International Postdocs


As an international postdoc, you may feel overwhelmed at times. Here are some tips that will make this an easy transition.


Where to stay your first week in Berkeley while searching for housing:

  • I-House

  • Faculty Club

  • Women's Faculty Club

  • YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) Phone: 510-525-1130

  • YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) Phone: 510-848-6370

  • Capri Motel - 1512 University Ave., Berkeley, Phone: 510-845-7090

  • Travelodge - 1820 University Ave., Berkeley, Phone: 510-843-4262

  • Ramada - 920 University Ave., Berkeley, Phone: 510-849-1121


Get your Social Security Number (SSN) right away!

It will take 7 to 10 days to process the paper work.
Office is located next to the post office on Allston Way and Milvia.

Without your Social Security Number you may not be able to:

  • Open a bank account

  • Get paid (the UC Berkeley payroll office needs your SSN to officially hire you)

  • Get medical or other health insurance

Refer to Berkeley International Office (BIO) for more information.

Click here to locate the Social Security Office near Berkeley.



  • Is not a guarantee. University housing is given first to Post Docs that are married and have children. Not all Post Docs with families will receive university housing as space is limited.

  • It will take at least 2 weeks to find housing and the cost of living is very high! (A 1-bedroom apartment is approximately $1000/month and you will need to pay a deposit of at least twice that to get the apartment.)

  • It is important to bring enough money to pay for a deposit on a place to live and to be aware of the exchange rate between the US dollar and foreign currency.


Your Visa Status and Maintenance

For more on this topic, go to


Credit Cards

It may be necessary to obtain an American credit card, especially if one plans to stay in the United States for multiple years. Credit cards are widely used in the US and therefore are a symbol of financial stability for the consumer (you) and act as a protection against fraud for a business (a car dealership). A credit card is useful for making large monetary purchases and is recognized everywhere as a proof of payment and accountability. By using a credit card on a regular basis, one can build what is termed a credit history. A positive credit history is necessary when purchasing items like an apartment, car, or getting a loan from a bank. It may take a while to obtain a credit card because many credit card agencies are hesitant to give a credit card to someone who has never had one before and is not a US citizen.

To obtain a credit card, it is best to start building a credit history right away, if one plans to stay in the United States. Credit card bills are sent to your home once a month. If you do not pay the full amount of your credit card bill, the credit card agency can charge you interest on your outstanding credit card balance. This interest rate varies depending upon the type of credit card you have and is a source of debt for many people. It is important to limit the amount of money you charge to your credit card, so that debt does not become a problem for you. By consistently paying your credit card bill, you begin to build a positive credit history and in time will be eligible for credit cards that offer lower interest rates and higher lines of credit, i.e. amount of money that one can charge per month.


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