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Social Security Number

In order to receive wages legally in the United States, international students who wish to work will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). As of 10/13/2004, the Social Security Administration will issue SSNs to international students only after they obtain legal employment. This must be documented by a letter of eligibility from a DSO or RO, and an additional letter of employment from the employer. If at least 10 days have passed since the student entered the US allowing the student’s immigration record to be updated with port of entry information, it will take about two weeks to receive the card after submission of the application at a Social Security office. Students can begin work before obtaining a SS card but will not be able to receive wages until the card is issued.

Eligibility:

  • F-1 Students are eligible for a social security number only if they have an on-campus employment offer or specific work authorization granted by USCIS and they are registered for class. F-2 dependents are not eligible for social security numbers.
  • J-1 Students are eligible for a social security number only if they have an on-campus employment offer or have been granted specific work authorization.

Obtaining a Social Security Number:

  • Secure on-campus employment.
  • Obtain a letter from the department verifying your employment
  • Obtain a proof-of-enrollment letter from a DSO or RO
  • Complete the SSN Application (Form SS-5)
  • Take the original letter of employment and letter from your DSO or RO, the SSN application, your visa, passport, I-94, and I-20 or DS-2019 to the SSN office in person

For more information please visit the Social Security Administration's website.