Life in New Jersey


If you are staying in the U.S. for more than one semester, opening a U.S. bank account can be convenient.  You can transfer funds from your home bank to pay for your overall expenses.

How to open a bank account in the U.S.

Please bring the following documents with you at the of your visit:

  • A valid passport and/or other photo identification
  • Form I-20/DS-2019 (most recent)
  • Form I-94 (most recent)
  • Proof of current living/mailing address
  • Some money for initial deposit (anywhere from $25 to $1,500)
  • Social Security Number (optional)

Banks usually ask their clients to provide their Social Security Number (SSN) to report their incomes to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS). Generally, you do not need a SSN to open a bank account. 

Note: banks are closed on Sundays and federal holidays and open with reduced hours on Saturday morning. 

If you need to wire transfer funds from your home bank to your U.S. bank, please see a bank representative or visit their official websites for instructions and services charges about receiving/sending funds. You may also have the option to wire funds to Stockton University to pay your tuition & institutional fees.  Please visit the Bursar's office or our office for instructions. 

Banks in the area:

Wells Fargo

Route 30 and, S Pomona Rd, Galloway, NJ 08240

Stockton Campus Center lower level

TD Bank

347 E Jimmie Leeds Rd, Galloway, NJ 08205

OceanFirst Bank

320 E Jimmie Leeds Rd, Galloway, NJ 08205

PNC Bank

401 S Pitney Rd, Galloway, NJ 08205

When you made a decision on a bank, think about the following:

  • Are the bank operation hours and branch/ATM* locations convenient for you?
    *Most of the time, ATMs outside of your bank's network will charge you a transaction fee (from $1 to $5).
  • Is there a student account (or any special offers)? 
  • Is there any monthly services fee?  If yes, how much?
  • What are the cost for (international) wire transfer?

Debit card and banking apps: Once you have a bank account in the U.S. you can use your debit card (linked to your account) for in-store or online shopping.  You can also link your account to e-payment apps such as Venmo and Paypal to make a payment or transfer money to your friends.

Checks: You bank will charge you a fee for ordering checkbooks. Please ask your bank representative or go to your online banking account for details.

Common denominations of U.S. Dollar

Paper money: $1, $2 (rarely used), $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 (see examples here)

Coins: 1 cent (penny), 5 cents (nickel), 10 cents (dime) and 25 cents (quarter). 50 cents and the dollar coins exist, but are not frequently used except as change from vending machines. (see examples here)

See Frequently Asked Questions from NJMVC during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency before you go to your local MVC/DMV.

You can drive in New Jersey for less than one (1) year with your valid foreign driver license in English or an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with your driver license. After that you will need to apply for a New Jersey driver's license. Driving a car without a driver’s license is illegal.

How to get a driver's license (F-1/J-1)

When you apply for a driver's license at the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission/DMV, you will need to take a vision testknowledge test, pay a fee and schedule a road test, if required. If you have a driver's license from another country/state, and the DMV agency can verify its authenticity, you may void the road test. 

Note: Not all foreign driver's licenses are accepted. If the information on your foreign driver's license is not in English, you must provide a translation of your license from a NJ certified translator.

You must check with a DSO that your SEVIS status has been activated before you apply.  It's usually 10 days after your program starting date listed on your I-20/DS-2019. 

If you have a foreign driver's license, bring the following required documents: 

  • A valid passport with visa
  • Form I-20/DS-2019 (most recent)
  • Form I-94 (most recent)
  • A foreign driver's license*
  • Stockton University photo ID 
    or an Enrollment Verification Letter from the Office of the Registrar
  • Proof of your New Jersey address
    Such as utility bill, bank statement or rental contract issued in the past 60-90 days with your name at your current address. 
    Note: a P.O. box mailing address may not acceptable
  • Social Security Number (SSN), if you have one. 
    Note: If you are not eligible for a SSN, you may request and fill out an Affidavit of no Social Security Number at the DMV stating that you are not eligible for a SSN.

If you do not have driver's license, you will need to follow the instructions for Initial License/Permit in order to apply.

Bring the required documents listed above to the DMV Agency. You will take the vision test and knowledge test.  Once you pass the tests, you can schedule your road test in advance. However, you must practice Supervised Driving for at least 3 - 6 months (depends on your age).  See website (under More Information) for instructions and restrictions. 

nj-id(Image: NJ MVC/RealID)

New Jersey DMV Atlantic County Facility

New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Cardiff Agency
(see facility locations list)

6725 E Black Horse Pike, 
Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234

Mays Landing Inspection Station/Driver Testing Center 
(see facility locations list)

1477 19th Street Hamilton Industrial Park 
Mays Landing, NJ 08330

What is a Social Security Number (SSN)?

