New International Students

The Office of International Student Services (OISS) is very excited that you will be joining the Butler community!

Butler is going to push you to excel. The classes and coursework are rigorous and will test your knowledge every day. It is very important that if you need help, you seek it out. Your professors are an invaluable resource for you. It can be extremely beneficial to you if you find yourself struggling in a particular class to solicit the advice of your professors, and it is very common for students to do so.

All Butler students are required to have valid health insurance. All F-1 and J-1 Visa status undergraduate international students will be automatically enrolled in the Butler University sponsored student injury and sickness insurance plan regardless of the number of credit hours taken (with the exception of ISEP participants who are covered through the ISEP program).

All Butler students are required to have, on file at Health Services, their health history including all required vaccinations. New this year, students can submit information using a secure online web portal called MyHealth.

The HRC is located on the north side of campus. In the HRC:

  • Health Services provides treatment for illnesses and minor injuries. A full-time medical doctor (MD) and nurses are available Monday through Friday. Health Services strives to keep students informed of health concerns and “wellness” topics.
  • Counseling and Consultation Services provides individual and group therapy for students related to academic, career and personal-social stress in a safe and confidential setting.
  • Fitness Center is equipped with work-out machines, indoor swimming pools, basketball courts and more. For long-term (F-1) students, access to the fitness center is included in your activities fee. For short-term (J-1) students, you will need to purchase a membership to access the fitness center.
  • Intramural and Club Sports information is available in the HRC as well.
    • Club: The club sports are a little more competitive and require the students to demonstrate their skills during ‘callouts’, which usually take place at the beginning of each semester (depending on the sport’s season). There is more of a time commitment; the teams usually practice 2-3 times per week. Also, if your team qualifies, the team may participate in a regional or national competition.
    • For a list of club sports and callout dates, click here.
    • Intramural: The Intramural sports are a more relaxed and flexible concept. Most students who play on intramural teams are only playing for enjoyment and the teams may not be as competitive as the club sport teams. The ‘season’ is shorter, usually lasting only 3-4 weeks, practices are less frequent, and there are no ‘callouts’ for intramural sports.
    • So, gather a group of friends and register for the table tennis team or the flag (American) football team here!

Butler Campus Farm is located west of campus on the southeast corner of the intramural athletic fields. The campus farm was started by the Earth Charter Butler student organization in fall 2009.

  • The farm concept arose from an interest in local organic foods, sustainability, environmental justice, food security, and the interconnectedness of life on Earth. Our vision for the Butler Campus Farm is to provide the Butler University community with an opportunity to grow and learn. The social, environmental, and health benefits that we seek to provide through this venture include access to fresh food, community building opportunities, better personal health, education, and environmental protection.
  • The campus farm is always looking for volunteers to help plant and maintain the 1/2-acre farm. You will be paid in fresh fruits and vegetables!
  • If you would prefer to just eat the delicious food produced by Butler’s farm, you can find them under the gazebo on the north side of Atherton Union every Monday afternoon (4-6pm) throughout the spring, summer and fall.

You should have received housing information from the admissions office in your initial ‘Welcome’ packet. Please complete the form and return it to Butler’s residence life office as soon as possible.

First-year, sophomores and juniors MUST live on campus. Seniors are able to live on or off campus.

There are several housing options on Butler’s campus.

Residence Halls:

  • Residential College (ResCo) is a coeducational residence hall community home to about 470 primarily first-year students, and it is popular with the international exchange students. Residential College has one of the two dining facilities on campus.
  • Irvington House is a coeducational residence hall community that accommodates 647 predominantly first-year students.
  • Fairview House is predominately for sophomore students.

