International Student Services

Social Security Number

A Social Security Number (SSN) is issued to enable individuals to work, and if a U.S. citizen, to collect, at some point, Social Security benefits. You must present evidence of your eligibility to work in the United States before a number will be issued to you.

To apply for a social security number, bring your job offer letter to the International Student Advisors in the Student Services Center 440. They will write you another letter which states that you are an international student in good standing with the university. Take both letters to the Social Security Administration office located at 2035 Forest Ave. 

The SSA will process your application and mail a Social Security Card to you. Once you have this card with your Social Security Number written on it, you may begin working. It takes at least two weeks to receive the card after applying. Also, the SSA will not be able to start processing your application until at least two weeks after you entered the U.S. as they must get updated information from the United States Customs and Immigration Service to process the application.

If you do not have authorization to work in the U.S., you will not be allowed to apply for a Social Security Number. Unfortunately many businesses do ask for an SSN for such things as opening a bank account, getting insurance, etc. You may have to explain that as an international student, you are not eligible for a Social Security Number. The International Student Advisors can give you a letter explaining this if you need one.