It's a unique, 9-digit number provided by the Social Security Administration for official use forms or records, tax filing and income reporting purposes.  Do not provide your full SSN unless it is required.

You must obtain a SSN for both on and (approved) off campus employment.

Note: SSN is not required to apply for a New Jersey Driver’s License.

How to obtain an SSN

1. Gather Required Documentation

  • Copy of the official offer letter on company letterhead signed by the prospective employer listing the student’s name, beginning and ending date of employment, location where employment will take place, job description, number of hours student will work per week, employer’s and supervisor’s name and phone number
  • Application for a Social Security Card
  • Passport with F-1 / J-1 visa
  • Form I-20 / DS-2019 (all copies)
  • Form I-94 (most recent)
    The printout from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website is an official Form I-94.
  • A letter from the Office of Global Engagement 
    or an Enrollment Verification Letter from the Office of the Registrar

2. Bring the documents listed above to the U.S. Social Security Administration office located at:

1350 Doughty Rd 
Egg Harbor Twp., New Jersey, 08234

Office: 1-877-714-0394 | TTY: 1-800-325-0778 | Fax: 1-833-950-2986

See some FAQs from the Social Security Administration: Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens

If you are not eligible to apply for an SSN, you may apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

How much is it

Generally, the fare is based on the number of "zones" you travel through (in New Jersey.) Check the map on the schedule below to see how many zones you travel from your departure point to your destination. Each time you cross a zone boundary, your fare will slightly increase. The fare per adult for one zone is $1.60. (NJ Transit, 2021)

You can also download the mobile app to your mobile device from NJ Transit to pay your fare. Visit the NJ Transit website for more information.

  • Download the NJ Transit mobile app for iOS (iPhone)
  • Download the NJ Transit mobile app for Android 

How to take the bus

You will need to have exact change to pay your fare as the drivers do not carry money  and cannot provide change or receive cash from you directly.  You may insert bills or coins into a machine at the moment of getting on the bus.


  • Use Google Maps to plan your trip.  Select the driving, transit/bus or walking option accordingly.
  • Watch the video on "How to ride a bus" in English/Spanish.
  • Check your bus arrival time. Send a "Bus Stop ID number" to "MyBus" (69287) from your cellphone and receive the estimate arrival time of your bus via a text message. For example, type 10512 and send it to 69287. See NJ Transit page here
    • Stockton University Stop ID#: 10512
    • Hamilton Mall Stop ID#: 31720
    • Atlantic City Bus Terminal Stop ID#: 10090

NJ Transit public bus schedule/map for:

  • 508 (Atlantic City - Stockton University) 
  • 502 (Atlantic City - Hamilton Mall/Atlantic Cape Community College)
  • 505 (Atlantic City - Longport)
  • 554 (Atlantic City - Lindewood)
  • Atlantic City Station area

 NJ Transit Quik Tik discount

Stockton and NJ Transit have partnered to offer full-time students the opportunity to purchase a bus, rail or light rail monthly pass at 25% off the regular monthly pass price.  You will need to use your goStockton username and password to sign up. See more details here.

In general, using an unlock cellphone (see explanation below) with a GSM network compatible SIM card is recommended, especially if you plan to use your current cellphone while in the U.S.:




Usually, cellphones outside of the U.S. are not "locked." However, when you purchase/finance a new cellphone from a U.S. services carrier with a service contract, the phone is locked and limited to use only that one specific carrier until the end of the contract (or until your phone is fully paid.) You may contact a wireless services carrier about how to unlock their cellphones or purchase an unlocked cellphone.


You may use your foreign SIM card that has an international services plan (if available), or purchase a new SIM card from a U.S. wireless services carrier, such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro PCS, Verizon or other carriers that are on the GSM network. Please visit each services provider's website for more details. 

Nearby phone stores

Use the ZIP code 08205 as your current location for locations searching.

