How Do I… ? Helpful tips for newcomers

Welcome to the United States and Fermilab! Our door is open for questions and comments – please do not hesitate to reach out to us in person or over email/phone.

Even though we are available, we have created this page to help you with the first steps upon your arrival. Please let us know if you have any further questions regarding the below information.

So, how do you …


…get a Social Security Number Card?

You will need a Social Security Number (“SSN”), found on the Social Security Card (“SSC”), to receive your pay from Fermilab, to open a bank account, etc. It is easy to get a SSN if you follow the below steps (click each step to learn more):

Step 1: Learn what documents you need

Step 2: Complete the application form

Step 3: Take the application and supporting documents to the local office

…get a Driver License?

If you are eligible to get a Social Security Number, you may be eligible to obtain a regular IL Driver License by following these steps (some may not be applicable):

  • Visit a local Secretary of State facility, show required identification documents and have your photo taken.
  • Surrender all valid out-of-state licenses, state ID cards, instruction permits and commercial driver’s licenses.
  • Pay the appropriate fee.
  • Pass the appropriate exams (vision screening, written test, and/or driving).
  • When all necessary requirements are completed, a temporary, secure paper driver’s license, valid for 45 days, will be issued to serve as the DL/state ID for driving purposes and proof of identification until the permanent DL/state ID arrives in the mail within 15 business days.

If you are NOT eligible for a SSN, you may still be able to obtain a Temporary Visitor’ Driver License. Please review the instructions on the IL DMV website.


…complete the Form I-9, as an employee of another institution?

If you are an employee of another institution and are working onsite at Fermilab, the Visa Office will act as an authorized representative to complete your Form I-9. Please contact the Visa Office to complete your Form I-9.


…open a bank account?

There are three commercial banks and one credit union that will allow you to open a bank account without a SSN, please contact the Visa Office for the letter confirming your eligibility.

Banks that will open an account without a SSN: Chase Bank, MB Financial, US Bank, and Abri Credit Union.

If you would like to wait until you receive a SSN card, you will be able to open a bank account in any bank.


…look for a place to live?

If you want/have to move out from Fermilab Village, the best place to look for a new place is online. Use Google to search for apartments and/or houses for rent.

Most landlords will require you to: provide a SSN for a background check; provide a deposit of 1-2 months rent; and may have other requirements.

Please contact the Visa Office if you are not sure how to find a new place to live.


…rent a car?

Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental are our preferred provider for long term rentals.

Make sure to purchase adequate insurance with your car rental and carry your Driver License and proof of your immigration status.


…learn more about the US Taxes?

We have compiled some information that you might find useful, but we cannot legally provide tax advice. Please use the internet to locate a tax professional for in-depth tax counseling.


Questions? Comments? Contact the Visa Office!