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Overview and Definition

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9-digit identification number issued by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). An SSN is required by the United States government in some cases for tax and employment reporting purposes. You may only apply for an SSN once you have been activated in the SEVIS system. The Social Security Number (SSN) card is a very important document. Keep the SSN card in a safe place to avoid identity theft. 

 Do not carry your SSN card with you. Just like your passport or I-20, keep it in a safe place. 


  To learn more about what a Social Security Number is please visit the Social Security website


Social Security Numbers are NOT valid forms of work authorization. To learn more about employment as an F-1 student please refer to our Employment Page. 


When can you apply?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recommends that you wait until after your SEVIS record is registered at the start of your program so that your status is updated in all relevant government databases, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) database that the SSA checks as part of the application process. 

If you get employment for on-campus work, you can apply for an SSN after an advisor from ISSS signs the  On-Campus Employment Offer Letter for Social Security Number Application Form.

  To learn how to get the form signed, please refer to our On-Campus Employment page

If approved for CPT by ISSS, you can apply for an SSN 30 days before the start date of your CPT. 

  To learn how to get approved for CPT, please refer to our Curricular Practical Training page. 

If students are submitting an I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, and completed the section in the application to request an SSN card, USCIS will send that data to the Social Security Administration to issue you the SSN. Do not apply for an SSN through the Social Security office separately.

  Students can read more information about this from the Social Security Administration webpage


Application Process

Follow the steps below to avoid problems that may delay your application, this includes obtaining the correct documents, application, and setting up an appointment with the Social Security Administration office in Salt Lake City, UT. The information below is only for students with an On-Campus job for the first time and who do not have a Social Security Number (SSN).


If you have previously been issued an SSN in the U.S., your SSN belongs to you, and you do not need to request a new number. If your on-campus employer only needs to check your immigration status, you can submit an e-form titled, "F-1 Status Verification for On-Campus Employment" in UAtlas. 


For individuals applying for OPT, please refer to the information about obtaining an SSN through the I-765 application process, in other words, the steps below will not be necessary for you.

Application Steps

  1. Work with department/on-campus employer to fill out the On-Campus Employment Offer Letter for Social Security Number Application Form

    The department/on-campus employer will fill out the top portion of the form. Refrain from filling out the ISSS section, this will be filled out by the ISSS advisor.


  1. Login to UAtlas and Go to Employment/Practical Training

    Submit the Social Security Number Application Letter for On-Campus Employment e-form and upload the form to this e-form.

  1. A Designated School Official (DSO) from ISSS will review the request.  Processing time is within 10 business days.

    If further information or documentation is needed, a DSO will contact the student via email or by phone.

  1. Bring Original Form to ISSS Office

    An email will be sent to your University of Utah email (Umail) with instructions to bring the original form to the ISSS office for a wet signature from the DSO during office hours at either the A. Ray Olpin Union Building or Building 124.

  1. Complete SS-5 Application Online

    Once the student has received the signed form from ISSS, they will need to complete the SS-5 application online.
    SS-5 online application

  1. Schedule an Appointment with the Social Security Administration Office

    Students will need to schedule an appointment with the SSA Office. Students can check for the nearest SSA office by clicking on the button below:
    Social security administration office locator

  1. Collect all required documents 

    Please visit the International Students and Social Security Numbers page to read more information regarding the documents required to obtain a social security number.

    The X equals document is required

      On-Campus Employment CPT Employment
    Passport (along with old passport if it contains your F-1 visa) x x
    I-94 x x
    I-20 x x
    Original "On-Campus Employment Offer Letter for Social Security Number Application Form" - ensure it is signed by the Designated School Official.  x  
    Confirmation Page - From the online application, a screen shot or the reference number for your application. x  

  1. Present all needed documents to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in order to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)

  1. Work with your employer/department with next steps after receiving your Social Security Number. 


Last Updated: 3/20/24