The Social Security Number (SSN) is a nine-digit number necessary for the employment of international students which is issued through the Social Security Administration office.

The following noncitizens are eligible for a SSN:

  • F-1 students with authorized on-campus employment
  • F-1 students with authorized curricular practical training (CPT)
  • F-1 students with authorized optional practical training (OPT) 
  • J-1 exchange visitors 

The SSN will not be issued as a form of identification, to obtain a driver’s license, or for other personal reasons such as banking, insurance, tax filing, and fingerprinting. For assistance, contact the Social Security Administration by phone at 1.800.772.1213.

Documents to Bring

You must have the following original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency. Photocopies or notarized copies of documents will not be accepted by the Social Security Administration.

  • Application for a Social Security card (SS-5)
  • Valid Original I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 Arrival Document – Most Recent
  • Unexpired Foreign Passport
  • Proof of Employment Authorization through one of the following:
    • F-1 Student – On-campus employment hiring letter and DSO work authorization letter dated within 30 days
    • F-1 Student – CPT endorsed I-20 and Official Employer Letter
    • F-1 Student – Unexpired Employment Authorization (EAD) Card
    • J-1 Exchange Visitor – Letter from Responsible Officer dated within 30 days

Applicants in initial status must wait 2 weeks following the SEVIS registration from their DSO and have the following original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency. Photocopies or notarized copies of documents will not be accepted by the Social Security Administration.

Where to File for Your SSN

Applicants must apply for a social security number in the county in which they physically live and receive mail. To find your local office, please search the Social Security Locator.

Social Security Administration Resources

Find out information on required documentation, eligibility and office locations.
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