Social Security Number

An international student needing a first time Social Security Number (SSN) should call the office; provide their name, current mailing address, and a good call back number.  Management will return the call within 1-2 business days. The student will be screened for eligibility to come into to the office for an appointment. Once the appointment is made, the student will need to bring ALL required, original documents, as well as copies with them.

A list of required documentation and other helpful information can be found on this page. Documents provided by students will be reviewed and then scanned into the system to be processed. The student will receive a receipt in the mail within a few days. The receipt can be submitted to the employer as proof of their pending application with SSA. The student will receive the SSN card in the mail with 2 weeks of receipt of a completed application.

The Social Security Number (SSN) will be issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Students who wish to work on campus will need a Social Security Number.  

Are you temporarily in the United States to attend a college, language, vocational, or nonacademic school with a nonimmigrant F-1, M-1, or J-1 student classification? Your school may ask you for your Social Security number. Some colleges and schools use Social Security numbers as student identification numbers. If you don’t have a Social Security number, the college or school should be able to give you another identification number. 

Social Security numbers generally are assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. Social Security numbers are used to report your wages to the government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. Social Security will not assign a number to you just to enroll in a college or school.

If you want to get a job on campus, you should contact your designated school official for international students. This official can tell you if you’re eligible to work on campus and can give you information about available jobs. Also, your school may approve certain limited off-campus employment, as permitted under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations. If your school has authorized you to work either on or off campus, and you meet Social Security’s eligibility requirements described in the next section, y

Link to SSN pdf
F-1 students are eligible for an SSN only with an employment offer. Students are required to submit a job offer letter (signed by the employer), and other required documentation to ISS for authorization.  ISS will provide the student with a letter to take to the SSA office.

J-1 students are eligible to apply for a SSN with or without an employment offer. Students needing an SSN to work on-campus, will need proper authorization from ISS. Students are required to submit the job offer letter (signed by the employer), and other required documentation to ISS authorization. J-1 students are also eligible to obtain a SSN without a job offer letter. They must submit a request for a “No Employment Letter”. ISS will provide the student with an endorsed letter to be taken to the SSA office.

Current sponsored students are strongly advised to contact your sponsor to ensure that your work does not violate the conditions of your sponsorship. Failure to obtain the consent of your sponsor about your employment may impact your funding. Texas A&M University will notify your sponsor that you have requested and received authorization to work.
After you have received the proper work authorization document from ISS, you will need to complete an SSN application form and take all of the documents listed below to your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office:
  • SSN Application completed using blue or black ink: The SSN Application Form and Instructions are available online.
  • Original I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) and a photocopy,
  • Original I-94 card and a photocopy,
  • Original passport and a photocopy of the picture page, the page showing the expiration date, and your U.S. visa stamp,
  • ISS letter issued for the Student as part of their SSN Request
  • Employment offer letter issued by the hiring department, on the hiring department’s letterhead.  To comply with the Social Security Office rules, the following must be included in the job offer letter on the hiring department’s letterhead:
    • Student name (as it is listed on the student’s passport)
    • Department
    • Position/Title
    • Start Date ((No more than 30 days in the future at the time of application)
    • Number of Hours per week
    • Rate of pay
    • Contact information for employer and supervisor
    • Employment identification number (EIN) (if possible) (This number can be requested from the payroll office of the hiring department.)
A sample letter for employers and departments can be downloaded here.
In order to be issued a social security card, your data must appear in a database the SSA office uses to verify your legal non-immigrant status.
  • It generally takes 12-15 days after the Port of Entry date stamped on your I-20 or DS-2019 for the Port of Entry officials to enter your information in the database. Because of this, the SSA Office encourages you not to submit your SSN application until you have been in the U.S. at least 12-15 days.
  • If you choose to submit your application early and your data is not yet in the database, your application will then be forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for further review which usually adds an additional 2-6 weeks to the normal processing of your social security application.
  • If you apply for the SSN 12-15 days after arriving in the U.S., it will take approximately 2 weeks for the social security card to arrive at the mailing address on the SSN application form. Going to the SSA Office to check on the status of the application will not help, since once it is submitted, the process is not in the hands of local officials. Therefore, please DO NOT inquire about the status of an application before the end of 6 weeks.
The address you use on your SSN application is very important. An incomplete or wrong address, or one sent to a friend's house will prevent the U.S. Postal Service from delivering your social security card and it will send it back to the SSA.
DO NOT use the term "c/o" as part of the address. ISS advises students to apply for an SSN only after they get a permanent address.

If you are having trouble with verifying your immigration status with the Social Security Administration, check the SAVE System to see the status of your immigration verification with DHS. 
Applying for a benefit or license with a federal, state, or local government agency?
Agencies may need to verify your immigration status to process your application. To verify your status, they use the SAVE Program. CaseCheck, a free and fast service, lets you follow the progress of your SAVE verification case online as often as you like.

Visit for additional information.

The office hours: 

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9:00am – 4:00pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am – 12:00pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: CLOSED

Contact Information:
Toll Free: 1 (866) 568-9428
TTY: 1 (800) 325-0778
Location: 2120 West Briargate Drive,Bryan,TX 77802

Working While Awaiting a Social Security Number (SSN):

An F-1 or J-1 student may work while the SSN application is being processed.  Employers may wish to reference Social Security Administration’s (SSA) fact sheet, Employer Responsibilities When Hiring Foreign Workers.  This fact sheet contains information on how to report wages for an employee who has not yet received an SSN and is available online at

See IRS guidance “Delays in Issuing SSNs to Aliens by the Social Security Administration” at
Also, please refer to the U.S. Dept of Labor, or your state Dept of Labor, for laws regarding timely payment for work performed. See