“Social Security” number for International Students


A Social Security Number (SSN) is a nine-digit number assigned to individuals working in the United States. This number is used to track earnings by the employer and report wages for tax purposes to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Sometimes students think that just having a Social Security number entitles them to work anywhere. IT DOES NOT!

If you are in a valid F-1 status, you may work on campus without separate immigration work authorization, but the Internal Revenue Service requires the University to have your Social Security Number in order to employ you in the U.S.


As an F-1 visa holder, you must be maintaining your immigration status and you must also establish that you have an on-campus job offer, have been approved for Curricular Practical Training, or are eligible for Optional Practical Training.  A Designated School Official (DSO) at the International Student Services (ISS) office to obtain an F-1 visas,will help you with the application paperwork.

Required documents for Social Security application:

  • If you have secured on-campus employment, the DSO will provide you with a  letter specifying your eligibility for on-campus employment.
  • You will also need a letter verifying the employment offer originated from the employment office (Center for Career Services) that states your job, your employment start date, the number of hours you will be working, and your supervisor’s name and telephone number.
  • You will also need to pick up two documents from the Registrar’s Office:
    • A Copy of your Class Schedule
    • A Letter of Enrollment Verification
  • Go in person to one of the Social Security Offices in the area.
  • Bring the documents mentioned above plus:
    • Your I-20, Passport, Visa (if you have one), I-94, and another piece of picture identification (ex. Marymount ID Card)
  • Complete the SSN Application. The administrator will interview and ask you a few routine questions. They will also make copies of your immigration documents. Make sure that your I-20, Passport, and I-94 are returned to you before you leave the office.
  • The administrator will give you a receipt of proof that you have applied for the SSN.  You must show this receipt to Human Resources (HR) before you may begin employment on-campus.
  • Your Social Security Card will not be given to you immediately. It will be mailed to your address.  Once you have received your Social Security Card, you will need to show the Social Security Card to Human Resources if you are working on campus.