
  • Going shopping. UD has partnered with RTA to provide a Saturday Shopping Shuttle. This shuttle provides free transports to students on Saturdays from 11:15 am to 4:00 pm. Click here to see locations and schedules.

ISSS schedules trips to local shopping centers and other popular sites. Click here to see our current schedule.

Other transportation options

Transportation options

Bike rental

Bicycles can be rented for free from UD’s RecPlex.

Link Dayton rents bikes for a fee. They have multiple location throughout the area.

Public transportation

Dayton’s public bus system is called the Dayton RTA. The ‘RTA’ travels throughout the city of Dayton and to surrounding suburbs.


In addition to Lyft and Uber, Dayton has its own carpooling program. A carpool is an arrangement between 2 or more people to make a regular journey in a single vehicle. 

Car rental

Budget, Avis, and Enterprise are traditional car rental companies with offices in Dayton. An alternative is Turo, which allows you to rent cars from individuals.

Visit Public Safety’s website to learn more about crime prevention – the basics of personal safety, vehicular safety, bus rider safety, safety at home and around campus, and more.



While studying in the United States, make sure you understand how to recognize signs of scams that may put you at risk. We continue to see several scams targeting international students, usually through the forms of phone calls or social media messages. 

ISSS reminds students never to give out your personal or financial information to anyone other than a trusted source. No US government agency will ask for this information over the phone or email.

Don't be fooled! Review our warnings about scams below and be prepared.

Common scam types include:

  1. Phone calls from someone pretending to be a US government official or police officer.
  2. Fake job offers by phone or email

Scammers can be very threatening! They may say that students are in danger of being arrested, or that students' immigration status is at risk. You may even see scams using COVID-19 as a ploy.

How to protect yourself:
Be careful! Never give out your passport number, SSN, credit card number, or other personal information to someone who contacts you over the phone or email. Many scammers will ask you to purchase gift cards or send or transfer money. This is a sign of a scam.

U.S. immigration officials will always contact you by an official letter, sent by postal mail, or they may contact you in person with identification. Phone calls threatening immediate arrest unless you pay them money are a scam.

If you were scammed:
Visit the Federal Trade Commission's website for helpful advice.


International Student & Scholar Services

Rike Center
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1701