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Office of International Student Services

U.S. Social Security Number

  • An F-1 student who obtains employment authorization in the United States (U.S.) under the provisions of the F-1 regulations must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) to report income and pay the required taxes to the U.S. government.
  • The SSN is not required for other purposes, such as opening a bank account or renting an apartment off campus. To establish your identity, banks will ask for a taxpayer identification number, such as a SSN. In the absence of a SSN, you may provide a passport number. If you are asked for a SSN by a prospective landlord, cell phone company, or other private businesses, you may provide alternate evidence of your identity and records of your financial transactions.
  • Do not apply for a SSN until you have fulfilled the initial reporting requirement at the Office of International Student Services (OISS) to have your SEVIS record activated, and until you have obtained the necessary employment-authorization documents.

How long will it take to get a SSN?

This depends on how long it takes for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to verify your immigration documents before assigning a SSN. If the SSA receives immediate online verification from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), your SSN will arrive in about 2 weeks.

WARNING! Do not become a victim of identity theft!

Do not provide your SSN, credit card information, password, or other personal information through unverified, unsecured sites on the Internet or over the telephone. If someone has misused your SSN or other personal information to create credit or other problems for you, the SSA cannot resolve these problems. You should contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).

You also should monitor your credit report periodically. Free credit reports are available online at www.annualcreditreport.com.

For more information:

www.ssa.gov

OISS ~ Pepperdine University ~ October 1, 2008