Social Security Number

Prerequisites on due dates:
  • For non-EAD* based F-1 student employment (CPT* and on-campus employment) SSA* will not process an application for a SSN if it is more than 30 days in advance of the scheduled employment start date.
  • In the case of EAD-based F-1 student employment, the employment start date on the EAD must already have been reached before SSA will process the application for a SSN.
*EAD - Employment Authorization Document - *CPT - Curricular Practical Training - *SSA - Social Security Administration

Documentation requirements for F-1 students

F-1 students are subject to special documentation requirements as well as special immigration status verification rules. You must submit the following as part of your application for a Social Security Number (SSN):
  • F-1 applicants must present:
    • A completed Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card
    • At least two documents that establish your age and identity including a passport and one additional document establishing identity
    • Form I-94
    • SEVIS Form I-20
    • Proof of employment authorization (see section below)
  • Documentation of F-1 employment authorization
    • Social Security Administration (SSA) will issue an SSN only to F-1 students who are authorized to be employed in the United States. The nature of the work authorization documentation submitted to SSA depends on the type of employment eligibility being used by your application for an SSN.
  • Curricular Practical Training
    • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization is reflected on the employment page (page 3) of SEVIS Form I-20. If you apply for an SSN on the basis of CPT, you must present to SSA your Form I-20, properly endorsed by the ISP office for Curricular Practical Training. You also need to show evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:
      • Your job
      • Your employment start date
      • The number of hours you are, or will be, working
      • Your supervisor’s name and telephone number
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) or off-campus employment
    • Optional Practical Training (OPT) and off-campus employment for economic necessity require an F-1 student to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD) from Department of Homeland Security. If you apply for a SSN on the basis of OPT or off-campus employment, you must present your EAD to SSA.
  • On-campus employment
    • F-1 students who apply for an SSN on the basis of on-campus employment will have to present two items:
      • a letter from the ISP office
      • documentation from your on-campus employer

to prove that you are engaging in, or have secured, specific on-campus employment. Print out one of the letters below, ask your employer to issue the identical letter with a letter head and sign for your SSN application, and bring this document to the ISP office.
If the employer is the DSO (Designated School Official) in the ISP office, the letter verifying employment must come from a separate source, e.g., the department or payroll official that issues the paycheck and is responsible for wage reporting.


  Social Security Number Employer Letter - Plain

  Social Security Number Employer Letter - With Heading

  Social Security Number Employer Letter - not COC                                  SSA Office Information​