Social Security Number (SSN)
A Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9-digit identification number, assigned by the U.S. government, that is used for tax reporting purposes. It is NOT employment authorization.
Non-US citizens are legally required to provide a US SSN:
- For wage and tax reporting purposes
- For tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
However, banks, apartment owners, telephone companies, and many other businesses typically ask you for a SSN even though you may not be eligible for one. Those businesses should be able to provide you services without a SSN. If they persist, the ISSSO can write a generic letter explaining why you are not eligible for a SSN and therefore, why they should not deny you their service.
As an F or J student, you are eligible for a SSN if you have an actual job offer. Students who have never worked on campus, but who find authorized employment off campus (like CPT or OPT) are also eligible to apply for a SSN. Persons with F-2, H-4, B-1 or B-2 status may not be employed and cannot obtain a SSN.