International Students And Social Security Numbers
Are you temporarily in the United States to attend a college, language, vocational or nonacademic school with a nonimmigrant F-1, M-1 or J-1 student classification? Your school may ask you for your Social Security number. Some colleges and schools use Social Security numbers as student identification numbers. If you do not have a Social Security number, the college or school should be able to give you another identification number.
Social Security numbers are generally assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. Social Security numbers are used to report your wages to the government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. Social Security will not assign you a number just to enroll in a college or school.
What do I have to do to work in the United States?
If you want to get a job on campus, you should contact your designated school official for international students. This official can tell you if you are eligible to work on campus and give you information about available jobs. Also, your school may approve certain limited off-campus employment, as permitted under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations. If your school has authorized you to work either on or off campus, and you meet Social Security’s eligibility requirements described in the next section, you can get a Social Security number.
How do I apply for a Social Security number
In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a Social Security number. We suggest you wait until you are in the United States for at least 10 days before you apply for a Social Security number. Also, you should report to your school prior to applying for a number. Taking these actions will ensure we can verify your immigration status with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
To apply for a Social Security number:
- Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and
- Show us original documents proving your:
- Immigration status;
- Work eligibility;
- Age; and
- Take your completed application and original documents to your local Social Security office.
Reprinted with the permission of the Social Security Administration.
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