Social Security Number (SSN)

SSN are primarily intended to identify participants in the federal government’s social security program, which provides retirement and disability benefits to workers and their families. The Social Security Administration (SSA) holds the view that a Social Security Number should be issued only for employment reasons. It is not intended to facilitate the issuance of credit cards, cell phones, bank accounts.

 F-1 students are eligible for a Social Security Number only if one of the following apply:

  • Student has been issued an Employment Authorization Document / EAD by the USCIS
  • Student has an I-20 endorsed for Curricular Practical Training
  • Student is currently employed on campus or has a job offer to do so.

The Application Procedure

F-1 students must submit in person to the SSA the following documents in order to be considered for a Social Security Number:

  • A completed Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card
  • At least two documents that establish your age, identity and alien status
  • Passport that has been issued at least one year prior to the date that you apply for the SSN. If it has not, your birth certificate may also be required or your previous passport.
  • I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 student status).
  • A current I-94 card, also known as the “arrival / departure card.” (This I-94 card should be stamped with the correct notation “F-1 D/S”)
  • Evidence of SSN eligibility, which must be one of the following:
    • EAD
    • I-20 showing unexpired CPT endorsement
    • For on campus employment, 2 letters are needed:
      •  A letter from the on-campus employer addressed to the SSA
      •  A letter issued by our office confirming your F-1 student status.

To find out where Social Security Offices are located, please visit