Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA
 

Foreign Applicants

Obtaining Your Visa
Longer-term Temporary Housing
International Banking Transactions
International/California Driver's License
Foreign Student Health Insurance Policy
Obtaining a Social Security Number

Special Help with Housing

Transfer or Visiting Applicants

Information for Applicants from Foreign Institutions

In addition to the Application for Admission and application fee, registering with the LSDAS and taking the LSAT, J.D. applicants who have earned undergraduate degrees from academic institutions outside the United States or Canada must have their foreign transcripts evaluated by a credentials evaluation service. (LL.M. applicants - see Foreign Applicant specifics here.)

The one exception to this requirement is if the foreign education was completed through a study abroad, consortium or exchange program sponsored by a U.S. or Canadian institution, and the work is clearly indicated as such on the home campus transcript.

For information on completing this requirement, contact the service providers directly.

  • A complete list of Credential Evaluation Services approved by the California Committee of Bar Examiners (PDF)


 

Obtaining Your Visa

If you are a non-immigrant student, your stay in the United States will require compliance with the rules and regulations of the U.S. Government. These rules and regulations are complex and subject to change. Helpful information is available at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' website, the U.S. Department of State's page regarding U.S. visa policy and procedures; and the U.S. Network for Education Information. Internet research will be a valuable resource for the most up-to-date, first-hand information on the appropriate process for your particular situation. Please understand that it is your responsibility to attain current, valid procedural information regarding your specific visa requirements.

Planning Ahead

To allow time to overcome any unforeseen problems that might arise, be sure to have a valid passport and apply for your visa several weeks before you plan to travel. It is important to remember that applying early and providing the requested documents does not guarantee that you will receive a visa. Also, because each student’s personal and academic situation is different, two students applying for the same type of visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different documents.

The Registration and Academic Records Office can often answer Visa questions. 


Longer-term Temporary Housing

If you find the need to look for longer-term temporary housing than is included in Southwestern's detailed housing information, you may find these options helpful.


International Banking Transactions

If you need to transfer money from abroad, Travelex Global Payments is one option to assist in exchanging funds. They convert nearly any foreign currency into U.S. dollars and offer a competitive exchange rate regardless of the amount. Southwestern does not specifically endorse this vendor – it is listed only as an example of a service provider that you may wish to explore. Please consult their website for more information, and contact them directly to determine whether you can benefit from their services.

  • Beverly Hills Location
    9595 Wilshire Blvd.
    Beverly Hills, CA 90212
  • West Hollywood Location
    8901 Samta Monica Blvd.
    West Hollywood, CA 90069
  • Glendale Location
    3243 Glendale Galleria
    Glendale, CA 91210
  • Torrance Location
    21712 Hawthorne Blvd., Suite 301
    Torrance, CA 90503

International students must remember that all law school tuition and fees are required to be paid in U.S. dollars, by check or U.S. money order (payable to Southwestern Law School). Checks must be drawn from U.S. bank accounts or from banks that have branches in the U.S. No money orders in non-U.S. currency will be accepted. Click here for more information on banking.


International/California Driver's License

If you plan to rent or purchase a car in Los Angeles, you should bring an international driver's license with you, as it takes at least a few weeks to get a California driver's license. Please be aware that most banks or stores will not accept an international driver's license as an identification card. However, your passport will work fine for this purpose.

Obtaining a California Driver's License

A passport, visa stamp and I-20 Form will allow a foreign student to take the written and driver's test (requirements may vary for students from Canada and Bermuda). To avoid long lines at the DMV, you can make an appointment online or over the phone.

Please note: The International Driver's Permit/License (IDP) obtained from the DMV does not authorize a foreign student to drive in the state of California. For information on obtaining a driver's license, visit or contact the Registration and Academic Records Office.


Foreign Student Health Insurance Policy

It is mandatory for foreign students to have health insurance while attending Southwestern.


Obtaining a Social Security Number (SSN)

If you are temporarily in the U.S. as a student, you DO NOT need a Social Security number or card to register for or attend Southwestern.

If you chose to obtain a SSN, you must present the following items at a local Social Security Office:

  • I-20 Form as proof of lawful alien status
  • documentation from the Principal Designated School Official (PDSO) at Southwestern stating your need for the SSN*
  • at least two original or notarized documents (not photocopies) as proof of age and identity, which can include your birth certificate or passport (and one additional piece of documentation with your name and photograph, such as a passport or a school identification card).

*One such example is a job offer and a letter from the PDSO in Southwestern's Registrations and Academic Affairs Office.

The Social Security Administration will verify your documents before they issue a Social Security card; this process can take one to four weeks. There is no charge to get a Social Security card; it is a free government service. Please contact the Social Security Administration (www.ssa.gov) for more information and to ensure requirements and procedures have not changed.

Social Security Administration (SSA)
(800) 772-1213

Customer Services Representatives can be reached Monday - Friday, 7 am to 7 pm, EST. If you have a touch-tone phone, recorded information and services are available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.

Office Hours for all Social Security Offices are Monday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm:

  • SSA - Wilshire Center
    4000 Wilshire Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90010
  • SSA - Hollywood
    1122 Vine St.
    Hollywood, CA 90038
  • SSA - West L.A.
    11500 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 300
    Los Angeles, CA 90064
  • SSA - Glendale
    710 S. Central Avenue
    Suite 320
    Glendale, CA 91204
  • SSA - Torrance
    22600 Crenshaw Blvd.
    Torrance, CA 90505