If you are going home for the summer and do not want to take all your things with you there are storage facilities in some of the dormitories:

“Storage facilities are extremely limited, available on a first-come, first-served basis to students returning to the residence halls and available only to students who live outside Indiana and the surrounding states and is limited to four enclosed boxes or plastic totes. No student may store anything without the approval of the Residence Life Coordinator.  Carpets, televisions, stereos, refrigerator, or appliances cannot be stored. Butler University does not assume liability for any items stored throughout the academic year or during the summer months.” —Butler Student Handbook

  • Apartment Village apartments are for juniors and seniors ONLY.
  • University Terrace apartments houses junior and sophomore students.
  • The greek houses line the South side of Hampton Drive. If you choose to become a member of a fraternity or sorority, you have the option in your sophomore year to live in your fraternity or sorority’s house on campus instead of in the dormitories.

Visit the Housing and Dining website for more details on what to expect from on-campus living.

  • Atherton Union has:
    • A Cafeteria called The Market Place at Atherton,
    • A Convenience Store where you can buy sandwiches, juice, hummus, hamburgers and more!
    • A Starbucks (the first Starbucks in Indianapolis!)
  • Residential College (ResCo) has the second cafeteria on campus.
  • The Health and Recreation Complex (HRC) has Zia Juice, the smoothie and juice bar on campus
  • The Apartment Village has a convenience store, open during the school year where limited groceries can be purchased.
  • For locations, menus, hours, and more, visit our food service website.

Must receive special permission from the Office of International Services.

Fifth Third Bank
101 East 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205

Glossary of Banking Terms

Money Orders—A money order is like cash in the form of a check. You can purchase a money order at your bank or any post office by presenting the cash amount of the money order along with a small fee to the bank or post office teller. You are not able to send cash through the mail, so people use money orders to pay bills instead of checks (USCIS only accepts money orders). Money orders are also a better way to carry large sums of money instead of in cash form.

Wire Transfers—You are able to transfer money electronically from bank to bank via wire transfer. Each bank has its own SWIFT-BIC code, which you will need along with your and the recipient’s account number, mailing address, and bank routing number to make the wire transfer. The transfer may take a few days and there will be a small transaction fee with the wire transfer.

Balance—The amount of money remaining in an account after all deposits, withdrawals, credits, and debits(deductions) have been made.

Certificate of Deposit—An alternative to a traditional savings account; also referred to as a CD. By depositing a fixed amount, if held for a fixed or minimum term, you will receive a fixed or variable rate of return greater than a regular savings. However, if you withdrawal your money before the certificate matures you lose all interest gained.

Check—A written unconditional order to an institution to pay out a definite sum of money from your account.

Deposit—The amount of money which is added to an account, in the form of a check, money order, cash, etc. You usually must fill out a deposit slip when you make a deposit.

Direct Deposit—This is when you give permission for funds to be automatically deposited into your account at a predetermined date. Many banks offer free or lower cost checking for customers with direct deposit because it saves them the cost of processing paper checks.

Withdrawal—When you take money out of your account, whether you receive cash or transfer funds to another account.

FDIC—Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – A part of the federal government that insures savings accounts in member commercial banks, bank holding companies, and mutual savings banks.

Minimum Balance—Some banks require a minimum balance, or a minimum amount of money that must be kept in the account. This amount can vary between banks and accounts within one bank.

Maintenance Fees—If the amount of money drops below the minimum balance at any time during the month, a service charge is applied.

Overdraft—A draft or check written (this can also happen when using your debit card) for an amount that exceeds the balance in a customer’s account. This creates a negative balance, and banks charge a fee for honoring these checks.

Overdraft Protection—A service that allows the customer to write checks for an amount over and above the amount in their checking account. The overdraft amount is automatically transferred from an authorized bank account such as a savings or line of credit.

Returned Checks—If you deposit a ‘bad’ check, a check that someone has written you with insufficient funds in their account, into your account the bank will charge you for having to return the check to the issuer.

Service Charge—Any fee charged for banking ‘services’

Stop Payment—If for any reason you should decide to cancel payment on a check that you have already written, you must call the bank and request a stop payment on the check, the service charge assessed is usually $7-$10.

These days it is very difficult to even think about not having a cell phone. It will most likely be one of the first concerns you have when you arrive. It is very important that when you are shopping around for a cell phone, you first have an idea of what you want from the cell phone plan. Below are just a few things to consider before you procure your cell phone:

There are two types of cell phone options to choose form: 1-2 year contract cell phones or a prepaid phone which you use by adding minutes when necessary. Make sure to research which is the best type of phone for your needs.

