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All about Social Security Numbers

Written by Jennifer Oppliger

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a number that identifies U.S. citizens and other selected residents. Noncitizens can generally only receive SSNs if they are employed in the U.S. An SSN is used to track your annual income. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is in charge of the SSN application process.

How do I apply for an SSN if I am working on-campus?

  • Receive an on-campus employment letter.
  • Submit an “SSN/ITIN Support Letter” request in MyISSS.
  • Once you receive the SSN Support Letter, apply for the SSN with the SSA. You will complete an online application and bring some required documents to their office. You can find the online application and required documents on our website HERE.

How long do I have to pick up my Support Letter?

Once your Support Letter is processed, you have three weeks to pick it up from our office. If you do not pick it up during the three-week period, you should request a new letter.

Do I need an SSN to start working?

Nope! You are able to beginning working before you have an SSN. However, ISS does recommend applying for the SSN as soon as you receive a job offer letter.

Do I need an ISS Support Letter for my off-campus employment?

Nope! If you are participating in CPT or OPT, you do not need an ISS Support Letter. You can find more information about applying for an SSN while on CPT or OPT on the ISS website.

Can I apply for an SSN to open up a credit card?

Unfortunately, since SSNs are only given to noncitizens if they are employed in the U.S., you can not apply for an SSN with the sole purpose of applying for a credit card. You will need to be employed to receive an SSN.