View of Silicon Valley at sunset taken from the eastern hills

Housing and Transportation


Welcome to your new home—Silicon Valley!

Resources for relocating to UCSC Silicon Valley Extension


Finding your new home

We understand that the rental and housing market in the Bay Area can be hard to navigate.

We hope that this easy-to-use housing guide created by UCSC Silicon Valley Extension with the help of JM Consulting, will help you find housing in the San Francisco Bay area. It's filled with great tips to ease some of the stress and make your relocation an exciting new adventure.


3 International Airports in Silicon Valley

With three major international airports, you can shop the best price or choose the most accessible airport to get here from anywhere in the world.

San Jose Airport

Airport Code: SJC

Mineta San Jose International Airport, the primary airport in Silicon Valley, offers domestic and international flights and is located just four miles from UCSC Silicon Valley Extension. You can connect to numerous public transportation systems, taxis, and ride-shares from the airport. Visit the SJC Ground Transportation website for more information.

San Francisco Airport

Airport Code: SFO

The largest airport in the Bay Area region is the San Francisco International Airport, serving more international flights than SJC. Located approximately 30 miles from our campus.

Oakland Airport

Airport Code: OAK

Oakland International Airport can also be a cost-effective option for traveling in and out of the Bay Area. Just south of downtown Oakland in the East Bay, it is easily accessible by BART (Bay Rea Rapid Transit), the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit Bus, taxis, Uber, and Lyft.



Getting around the Bay Area can be difficult without a car. Depending on your preferences, you can spend very little ($) or a lot ($$$$), on transportation.  

Before you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles

  1. Make an appointment to get your license through the DMV website.
  2. Complete the Driver's License Application.
  3. Study the law. Be sure to review test examples and the California Driver's Handbook.

Your DMV Appointment: Part I

  1. Go to the DMV on your appointment day. Bring the following documents:
    1. Valid passport
    2. I-94
    3. I-20
    4. Two residency documents, such as a copy of your house lease, utility bill, or credit card bill.
  2. Pay the $38 application fee.
  3. Give a fingerprint scan and have your photo taken.
  4. You will be asked for a Social Security Number. If you don’t have an SSN, tell the DMV clerk that you are not eligible for an SSN and are exempt from this requirement.
  5. You must pass a vision exam.
  6. You must pass the written exam about traffic laws and signs.

Your DMV Appointment: Part II

After you pass the written test, make an appointment to take the driving test. Driving tests are not given without an appointment. You will need to provide proof of auto insurance.

A California driver's license is required to purchase a car and obtain auto insurance. An international driver’s license is not recognized by the DMV.

Leasing a Car

Instead of purchasing a new car, you can opt to do a short-term lease and pay month-to-month. VOLVO is one company that has a leasing program for international students so check them out for pricing and terms.

Buying a Used Car

Another cost-effective option is to buy a used car. There are many sold on CRAIGSLIST but beware of scammers. You can also visit a CARMAX location when you're here.

  • CAR SHARING: Uber and Lyft are popular ways to get around if you just want to pay per ride. The average cost per ride is about $10. 
  • BUS: VTA is the public transportation authority. A single ride is $2.25 and a monthly pass is $80.
  • TRAIN: CALtrain runs from San Francisco to Gilroy. Rides cost $3.75 – $30 depending on the number of zones (1-6) you travel through.
  • BART: Another popular option is BART which travels between San Francisco, the East Bay, and East San Jose.
  • TAXI: Some people still use a private taxi service.

Top Silicon Valley Attractions

International Inquiry Form

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Call +1 (408) 450-4945


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