Can F-1 Visa Holders Get A Social Security Number?
May 3, 2023

Can F-1 Visa Holders Get A Social Security Number?

US Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are nine-digit identification numbers issued by the Social Security Administration to every worker in the United States. There are three pieces that make up this nine-digit number. The first component is a three-digit Area Number that is given to each holder based on where they live. The second component is a pair of numbers, the Group Number, that can be any value between 01 and 99. The first digit of the assigned group number is always an odd number between 1 and 9, and the other digits are always even values between 10 and 98. The final part of the group number is the serial number, and it consists of the last four digits in a sequential order from 0001 to 9999.

Purpose of a Social Security Number

For purposes of tax and employment reporting in the United States, a social security number by state is required. Form must be completed by employees or students who have received scholarship funds and must report them as income.

Are F-1 Visa Holders Eligible for Social Security Numbers?

In general, F-1 visa holders are not eligible for a US Social Security Number (SSN) unless they are authorized to work in the United States.
However, there are some limited circumstances in which an F-1 visa holder may be eligible for an SSN without being authorized to work. For example, if the student needs to open a bank account or receive a scholarship that requires an SSN, they may be able to obtain a Social Security Number for such purposes.
If the F-1 visa holder is authorized to work in the United States, such as through on-campus employment or optional practical training (OPT), they are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number.
If you are planning to apply for SSN as an F-1 visa holder, make sure you have a job lined up before you start the application process. After you’ve secured employment, prepare the paperwork necessary to apply for a Social Security number (SSN) at your local Social Security Administration office.

Eligibility Requirements For A Social Security Number

The eligibility criteria for the SSN for F-1 visa holders is as follows:

  • The student is eligible for working in the US
  • The student is studying full-time in the US
  • Have either one of the following before applying for SSN:
  • On-campus work offer
  • Permission to Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
  • Permission to Academic Practical Training
  • Permission to Optional Practical Training (OPT)

How To Get A Social Security Number?

To apply for a Social Security Number, the F-1 visa holder must visit a Social Security Administration (SSA) office in person and provide the necessary documentation, including their passport, I-20 form, and employment authorization documentation (if applicable).
The applicant must ensure that all the documents submitted during the Social Security Number application process are original, not photocopied and not notarized. All the documents should be recently updated.
The requirements of applying for an SSN can be narrowed down to the following:

Verifying Your Age

You must present your birth certificate in order to verify your age. Additional documents, such as a US hospital record of your birth at the time of your birth, a religious record created before the age of five that proves your date of birth, your final adoption decree stating that your date of birth was taken from your original birth certificate, or your passport, may be required in certain circumstances.

Authenticating Your Identity

You must present an acceptable form of identification. It is expected that the documents you submit to prove your identity will include your legal name and biographical details such as your age, date of birth, parents’ names, etc. In addition, you must provide physical proof of your identity, such as a photograph or a description of your height, physique, birthmarks, eye colour, etc. You are required to provide the following identification:

  • A US issued driver’s license
  • A US issued non-driver identity card
  • A US passport

In the event that you are unable to obtain any of the above documents within the next 10 business days, you may submit documents such as a US military identification card, Certificate of Naturalization, employee identification card, certified copy of medical reports, medical/insurance card, or school identification card. You may submit the medical records maintained by the medical provider for minors.

  • Evidence Proving US Citizenship
  • In short, you are required to simply provide your US birth certificate, or US passport.
  • Evidence Proving Immigration Status

Form I-551, I-94, or I-766, issued by the Department of Homeland Security, must be provided to prove your immigration status. For an F-1 visa student, supporting documents such as Form I-20, DS-2019, an authorization letter from your school or employer or a sponsor letter are required.

Tracking Your Social Security Number Application

You can easily check the Social Security Number application through Electronic Records Express (ERE). There are multiple criterias to look for your application on the search submission page. Select the criteria to look for your application with within the past 180 calendar days, including;

  • Tracking Number
  • Request ID (RQID)
  • Claimant’s SSN
  • Date of Submission
  • Status of Submission

You can also consult with an immigration lawyer or an accredited representative of a recognized organization such as Sidman Law Group to help you apply for a social security number as an F-1 visa holder. Our seasoned attorneys will evaluate your case and provide you with expert legal guidance throughout your application procedure. To get in touch, call us at 818-981-0352 or fill out our online form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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