The majority of cell phone companies charge for all calls, including incoming calls. Conversely, most have free calling within their network.

You will have a range of the amount of minutes you can ‘purchase’ within the parameters of the plan you choose. If you use more than the number of minutes you have ‘purchased’ in the month, you will be charged for the minutes at a much higher rate.

Check your plan to see if you have unlimited weekend and nighttime minutes; these minutes do not count against the minutes in your plan.

Most cell phone plans do not come with international calling, so make sure you ask about international calling plans if you want to use your phone to call home

Most contract cell phones require a Social Security Number, if you don’t have a Social Security Number, you will most likely have to pay a deposit (the deposit should be returned at the end of the contract)

If you have an unlocked phone from your home country, check with the cell phone provider to see if it is compatible with their service.

Some phone companies have better reception in certain cities. Check out the providers’ reception in Indianapolis at or

Text messaging typically carries an additional charge. Ask about adding texting to your plan.

Once a contract is signed, you will be obligated to pay for the entire contract period. If you break the contract, expect to pay a high fee.

Verizon Wireless

Circle Center Mall
49 West Maryland Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204


Circle Center Mall
49 West Maryland St
Indianapolis, IN 46205


120 Monument Circle, Ste 103
Indianapolis, IN 46204


Circle Center Mall
49 West Maryland Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Providers Only Online

Virgin Mobile: Great phone selection. Variety of plans.

Tracfone: Free (conditional) international calling plan. Make sure you read terms and conditions.

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9 digit number used as an employment identification number for tax purposes. The SSN can also be used for identity verification in regards to opening a bank account, applying for an Indiana driver’s license or entering into a contract for a cell phone; however these are not valid reasons to be issued a SSN and subsequently, you will be denied.

You must be employed or have an offer of employment to receive a Social Security Number. That means you must be an:

  • F-1 or J-1 student with on-campus employment
  • F-1 student engaged in OPT or CPT

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

If you are ineligible to receive a SSN, you will need to apply for an ITIN in order to complete your taxes. ALL international students are required to file taxes regardless of whether you are employed or not.

You will need to provide original documents showing proof of immigration status, identity, age, and work eligibility. Below is a list of original documents you will need to take with you to the Social Security Administration:

  • Completed application for a social security card, Form SS-5 (PDF)
  • Valid passport
  • Valid F-1 visa
  • I-94 Card
  • Current I-20
  • Letter from the Office of International Student Services (OISS)
  • Letter from the employer on the employer’ s letterhead that includes:
    • Identity of student employee
    • Job description
    • Anticipated or actual employment start date
    • Number of hours the student is expected to work
    • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • Employer contact information, including the telephone number and the name of the F-1 student’ s immediate supervisor
    • Original signature
    • Date
    • Employer Sample Letter Language for Social Security (DOC)
  • For international students on OPT you will need to provide you Employment Authorization Document (EAD card) or a letter from the USCIS saying that you are eligible for a SSN.

You must go in-person to the Social Security Administration located at:

575 North Pennsylvania Street, Room 685
Indianapolis, IN 46204


  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursay, Friday: 9:00 AM–3:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM–noon
  • Except Federal Holidays
  • Saturday and Sunday: CLOSED

How to Apply for a Social Security Number (PDF)

International Driver’s License (IDL)

An International driver’s license is an English translation of your foreign driver’s license. You will need to apply for the international driver’s license in your home country. You will not be able to apply for the IDL in the U.S.

Benefits of an IDL:

  • You are able to drive in the U.S. immediately with your IDL. After one year, you must have a valid Indiana driver’s license to legally drive in the U.S.
  • You are able to apply for an Indiana driver’s license immediately after arriving in the U.S. if you have an IDL. Otherwise, you will need to apply for a learner’s permit* before you are eligible to apply for an Indiana driver’s license.

