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Social Security Number

In the U.S. a Social Security number (SSN) is issued to track earnings over a worker’s lifetime. F-1 and J-1 students who are employed in the U.S. must apply for an SSN.  International students who are unemployed are ineligible for an SSN.

  • If you have been issued an SSN from a previous time in the U.S., your SSN number belongs to you and you do not need to request a new number.

  • If you lost your SSN card and you are currently employed or have secured an on-campus job, you may need to start the SSN process again with the ISSC and then submit the replacement card request to the Social Security Administration.

  • If you are a J-1 student with DS-2019 that is not issued by ASU, please contact your J-1 program sponsor for further guidance on how to apply for an SSN.

An SSN is not an off-campus employment authorization and an SSN is not required to open a bank account, rent an apartment, start a mobile phone contract or get a credit card.

How to Apply for Social Security Number

For F-1 new or transfer students

  1. After arrival to ASU, complete SEVIS mandatory check-in. You should submit a SEVIS New Student Check-in eForm.

  2. Enroll full-time at ASU.

  3. Ask your department/employer for an on-campus Employment Offer letter. As of July 24, 2019, the ISSC and SSA will only accept an Employment Offer letter using this template.  *This template may not be fillable in all browsers and should be opened in either the Chrome or Microsoft Edge.*  The DSO signature and name should be left blank.

  4. From the istart homepage, click on the F-1/J-1 Student Services to complete the Certification Request for a Social Security Number Application eForm.  You will upload your employment offer letter to this eForm.  Processing time may take up to 10 business days after we have received the completed request.

    NOTE for F-1 Students: The Social Security Administration will need to verify your status through their database.  Verification relies on two critical actions:

      • Your arrival in the US:  It takes 10 days for the SSA database to be updated after your arrival in the US. This applies to anytime you re-enter the U.S. from abroad as you will receive a new I-94 admission number.
      • Your activation in the SEVIS system.  New students and students returning from a leave of absence must complete the SEVIS New Student Check-in before your record can be activated in the SEVIS system.  Once active, it will take approximately 3 days for the SSA database to be updated.
  5. Once approved, bring your Employment Offer letter to the ISSC for certification.
  6. Apply for a social security number at a Social Security Card Center.

You will need to take the following documents to a Social Security Card Center:

  • Original Employment Offer letter certified by the ISSC

  • Completed SSN application.  You only need to print and bring page 5. 

  • Passport

  • I-94

  • Most current Continued Attendance I-20 

After meeting with a social security representative, you will receive a receipt for your transaction.

Once you receive your SSN in the mail, please contact ASU Human Resources or Aramark/Follett Human Resources, so that they can update your record accordingly.

For F-1 current students

  1. Enroll full-time at ASU.

  2. Ask your department/employer for an on-campus Employment Offer letter. As of July 24, 2019, the ISSC and SSA will only accept an Employment Offer letter using this template.  *This template may not be fillable in all browsers and should be opened in either the Chrome or Microsoft Edge.*  The DSO signature and name should be left blank.

  3. From the istart homepage, click on the F-1/J-1 Student Services to complete the Certification Request for a Social Security Number Application eForm.  You will upload your employment offer letter to this eForm.  Processing time may take up to 10 business days after we have received the completed request.

  4. Once approved, bring your Employment Offer letter to the ISSC for certification.
  5. Apply for a social security number at a Social Security Card Center.

You will need to take the following documents to a Social Security Card Center:
  • Original Employment Offer letter certified by the ISSC

  • Completed SSN application. You only need to print and bring page 5. 

  • Passport

  • I-94

  • Most current I-20 

After meeting with a social security representative you will receive a receipt for your transaction.

Once you receive your SSN in the mail, please contact ASU Human Resources or Aramark/Follett Human Resources so that they can update your record accordingly.

For F-1 CPT and OPT students

You do not need additional certification from the ISSC in order to apply for a social security number.  You will be able to apply for a social security number using your CPT I-20 or OPT EAD card.

  • For CPT, you will not be able to apply for an SSN more than 30 days before the employment start date listed on your CPT I-20.

  • For OPT, you will not be able to apply for an SSN before the employment start date on your OPT EAD card.

You will need to take the following documents to a Social Security Card Center near you:

  • Original employment offer letter from your employer

  • Completed SSN application. You only need to print and bring page 5. 

  • Passport

  • I-94

  • Most current OPT I-20 or CPT I-20

  • EAD card (for OPT students only)

For J-1 students (DS-2019 issued by ASU)

  1. Enroll full-time at ASU.

  2. Ask your department/employer for an on-campus Employment Offer letter. The letter template can be found under Document Requests. As of July 24, 2019, the ISSC and SSA will only accept an Employment Offer letter using this template.  *This template may not be fillable in all browsers and should be opened in either the Chrome or Microsoft Edge.*  The DSO signature and name should be left blank.

  3. Receive approval from your sponsor and complete and submit the J-1 On-campus Employment Authorization eForm.

  4. From the istart homepage, click on the F-1/J-1 Student Services to complete the Certification Request for a Social Security Number Application eForm. You will upload your employment offer letter to this eForm.  Processing time may take up to 10 business days after we have received the completed request.

  5. Once approved, bring your Employment Offer letter to the ISSC for certification.
  6. Apply for a social security number at a Social Security Card Center.

You will need to take the following documents to a Social Security Card Center:
  • Original Employment Offer letter certified by the ISSC

  • Completed SSN application. You only need to print and bring page 5. 

  • Passport

  • I-94

  • Most current DS-2019

After meeting with a social security representative you will receive a receipt for your transaction.

Once you receive your SSN in the mail, please contact ASU Human Resources or Aramark/Follett Human Resources so that they can update your record accordingly.

For J-1 students (DS-2019 not issued by ASU)

Contact your J-1 program sponsor for further guidance on how to apply for an SSN.

For J-1 Academic Training students

You do not need additional certification from the ISSC in order to apply for a social security number. You will be able to apply for a social security number using your Academic Training DS-2019.

You will need to take the following documents to a Social Security Card Center near you:

  • Original employment offer letter from your employer
  • Passport
  • I-94
  • Academic Training DS-2019 and Academic Training letter