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Social Security Number

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Social Security Administration has closed its offices until further notice.

Can I start my job or internship before I receive a Social Security Number?

As long as you have authorization from the International Center (on-campus work, CPT, or OPT), you can start working without a Social Security Number (SSN). Be sure 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.

As soon as Social Security Administration offices re-opens, you may apply for your SSN immediately.

A Social Security number (SSN) is a unique, nine-digit identification number issued by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). International students, scholars, and in some instances, dependents, may apply for an SSN if they are legally employed in the U.S.


  • F-1 and J-1 students with an on-campus job offer
    • Full-time enrollment or approved Reduced Course Load required
  • F-1 students on CPT or OPT
    • CPT I-20 or OPT EAD card required with start date within 30 days
  • J-1 students on Academic Training
  • J-1 Scholars employed by Illinois Tech
  • H-1B workers employed by Illinois Tech
  • J-2 dependents with an EAD

Note: If you are an J-1 student sponsored by IIE/Fulbright or another organization, you must contact the sponsoring organization or institution for instructions on how to apply for an SSN.

F-2, H-4 and TD visa holders are not eligible to apply for a Social Security number.

Documents to Bring to the SSA Office

  1. Passport with visa (Canadian citizens are visa exempt)
  2. Proof of current status
    • Form DS-2019, if in J-1 status or Form I-20, if in F-1 status
    • Form I-797, if in H-1B, TN, or O-1 status
    • EAD card, if in J-2, F-1/OPT, or pending Permanent Residency
  3.  I-94 electronic printout or I-94 card
  4. Letter of job offer addressed to you from employer/department
    • F-1/J-1 students with on-campus employment will receive a letter as part of the hiring process
  5. Social Security Application Form