All individuals who will be working legally in the U.S. must obtain a Social Security Number. F-1 students must establish that they either are approved for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practical Training or have secured an on-campus job before being eligible to apply for a SSN.

What is a Social Security Number?

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a nine-digit number assigned to an individual to identify his/her record of earnings while employed in the United States. Through this number the employer will make contributions to the employee's Social Security accounts which provide for future retirement and disability benefits. The SSN is also used to track wages and report taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

Having a SSN will make many official procedures easier and faster, such as opening a bank account and getting a driver’s license.

How to Apply for a Social Security Number

Applications for an SSN must be submitted in person to a Social Security Office.  To find the office closest to you, please go to the Social Security Administration Office Locator.

Required Documents

There is no fee for applying for an SSN. However, you must present original documents to establish your identity, immigration status, eligibility to work in the United States, and your  current U.S. address. Notarized photocopies are not accepted and the originals will be returned to you once they are reviewed by the interviewer.

You should bring the following documents with you:

  • A birth certificate or a passport to prove your age and identity.
  • Copy of your I-94
  • Your I-20 or DS-2019 to prove immigrations status and work eligibility.
  • F-1 students who will engage in on-campus employment must also present a letter from the hiring department and a letter from the OIP confirming the job offer (on NDMU letterhead). 
  • F-1 students authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) must be sure to present the third page of the I-20 where CPT is authorized
  • F-1 students authorized for Optional Practical Training (OPT) must present an unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
  • F-1 students who will engage in on-campus employment must also present either a pay stub or a combined letter from the hiring department and OIP confirming the offer of the job. Please note this must be printed on the letterhead of the hiring department.