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Social Security Number

You must be able to prove that you are legally authorized for employment and have a job before you are allowed to apply for a Social Security number.

F-1 Student Checklist for Obtaining a Social Security Card

1. Obtain proof of both employment and work authorization. Proof types vary according to the type of employment listed below:

On-Campus employment:

  • An on-campus employment letter from NOVA Human Resources.

Curricular Practical Training:

  • I-20 with CPT authorization and signature on page 3.

Optional Practical Training, International Organizations and Severe Economic Hardship:

  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD card).

2.  Collect the following documents and take them to the Social Security Administration Office to apply for your card. There are many other Social Security offices in the region. Please see the Social Security Office Locator for locations.

Required Documents

  • SS-5 Application for a Social Security Card
  • Proof of employment authorization
  • Proof of employment if you are employed on-campus
  • I-20
  • I-94 card or proof of change of status to F-1 (I-797 Notice of Action)
  • Passport
  • F-1 Visa

3.  Your Social Security card will be mailed to you within three months. In the meantime your employer's Human Resources office will probably want to see your receipt showing that you have applied for a card.

4.  After receiving your Social Security card, give a copy to your employer and keep it in a safe place. The Social Security Administration advises that you should not carry your card with you.