Social security number

A Social Security number is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents. Interntional students, faculty, staff, and scholars may obtain a Social Security Numbers (SSN) if they hold employment.

How to Apply

IMPORTANT: ISSS has been notified that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is currently closed to foot traffic but operating on a limited basis. Applicants may call that office directly with questions about their Social Security Number. If the SSA is requesting certain physical documents for the application, please contact ISSS directly.

Students who are working on-campus at this time can obtain their Temporary Control Number (TCN) from the iCard office. This number allows students to be paid temporarily.

Step 1

Instructions for new international students only:

  • The current semester must have already started and your SEVIS record should be “Active.” Check if your record has been switched to “Active” by logging in to https://sunapsis.illinois.edu/. It takes about one week after the semester has started for your SEVIS information to be updated at the Social Security office. We recommend going to the office after the 10th day of classes.
  • Claim your Temporary Control Number (TCN) and submit to your hiring unit. Students have already been assigned this number. If you don’t know your number, please go to the i-card office to obtain it. You may be paid for employment using this number, but must still apply for a Social Security number (SSN) since this number is temporary.

Step 2

Determine your eligibility to apply for a Social Security Number. Students must:

  • Be employed or have an offer of future employment
  • Have completed check-in procedures at International Student and Scholar Services
  • Have been in the U.S. for at least 10 days
  • Be registered for classes

Step 3

Prepare your application materials:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Most recent I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 print out (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov)
  • Completed Social Security application form (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf)
  • ISSS letter of eligibility (In order to obtain this letter, you must bring a letter verifying your employment or an earning statement and your I-20 or DS-2019 to the ISSS Front desk - document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office)
  • Earning statement or letter on department letterhead verifying employment (document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office)
    1. Identity of student employee
    2. Job description
    3. Anticipated or actual employment start date
    4. Number of hours student is expected to work
    5. Employer identification number (EIN) (37-6000511 for Illinois)
    6. Employer contact information, telephone number, and name of student’s immediate supervisor
    7. Original signature
    8. Signatory’s title
    9. Date

F-1 students are required to be registered for classes in order to obtain a letter of eligibility. J-1 students whose DS-2019 was not issued by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign must obtain an eligibility letter from their J-1 program sponsor.

Step 4

Apply:

Your Social Security Number is tied to your identity and financial background. To avoid risk of identity theft, take care to keep your Social Security Number secure and private. Do not carry your Social Security card with you (keep it at home, in a safe place) and do not list your Social Security Number on forms or share it with others unless absolutely necessary.

Step 1

Determine your eligibility to apply for a Social Security Number. Students must:

  • Be employed or have an offer of future employment
  • Have completed check-in procedures at International Student and Scholar Services
  • Have been in the U.S. for at least 10 days
  • Be registered for classes

Step 2

Prepare your application materials:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Most recent I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 print out (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov)
  • Completed Social Security application form (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf)
  • ISSS letter of eligibility (In order to obtain this letter, you must bring a letter verifying your employment or an earning statement and your I-20 or DS-2019 to the ISSS Front desk - document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office)
  • Earning statement or letter on department letterhead verifying employment (document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office)
    1. Identity of student employee
    2. Job description
    3. Anticipated or actual employment start date
    4. Number of hours student is expected to work
    5. Employer identification number (EIN) (37-6000511 for Illinois)
    6. Employer contact information, telephone number, and name of student’s immediate supervisor
    7. Original signature
    8. Signatory’s title
    9. Date

F-1 students are required to be registered for classes in order to obtain a letter of eligibility. J-1 students whose DS-2019 was not issued by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign must obtain an eligibility letter from their J-1 program sponsor.

Step 3

Apply:

Your Social Security Number is tied to your identity and financial background. To avoid risk of identity theft, take care to keep your Social Security Number secure and private. Do not carry your Social Security card with you (keep it at home, in a safe place) and do not list your Social Security Number on forms or share it with others unless absolutely necessary.

Step 1

Determine your eligibility to apply for a Social Security Number. Students must:

  • Be employed or have an offer of future employment and have CPT, OPT or AT authorization

Step 2

Prepare your application materials:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Most recent I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 print out (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov)
  • Completed Social Security application form (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf)
  • Offer letter from your employer (Document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at the Social Security Office).
  • Earning statement or letter on department letterhead verifying employment (document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office)
  • EAD card (for F-1 OPT only)
  • AT letter (for J-1 AT only)

Step 3

Apply:

Your Social Security Number is tied to your identity and financial background. To avoid risk of identity theft, take care to keep your Social Security Number secure and private. Do not carry your Social Security card with you (keep it at home, in a safe place) and do not list your Social Security Number on forms or share it with others unless absolutely necessary.

Step 1

Determine your eligibility to apply for a Social Security Number:

  • J‐1 scholars must complete check‐in procedures at International Student and Scholar Services and then wait 3‐4 business days before applying.
  • Other statuses must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 2 days before applying.
  • You must be receiving funds from the University of Illinois OR another U.S entity to be eligible for a Social Security Number.

Step 2

Prepare your application materials:

  • Completed application form (Form SS‐5), available at the Social Security Office or socialsecurity.gov
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I‐94 admission number (available online at cbp.gov/I94)
  • DS‐2019 (J’s) or a copy of the I‐797 (H’s, O’s, etc.)*

*J‐1 student interns (See box 4 of your DS‐2019) must also provide a Student Intern Letter from ISSS.

Step 3

Apply:

Your Social Security Number is tied to your identity and financial background. To avoid risk of identity theft, take care to keep your Social Security Number secure and private. Do not carry your Social Security card with you (keep it at home, in a safe place) and do not list your Social Security Number on forms or share it with others unless absolutely necessary.


Downloadable Instructions

The instructions are also availble as PDFs. Click the appropriate link below to download the instruction sheet on how to apply for a social security number.