International Students & Scholars
For 中文 translation
Welcome to San Francisco, USA!
We hope to provide some guidance on issues such as how to obtain housing, how to arrange for telephone service, gas and electricity, and where to shop for furniture, groceries, and other essential items. Some people visit San Francisco ahead of time to search for housing, sometimes several months in advance. We realize that this may be difficult for most of you, so we are providing you with information to ease your transition.
UCSF Housing offers a variety of living spaces at or near our Parnassus and Mission Bay campuses for Students, Postdocs, Residents, Clinical Fellows, and Faculty. We have options for singles, couples or families with children. This is a good choice only if you are staying in San Francisco for one year or more. Housing on the UCSF campus is usually cheaper but very limited in availability, so you should also try to find off campus housing.
Off Campus Housing
Located, LLC can find housing for you
Located LLC is a San Francisco based relocation company that was created to help people move to the San Francisco Bay Area. They can help you with finding an apartment, moving logistics, and getting acclimated to life in San Francisco. In addition to helping you secure an apartment, Located LLC provides airport pickups, neighborhoods tours, English lessons, networking events, and other services.
Avoid Rental Scams – do not be a victim of fraud. Criminals pretending to be landlords are active in San Francisco. The United Stated Federal Trade Commission provides resources for renters to avoid rental scams. Please review the information carefully before sending money to potential landlords. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0079-rental-listing-scams
Support from the UCSF International Students & Scholars Office
UCSF Housing Services works closely with UCSF International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) to provide you with maximum support for an easy move to the United States. ISSO has several helpful web pages to assist you.
A Letter of Reference from Your UCSF Department
When looking for an off-campus rental property, you will increase your chances of securing housing if you have a strong reference. Your department or supervisor can provide this reference letter for you. You may download a Sample Letter here and give it to your department or supervisor to use as a guide for their letter.
Utilities, Furniture and Moving
Once you have found an apartment, you will need to set up utilities like electric, gas, water, garbage, recycling, internet, and phones. You may also need to rent or buy furniture, then get help with your move.
Tips to Assist with Setting up Utilities and Cable without a Social Security Card/Number
Some tenants have obtained services by going to the cable office in person, and presenting the Housing Agreement (lease) and passports. This may also require a security deposit to be held in the event a customer gets behind on payment.
If you have permission to work in the USA, you can apply for a SSN. This link has information for SSN for noncitizens. https://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ss5doc.htm#work
If you do not have work permit, you may use the TIN that the UCSF Registrar has for you in their records. This is the number that you may have used on your financial aid application.
If neither of these work, we recommend that you contact the International Students office for guidance. http://isso.ucsf.edu
- Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). 1-800-743-5000 or http://www.pge.com
- Water & Sewage is usually paid for by the landlord, but if not, contact Water & Wastewater Resources at (415) 351-3399 or http://www.sfwater.org
- Trash, Recycling and Compost services are provided by Recology. (415) 330-1300 or http://www.recologysf.com
Cable Television & Internet
- Comcast XFINITY Cable (415) 859-1828 http://www.comcast.com/
- Dish INFINITY Network (800) 454-0843 http://www.dish.com/
- Direct TV (800) 347-3288 http://www.directv.com/
- AT&T U-verse (800) 310-2355 http://www.att.com/
- Using an HDTV antenna (free service) or a wifi-connected Roku box http://www.roku.com works well too!
- HughesNet (877) 320-4515 http://www.hughesnetinternet.net/local/California/
Most people now use mobile phones instead of home phones. Choosing a provider in San Francisco can be difficult, because the cell phone signal will vary greatly among providers depending on your location in the city. Here is a list of some common providers, but we suggest to ask others about their service before selecting a company.
- AT&T http://www.att.com/wireless/ucsf (discount offered)
- Verizon http://www.verizon.com/ (ask for UCSF discount)
- Sprint http://shop.sprint.com/
- T-Mobile http://www.t-mobile.com
- Metro PCS http://www.metropcs.com/metro/ (no contracts)
- CREDO http://www.credomobile.com/
- Frontier Communications https://frontier.com/
- Places to buy or swap used furniture are Craigs List http://sfbay.craigslist.org/ FreeCycle http://www.freecycle.org or Thrift Town http://www.thrifttown.com But beware when buying used furniture from others - be sure that your furniture is free of bed bugs and fleas.
- If you would like to rent furniture, please contact Brook http://www.bfr.com or Cort http://www.cort.com/student/ Be sure to ask about UCSF or student discounts!
- If you would like to buy furniture, there are many stores in the San Francisco area, including a popular IKEA http://www.ikea.com/us/en/store/emeryville
Moving and Shipping
- United States Postal Service http://www.usps.com/
- United Parcel Service (UPS) http://www.ups.com/
- Federal Express http://www.fedex.com/
- DHL http://www.dhl.com/splash.html
- Protect yourself and your personal property with insurance for UCSF affiliates. http://campuslifeservices.ucsf.edu/housing/services/current_tenants/renters_insurance
For other language assistance, please contact UCSF International Students & Scholars Office, http://isso.ucsf.edu