Social Security Number (SSN)

Last Updated: June 20, 2023

What is a Social Security Number?

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique identifier used to track payments from work, tax withholding and benefits. Students with F-1 or J-1 student visa status must obtain an (SSN) for employment. Students who do not plan to work while studying are not eligible to receive an SSN.

However, an SSN is NOT work authorization. By itself, it does not grant students any kind of authorization. This page provides the basic steps to apply for an SSN. It assumes that you already have the appropriate work authorization.

You do not need to apply for an SSN again if you already applied through the form I-765 for the following authorizations:

  • F-1 OPT
  • F-1 Economic Hardship Employment Authorization
  • J-2 Employment Authorization

If you did not receive an SSN card within two weeks of the start date of these authorizations, contact ISS immediately.

Once received, an SSN is connected only to you, is permanent and does not change, and does not expire.

Steps to Apply for Social Security Number (SSN)