*A learner’s permit requires that you have an adult (21 years or older) with a valid driver’s license for up to 9 months. You will also be required to practice driving for 50 total hours (at least 10 hours nighttime driving).

Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)

How to apply for an Indiana Driver’s License or State ID (PDF)

  • Locations
  • Hours (may vary, please check the website of the branch you plan to visit):
    • Monday: Closed
    • Tuesday: 8:30 AM–7:00 PM
    • Wednesday: 8:30 AM–5:00 PM
    • Thursday: 8:30 AM–5:00 PM
    • Friday: 8:30 AM–5:00 PM
    • Saturday: 8:30 AM–12:30 PM
    • Sunday: Closed

You may apply for an Indiana driver’s license anytime after you arrive. You are able to drive on your international driver’s license for up to 1 year from your arrival in the U.S. After that, you will need to have an Indiana driver’s license. We recommend that you apply no later than 7 months after you have arrived in the U.S.

In order to apply for an Indiana driver’s license you must:

  • Pass the BMV’s written, vision, and drive test. You may study for the written test using the BMV’s  driver’s manual located on the BMV website.
  • Present the necessary documentation
    • Proof of identity and nonimmigrant status: passport, visa stamp, I-94 card
    • Proof of address in Indianapolis: bank statement with mailing address, pay stub, bill sent to your address in Indianapolis
    • Proof of Social Security Number: Social Security Card*

*You are only eligible for a Social Security Card if you are employed in the U.S. If you do not have a Social Security Card and are ineligible to receive the card because you are unemployed, you need to show proof of ineligibility. The Social Security Administration is in charge of issuing SSN’s as well as issuing letters of ineligibility. In order to receive a letter of ineligibility, you must apply for a SSN.

BMV documents required for an Indiana Driver’s License or State ID (PDF)

If you have passed all the required tests and submitted all required documents. Your photo will be taken and you should receive your new Indiana driver’s license in the mail within 2 weeks.

If you do not have an international driver’s license or an English translation of your foreign driver’s license, you must first apply for an Indiana learners permit before you are eligible for an Indiana driver’s license.

Learner’s Permit Requirements:

  • You must be at least 16 years old (and 180 days) to be eligible for an Indiana learner’s permit
  • If you are between the ages of 16 and 18, you must have a passenger 21 years or older with a valid driver’s license in the car with you when you are driving. If you are over the age of 18, you must have a passenger with a valid driver’s license only, in the car with you at all times.
  • You must complete 50 hours of supervised driving  (at least 10 nighttime hours) to be eligible to apply for an Indiana driver’s license. The 50 hours must be witnessed by a passenger who is at least 25 years old (or a spouse who is at least 21 years old).
  • You must record your 50 driving hours in a ‘Log of Supervised Driving’, which you need to present to the BMV when you apply for the driver’s license.
  • Once you have completed the 50 hours of supervised driving. Follow the steps above on how to apply for an Indiana driver’s license.

Indianapolis has an emerging bus system. The city has just added the first hybrid buses to the IndyGo network in an effort to ‘go green’ or be more environmentally friendly. Also, initiatives such as free bus rides on particular days to promote less fuel consumption, bike racks on the front of all buses to promote biking to work, the grocery store, a friend’s home, wherever; the IndyGo company has made a commitment to creating a more sustainable business.

IndyGo general bus schedule:

  • Most buses come every half an hour during peak times, while during low traffic times, most bus runs on an hourly schedule.
  • The two buses below are relatively close to campus and will get you to major areas of Indianapolis:
  • IndyGO Bus #28—This bus meets at 46th and Illinois and takes you downtown to Monument Circle
  • IndyGO Bus #19—This bus meets at 46th and College and takes you to Castleton Square Mall, with a stop at Glendale Mall as well.
  • For a complete list of bus routes and schedules visit

Both companies serve Indianapolis 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Shuttle Bus

  • Butler’s shuttle bus takes you to Broad Ripple and Glendale Mall, click here for departure time.
  • You must have your Butler Student ID with you to ride.
Adjusting to life on campus looks different for every international student.