Applying for a Social Security Number

Who is eligible for a Social Security Number?

In general, all nonimmigrants must have permission to work in the U.S. in order to apply for a Social Security number.  This handout is specific for F-1 and J-1 students, J-1 Scholars/Professors, and employees in H-1B Status.

How do I apply for a Social Security Number?

For F-1 and J-1 Students

Only those eligible to work may apply for a Social Security number. This will include F-1's; J-1's, with permission from the sponsor; and J-2's with authorization from USCIS. F-2's cannot apply for a Social Security number because they are not eligible to work.
In order to apply for a Social Security number you must:

  1. Have been offered employment.  The hiring department must complete the "Verification of Employment for Social Security".  This letter must be printed out on departmental letterhead. 
  2. Be enrolled in a full course of study.
  3. Report to  International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) so that your SEVIS record can be registered. This could take 5 business days.

The student will bring the Verification of Employment for Social Security letter to ISSS. ISSS will verify full-time enrollment by providing a Verification of Employment Eligibility letter.

The student will then take the following documents to the Social Security Administration to apply for a Social Security number.

  1. The Verification of Employment for Social Security letter (from hiring department)
  2. The Verification of Employment Eligibility for Social Security letter (from ISSS)
  3. Your passport and I-94 Admission Number (from www.cbp.gov/i94)
  4. Your I-20 or DS-2019
  5. For J-1 students, if your sponsor is other than Kansas State University, you must bring a copy of a letter from your sponsor stating that you have permission to work.
For J-1 Scholars and Professors and Employees in H-1B Status

J-1 Scholars can apply for a Social Security number 1 business day after checking in with ISSS.  Those on H-1B can apply for a Social Security number 1 business day after entering the U.S.  Please take the following documents.

  1. A letter from your employing department that states you will be employed at K-State.  The letter must specify your start date.
  2. Your passport
  3. Your I-94.  You can print this out at www.cbp.gov/i94.
  4. Your DS-2019 (for J-1 scholars or professors) or I-797 Approval Notice (for H-1B specialty workers)