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Selecting a phone plan may require some research. Check with other students and colleagues, particularly those from your home country, for suggestions.

Some international students and scholars keep their current phone and insert a SIM card. You will receive a SIM card in the package you receive with your immigration documents. Others choose to purchase a phone once here in the U.S.

Buying a Phone in the U.S.

In the U.S., most cell phone companies have one- or two-year contracts. Most plans give you unlimited minutes and texts per month, but you should check your plan for details.

You may want to consider a pre-paid plan, which is offered by all companies. Although these plans tend to be more expensive than year-long contracts, they may be a good option while you are still figuring out your phone habits and which companies your friends use. Please be aware that many companies charge high deposit fees for students without a Social Security number.

Audio and Video Chat Options

  • Jitsi Meet - Private video chat with no account required.
  • Wire - Secure calls, texts and video chat on Android, iOS, desktop or Web browser.
  • Signal - Secure calls, texts and video chat on Android and iOS.
  • GNU Ring - Multi-platform audio, video and text chat.