A Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit personal identification number issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration that is used in applying for employment and filing taxes. SSNs are assigned
to individuals for life. Always keep your SSN card in a safe place. You do not have to carry it on you at all times.
An SSN is not equivalent to employment authorization. International students should always consult with ISSS about types of authorized employment before engaging in any work (paid or unpaid).
Who Can Apply
International students and scholars must have current work authorization in order to apply for an SSN.
- F-1 students may apply if they have on-campus employment, have been approved for curricular practical training (CPT), or have received their EAD Card after applying for optional practical training (OPT).
- J-1 students may apply if they have on-campus employment or have been approved for academic training.
- J-1 scholars may apply ten days after they have arrived in the United States and their J-1 immigration record is validated and active.
If You Are Ineligible
If you are not eligible for an SSN, you can request a Social Security letter of ineligibility from the Social Security Administration. The official letter from the Social
Security office serves as evidence of SSN ineligibility, enabling you to obtain a driver's license, a state ID, or a lease for an apartment and to open a bank account.
If you need to file taxes and are not eligible for an SSN, please contact ISSS.