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Graduate International Student Admissions

Social Security Number

Applying for a Social Security Number

A social security number is required to work in the US. F-1 students who are eligible to work may apply for a social security number (SSN).

Step 1: Proof of Employment and Work Authorization

To apply for an SSN, F-1 students must provide to the Social Security Administration (SSA) the following:  proof of valid F-1 status, proof of employment and proof of work authorization.

If your first US job is on-campus:

  • Request the hiring department to provide you with a job offer letter using the On-Campus Employment Offer Letter template.
  • Submit the On-Campus Employment Offer Letter to the graduate international student advisor for a signature.
  • Processing time is one business day. You will receive an email when the letter is available to be picked up.

If your first US job is Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

  • You do not require the On-Campus Employment Offer Letter.
  • Your CPT Form I-20 and internship job offer letter serve as proof of employment eligibility.

If your first US job is Optional Practical Training (OPT):

  • You do not require the On-Campus Employment Offer Letter.
  • Your OPT Form I-20 and OPT Employment Authorization card (EA card) serve as proof of employment eligibility.

Step 2: The Social Security Office

Take all the following documents to the local Social Security Administration Office:

*It is recommended that you take the originals and copies of your immigration documents.

Allow 2-3 weeks for an SSN application to be processed. Note that processing time may be longer if your immigration documents require further inspection. Your SSN card will be mailed to the address you provide on the Form SS-5. If you enter the Office of Graduate Admissions address, you will be notified by email when the card arrives.

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 in the US:  Wait at least 10 days after your arrival in the US before applying for an SSN. Also ensure that your SEVIS I-20 record has been in ACTIVE status for at least 2 days. Contact the graduate international student advisor.
  • CPT: 30 days or less before the CPT start date
  • OPT: On or after the EAD start date

Social Security Administration Office

The address and office hours of the local SSA Office are:

5509 S Donnybrook Ave.
Tyler, TX 75703

Monday - Friday:  9:00am - 3:30pm

Phone Numbers:
Local Number:  1-877-319-5707
National Toll-Free:  1-800-772-1213