For information and regulations about Social Security numbers, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Useful Social Security Administration Publications:
In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number.
There are only two valid nonwork reasons:
These are NOT valid nonwork reasons:
The main use of Social Security numbers (SSN) by businesses and landlords is to check a person’s credit history. International students usually do not have any credit history since they have recently moved to the U.S., so it is useless for businesses to run a credit check on a SSN or to even ask for a SSN.
Many businesses will say that it is a requirement for the customer to provide a SSN. However, this is not true. Social Security numbers are the most common form of identification in the U.S., but they are not the only form of legal acceptable identification.
You must bring ALL these documents, or your application will be denied.
You will need to wait at least 10 days after you enter the country and 48 hours after your record has been activated (registered) in SEVIS for the current term.
Contact the F-1 International Student Advisor to register your SEVIS record. You will need to be registered and confirmed for classes for the current term for your SEVIS record can be registered.
Yes, you can start to work on the approved employment start date without a SSN. However, you will not be able to receive a paycheck without one. When you apply, it is recommend that you ask for a receipt from the SSA to prove that you have applied for a Social Security card.
For more information, please see Employer Responsibilities When Hiring Foreign Workers
You can replace your card for free. You will need to bring the same original documentation used when first applied. Be sure to indicate on the application form that you are applying for a replacement card (question 11: check yes and answer questions 12-13).