Getting Started in Seattle

Taking the Public Bus

King Country Metro Transit serves South Seattle College and the surrounding community. For help in determining your route to South Seattle College, use Metro’s Trip Planner. You can also download the OneBusAway App on your smart phone.

Metro bus schedule and fairs

New students can also check-out videos regarding how to take the bus and pay for trips. These videos are available in many different languages.

Visit the Cashier for an ORCA card (your bus pass).

  • Cost: $125
  • Card Value: $250 (declining balance)

Popular bus routes serving South Seattle College and West Seattle:

  • #125 – Downtown/Westwood Village
  • #128 – Southcenter/Admiral District
  • #120 – Downtown/Burien
  • RapidRide C – Downtown/Westwood Village

Driving in Seattle

There are certain rules and regulations for driving in the United States. In order to drive in the United States, you are required to obtain a state driver’s license and car insurance.

The information on this page is intended as a resource for international students who attend South Seattle College.

How to Apply for a Washington State ID or Driver’s License

Step 1

Visit the Department of Licensing website at http://www.dol.wa.gov/ to get the necessary and most up to date information about applying.

Step 2

Gather documents to prove your identity and WA State residency. Most common documents* to bring include ALL of the following:

  1. Passport
  2. Valid US visa
  3. Printed I-94: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94
  4. I-20
  5. Official transcript from a school in Washington State

Alternate options are listed below.

*Acceptable documents may be subject to change.  To ensure accurate information, visit http://www.dol.wa.gov/

Step 3

Apply for your WA ID or Driver’s License with the Department of Licensing

Additional Resources to Obtain a Driver’s License:

  1. To drive in the United States, you must obtain a state driver’s license and car insurance. The Washington State ID card is not a driver’s license.  Driving with a driver’s license from another country is permitted for up to one year without a WA driver’s license (see RCW 46.20.025)
  2. Learn more about the state’s driving rules and regulations. Find the Washington Drivers Guide in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese, and Japanese here: http://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/guide.html
  3. Apply for Washington State Driver’s License at Department of Licensing Office (see above)
  4. Take and pass the Knowledge Test and Driving Skills Test** at an independent driving school.

Find an approved testing location here: https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/testlocations.html

  1. You must pass the Knowledge Test with 32 out of 40 questions correct.
  2. You must provide proof of insurance and vehicle registration if using your own vehicle.
  3. You must pass the Driving Skills Test with at least 80 out of 100.

**Some testing exceptions may apply. More information: https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/moving.html

If you are under 18 years old, you must also:

  • Pass a traffic safety course through an independent driving school in King County.
  • Have an instruction permit for at least 6 months
    • You can receive an instruction permit if (1) you are enrolled in a traffic safety course or (2) you pass the knowledge test.
    • Complete this form (http://www.dol.wa.gov/forms/520003.pdf) with your parent, legal guardian, or employer stating that you have at least 50 hours of driving practice (including 10 hours at night) with someone who’s been licensed for 5 or more years.

Accepted Documents* to Prove Identity:

  • Identity can be established by ONE of the following options:
  • OPTION 1:  One Stand Alone Document
  • OPTION 2:  Two A-List Documents
  • OPTION 3:  One A-List Document + Two B-List Documents
  • OPTION 4:  Four B-List Documents
Stand Alone Documents A-List Documents B-List Documents
WA ID or Driver’s License Foreign passport with I-94 card** I-20
Out of state driver’s license or ID Valid US visa (not expired) Social Security Number
    Driver’s license from a foreign country
    Official school transcript
    Certified birth certificate
    Marriage certificate

Acceptable Documents* to Prove Washington State Residency

  • Official Transcript from a WA State school
  • Gas, electricity, or utility bill with your name & address, within the past 2 months
  • Internet or TV bill with your name & address,  within the past 2 months
  • Land-line telephone bill with your name & address, within the past 2 months

*Acceptable documents listed may be subject to change. There may be other options for acceptable documents. You will find a complete list here: https://www.dol.wa.gov/driverslicense/idproof.html

**I-94 accessible at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94

Car Insurance

There are many car insurance companies in Seattle and the greater Seattle area. We recommend “shopping” for a car insurance company that will work best for you and best fits your budget.

Some questions to consider when shopping for car insurance:

  • Are there translators with your company who speak my language?
  • Does your company offer a safe driver discount?
  • Can you explain your policies to me in simple terms?
  • What are your payment options?
  • How do I manage my account/insurance?
  • How much will my coverage cost?

Opening a Bank Account

It is recommended students open a bank account shortly after arriving in Seattle. To open a bank account, students will need to bring their student identification card, passport and the funds they wish to deposit. Many banks provide services such as checking accounts, savings accounts, bank drafts, foreign currency exchange, money orders, traveler's check, wire transfer, and safe deposit boxes for valuables.

The banks listed below are located near our campus and are used to serving international students:

Bank of America
2600 SW Barton St.
Seattle, WA 98106
+1-206-358-2235
Key Bank
9655 17th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98106
+1-206-763-8440
Chase Bank
1616 SW 100th St.
Seattle, WA 98146
+1-206-461-6425
US Bank
15820 Ambaum Blvd SW
Burien, WA 98166
+1-206-444-5748
Wells Fargo
800 SW 152nd St.
Burien, WA 98166
+1-206-433-6262
BECU Credit Union
9620 28th Avenue SW
Seattle, WA 98126
+1-206-439-5700

Banks in the United States have different policies on opening bank accounts for individuals under the age of 18. Many require that 16 or 17 year olds have an adult who can co-sign on a bank account before they are willing to open an account in a minor’s name. Others offer flexibility in allowing 16 or 17 year old students to have bank accounts.

Questions to ask when opening a bank account:

  • Is there a minimum starting deposit?
  • Is there a minimum account balance required?
  • Is there a charge when receiving an international wire transfer?
  • Is there a charge when sending a wire transfer?
  • Is there a bank close to my house or easy to get to?
  • Is there a fee to use the ATM?