  • AT&T 
    650 Consumer Square, Mays Landing, NJ 08330
  • T-Mobile 
    370 Hamilton Commons, Mays Landing, NJ 08330
  • Verizon
    6042 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234

Pre-paid plans Vs. Long term services contracts

Pre-paid plans

  • May use your own unlocked phone or buy a new phone on your own budget (cost varies)
  • Pay in advance for each billing cycle, no contract
  • A basic monthly cost for call, texts and data usage
  • Can keep or change a plan monthly as you need
  • No SSN, secure deposit or credit history/report needed
  • Unused call minutes, texts or data will not rollover to the next billing cycle (every 30 days)


  • May use your own unlocked phone or buy a new phone with a low initial cost
  • Pay at the end of each billing cycle according to the contract
  • A basic monthly cost and fees for the services of 1 primary line; can add additional lines with extra cost
  • May not make changes to the signed contract
  • Must have an SSN and may/may not require secure deposit and good credit history/report
  • Each line will have certain amount of minutes, texts and/or data; may rollover or share with other users within the contract

Note: Once a contract is signed, you will be obligated to keep it for the entire contract period (usually 2+ years.)  If you want to end the contract sooner, you might have to pay a high fee to your services carrier.  We do not recommend exchange students/scholars to sign a long term contract with someone outside of their family since the budget and needs of each person may change unexpectedly.

Visit NJ - Official tourism website of New Jersey

  • New Jersey Official Travel Guide - This guide includes: accommodations, attractions, beaches, history, outdoors, shopping and more!
  • New Jersey State Map (PDF)
  • New Jersey Lighthouse Guide (PDF)
  • New Jersey History Guide (PDF)
  • New Jersey Fun and Facts Guide (PDF)

Atlantic City - DO|AC: Enjoy the beach and fine restaurants by Atlantic City’s world-famous Boardwalk. Also, Tanger Outlets 'The Walk' is an open-air outlet mall in Atlantic City with over 100 stores. (Atlantic City, NJ)

Hamilton Mall - It is the largest indoor mall in all of Atlantic and Cape May Counties. It has over 100 stores, restaurants, bars and an international food court. (Mays Landing, NJ)

Smithville - Historic Smithville is a quaint towne of over 60 specialty shoppes and 7 eateries with 30 free events each year. Smithville has something for everyone. (Galloway, NJ)

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge The Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge protects more than 47,000 acres of southern New Jersey coastal habitats which is actively managed for migratory birds. It is one of more than 555 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (NJ)

Split Elm Equestrian - Horseback trail riding and lessons are available for both leisure and competition purposes. (Mays Landing, NJ)

Seaview Golf Club and Hotel - Located on 670 acres of woodland, Seaview, A Dolce Hotel is home to two of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses in North America, The Bay Course and The Pines Course. (Galloway, NJ)

Morey’s Piers & Beachfront Waterparks - It is a classic seaside amusement park located on The Wildwoods' boardwalk in Wildwood and North Wildwood. (Wildwood, NJ) 

Cape May - The southernmost point in New Jersey and a year-round destination for families, couples, photographers, artists, and nature enthusiasts. (Cape May, NJ)

Adventure Aquarium - Adventure Aquarium is just minutes from downtown Philadelphia on the Camden Waterfront and features one-of-a-kind exhibits with more than 15,000 aquatic species throughout two million gallons of water. (Camden, NJ)

Six Flags Great Adventure - New York/New Jersey's biggest, most popular theme park featuring dozens of thrill rides, shows, and activities. (Jackson, NJ)

Longwood Gardens - one of the premier horticultural display gardens in the United States and is open to visitors year-round to enjoy exotic plants and horticulture, events and performances, seasonal and themed attractions, as well as educational lectures, courses, and workshops. (Kennett Square, PA)

CampusPhilly - Discover a variety of events in different neighborhoods around Philadelphia. 

One To World - One To World is a non-profit organization that engages over 100,000 international students studying in the New York-area through programs that create understanding and build positive relationships between area residents and these unofficial ambassadors from all over the world. See their events calendar.

Generally speaking, when you receive good services in the U.S., you are expected to tip accordingly. It's also a compensation to some working individuals as they typically have different wage rates.

Who do you tip?

  • Waiters/waitresses in restaurants (or bar tenders)
  • Barbers/hair stylists in barber shops or hair salons
  • Bellperson at hotels
  • Valet parking attendants
  • Taxi/shuttle drivers etc.

How much?

Tips are usually not included in your bill. Depend on the situation, anywhere between 15% and 20% of the bill is recommended. However, taxi or shuttle drivers usually receive 10%, or $1~$2 per piece of luggage when they help you carry them. You may include your tips in your credit card receipt or pay separately in cash.