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Social Security Number

Current social security regulations require that an F-1 or J-1 student must have a job, before he or she is eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN).

What is a Social Security Number?

A Social Security Number is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and non-immigrants approved to work in the United States to determine their eligibility for Social Security benefits and to report their wages to the federal and state governments for taxation purposes. Therefore, every individual employed in the United States is required to have a Social Security Number.

Eligibility for an SSN

Only students offered employment on campus or off campus are eligible to apply for Social Security Numbers. Please visit this link to learn more about employment options available to F-1 and J-1 students. Students offered employment on campus or off campus must submit proof of employment to Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) to get a letter for the Social Security Number.

If you are a new student coming to the U.S. from abroad for the first time as an F-1 or J-1 student, please wait for at least 10 days from your date of entry into the United States to apply for an SSN. It takes this amount of time for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to transmit your arrival information and immigration status to the Social Security Administration.

Applying for a Social Security Number

You must appear in person at the Social Security Administration Office. Take the following documents with you:

  • Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card.
    • On Question #5, check "Legal Alien Allowed to Work"
    • Use an address that will be good for at least a month. Your card will be sent to this address.
  • Letter from the Office of International Student and Scholars Services certifying that you are an EKU student allowed to work. You can request the letter online here or in person from our office.
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019.
  • I-94 admission record available from Admission (I-94) Number Retrieval page or paper I-94 card.
  • Valid Passport.

The Social Security Administration will send you a receipt showing that your application is in process. After 2-3 weeks you should receive your Social Security Card in the mail at the address you entered on your application. If you do not receive your card in that amount of time, call the social security office and inquire about your application.

If you need to know your social security number before you receive your card in the mail, take your receipt and immigration documents to the social security office. They will tell you what your number is.