USKlogo University of Saint Katherine

Social Security Number

Overview

A Social Security number (SSN) is issued to track earnings over a worker’s lifetime. Students holding F-1 status who are employed in the U.S. must apply for a Social Security number. Dependents in F-2 status are not eligible for a Social Security number.

In order to issue a Social Security number, the Social Security Administration requires evidence that you are eligible to work in the U.S., that you are a full-time student, and that you have received a formal offer of on-campus employment, or have been authorized for off campus employment through Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training. A Social Security number is not required to obtain a driver’s license, cell phone, credit card, insurance, admission to an academic institution or other “non-work” reasons. The Social Security Administration must also verify your immigration documents and status with Immigration before issuing the Social Security number. Note that new students may not apply for an SSN earlier than 10 business days after arriving in the U.S. The Social Security number itself is not a work permit.

The Social Security Administration office nearest USK is located at 367 Via Vera Cruz, San Marcos, CA 92078.

 

Application Process

F-1 Students with On-Campus Employment

Apply in person at a local Social Security Administration office. Apply no earlier than 30 days before your scheduled employment start date. Bring with you:

  • Completed and signed ISS Social Security Verification Form
  • Form I-20
  • Valid passport (along with old passport if it contains your F-1 visa)
  • I-94 card; or, a copy of your F-1 admission stamp in your passport and a printout of your electronic I-94 information, which can be obtained at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/
  • Form SS-5

F-1 Students Authorized for Curricular Practical Training

Apply for a Social Security number in person at a local Social Security Administration office. Apply no earlier than 30 days before your scheduled employment start date. Bring with you:

  • Form I-20 (updated and endorsed for practical training)
  • Passport
  • I-94 card; or, a copy of your F-1 admission stamp in your passport and a printout of your electronic I-94 information, which can be obtained at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/
  • Form SS-5

F-1 Students Authorized for Optional Practical Training

Apply for a Social Security number in person at a local Social Security Administration office. Apply on or after the start date on your EAD card. Bring with you:

  • Form I-20 (updated and endorsed for practical training)
  • Passport
  • I-94 card; or, a copy of your F-1 admission stamp in your passport and a printout of your electronic I-94 information, which can be obtained at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/
  • EAD card
  • Form SS-5

Helpful Websites

  • Social Security Numbers for non-citizens
  • Applications for a Social Security Card
  • F-1 Students Social Security and Tax Issues

Frequently Asked Questions

There is no charge for a Social Security number and card.

The Social Security Administration will mail your number and card as soon as all of your immigration information has been verified. It can take 2-4 weeks or more.

You can replace your card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in nonimmigrant status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. To request a replacement card:

  • Complete an Application for A Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
  • Present recently issued photo identification to show your identity (passport, California state identification card)
  • Show evidence of your current lawful nonimmigrant status (visa, I-20, I-94)
  • Complete a new Social Security Verification form (if you are employed on campus)

Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.

If your immigration status changes or you become a legal permanent resident (LPR), you should inform the Social Security Administration office so that your records can be updated. You will need to present documents that prove your new status.

As a student in F-1 status, your earnings from authorized employment are generally not taxable for social security purposes.

Please review the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publications 515 and 519 for details about employment taxes payable on the earnings of nonresident aliens.

As long as you have authorization (on-campus work, CPT, or OPT), yes: you can start to work while your SSN application is still processing. You should ensure your employer follows the correct instructions for allowing you to begin work without the SSN. The Social Security Administration’s publication, “Foreign Workers and Social Security Numbers,” has additional information.

admissions@usk.edu
760-471-1316

277 Rancheros Drive, Suite 200
San Marcos, CA 92069