Social Security Number (SSN)
Who needs a social security number?
A social security number (SSN) is required for everyone who works in the Unites States, including international students. Social security numbers are issued by the Social Security Administration, a United States government agency.
A social security number is not a work permit. You must have work authorization before beginning any employment.
If you previously had a SSN, but do not have the card or do not remember the number, you can apply for a duplicate card if you meet the eligibility requirements.
International students only become eligible for a SSN once they have been approved for some form of work authorization (e.g., on-campus job, CPT, OPT).
Timeline for SSN Applications
The Social Security Administration is required to verify legal presence in the United States before issuing an SSN. F-1 and J-1 students must be registered full time at CCA.
Students should wait at least two weeks after initial entry into the United States before submitting an application to the Social Security Administration.
You must also have an employment start date that is within 30 days of the day you apply for the SSN. The Social Security Administration may reject or delay your application if you apply too early.
Once you have submitted your application, it generally takes 2 to 3 weeks for you to receive your SSN card in the mail.
Obtaining a Social Security Number
If you have On-Campus Employment
- Step 1: Obtain work authorization. You are considered eligible to apply for a SSN once you have been offered a job on-campus.
- Step 2: Download the Social Security Number Request Form from this page (see Resources)
- Step 3: Have your supervisor complete the top portion of the SSN Request Form. Please note that the Social Security office will not accept a digital signature on the form. They also will not accept a photocopy or scanned copy of the form, so make sure your supervisor gives you the original Social Security Number Request Form once they have signed it.
- Step 4: Make an appointment with an ISAP advisor to get a signature on the SSN letter template.
- Step 5: Go to the Social Security Administration office and submit your application. Our social security card handout has information on where to apply for an SSN and what documents to take with you.
If You Have CPT or OPT Authorization:
- Step 1: Obtain work authorization. You are considered eligible to apply for an SSN under the following circumstances:
- CPT: Once ISAP has given you a new I-20 with CPT authorization on the second page.
- OPT: Once you have received your EAD card from USCIS as proof of approval for OPT.
- Step 2: Go to the Social Security Administration office and submit your application. Our social security card handout has information on where to apply for an SSN and what documents to take with you.
BEWARE OF SCAMS
Please be aware that scammers will try to scare you with threats that something is wrong with your SSN! The Social Security office (SSA) will not call you unexpectedly unless you have put in a request specifically to be called about an issue. The SSA has warning information about scams, which you can find here.
If you receive a call from someone you do not know, do not provide any of your contact information or bank information, and never provide your SSN over the phone. No government official would ask for your SSN over the phone.