Social Security Number

Applying for a Social Security Number

Step 1: Proof of Employment and Work Authorization

In order to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) and card, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires F-1 students to provide proof of valid F-1 status, proof of employment and of work authorization. Required documents vary depending on the job.

If your first U.S. job is on campus:

  • Have your employer provide you with a letter using the template of On-Campus Employment Offer Letter.
  • Take the letter to the UT Dallas Career Center for a signature.
  • Go to the International Student Services Office (ISSO) and request a SSN letter. You will need information from the Career Center letter to complete the request form.
  • Processing time is one business day. You will receive an email from the ISSO when the letter is ready for pickup.

If your first U.S. job is Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

  • You are not required to produce a job offer letter.
  • Your CPT I-20 serves as proof of employment eligibility.
  • When you request the CPT Authorization, also request a SSN letter.
  • Processing time is one business day. You will receive an email from the ISSO when the I-20 and letter are ready for pickup.

If your first U.S. job is Optional Practical Training (OPT):

  • You are not required to produce a job offer letter.
  • Your OPT I-20 and OPT Employment Authorization Document (EAD) serve as proof of employment eligibility.
  • When you receive the EAD card, you can request a SSN letter from ISS Office. Please note that the Social Security Administration will not allow you to apply for the SSN until on or after the start date on the EAD.
  • Processing time is one business day. You will receive an email from the ISSO when the letter is ready for pickup.

Step 2: The Social Security Office

Take all the following to a Social Security Administration Office:

  • Documents from STEP 1
  • Passport, F-1/J-1 visa and I-94
  • Form I-20/DS-2019

*We suggest you take the originals and a copy of your immigration documents.

At the Social Security Administration Office, you will be given a short form to complete and the clerk will check your immigration documents. You can also complete the form online in advance and bring it with you to the SSA office. The SSN card will be mailed to the address you list on the form.

The process usually takes two to three weeks, though it can be longer if your immigration documents require further inspection. If you use the ISS Office address, we will email you on the day we receive your card.

When To Apply

The following are Social Security Administration application limits. If you apply too early your application could be delayed or denied.

  • Newly arrived: At least 10 days after arrival in the U.S.
  • CPT: 30 days or less before the CPT start date
  • OPT: On or after the EAD start date

Social Security Administration Office

The SSA Office located closest to UT Dallas is:

10824 N. Central Expressway
Dallas, Texas 75231
1-800-772-1213 (phone)

You can conveniently use public transportation to reach the SSA Office.

  • Take the DART campus shuttle to the George Bush Turnpike DART rail station.
  • Ride the DART rail station to the Walnut Hill train stop.
  • Take the 502 DART bus to the Social Security Administration Office.

To plan your trip, please visit the DART website for current schedule.

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