Information for:

F-1 and J-1 Temple-sponsored students:

  • Make sure you are registered for classes before applying for an Social Security Number (SSN).
  • You are eligible for a social security number if you are working on campus, this includes any assistantship that requires employment. Note: On campus employment may not exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session. If you are working on campus, the department that is hiring you will be responsible for all hiring issues, including providing you an employment offer letter or assistantship contract. 
  • Make sure you have received work authorization (such as an on-campus job, CPTOPT, or Academic Training) before applying for an SSN.
    •  If you will be working on campus, you do not need separate work authorization. You are only permitted to work up to 20 hours per week, regardless of the number of jobs you have on campus
  • Please have your employer/TU hiring department provide you with an employment offer letter, you will need to bring this with you when you apply for an SSN. The offer letter should be printed on the department/employer's letterhead and include an employment start date, address of employment, number of hours you will work/week, nature of your job (e.g., student worker, wait staff, library aide, research assistant, etc.), and employer's signature. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires signatures by hand (not electronic signatures).
  • After your employer/TU hiring department has provided you with an offer letter, please submit it online to the ISSS office here. Our office will then provide you with an additional "social security letter" that you will need to pick up from the ISSS office. You can schedule an appointment to pick-up the social security letter from ISSS here.
    • If you are not able to pick up the letter from our office, we can also ship the letter to you by University Express Mail Services (UEMS), you will need to pay for shipping:
      • Register and activate your UEMS account at Registration and activation of your account is free.
      • Click the “Receive” option.
      • Type “Philadelphia” in the search box, or select “Pennsylvania” from the drop down list.
      • Select “Temple University” and then “Continue.”
      • Select the “International Student and Scholar Services” and then “Continue”
      • Complete the shipping form, using your TU ID number (91xxxxxxx) as the Student ID number and select “Ship.”
      • Select the mailing service/price of your choice and then “Continue.”
      • Enter your payment information and then “Confirm payment.”
      • Our office will automatically be notified by University Express Mail Services (eShipGlobal) that you have requested your documents via express mail.
      • You can track the shipment using the tracking number provided and can expect to receive your documents in 3-5 business days from the date of the mailing.
  • You must go to the Social Security Administration to apply for a Social Security Number.  You must schedule an appointment with the SSA. The telephone number for the office in Center City Philadelphia is 1-800-772-1213. If you will apply at a different office, find the telephone number here: Field Office Locator | SSA.
  • You will need to bring the following documents with you when you go to the Social Security Administration to apply:
    • Employment offer letter from your employer and Social Security letter from ISSS
    • F-1 or J-1 visa
    • Valid passport
    • I-94, which you can find online
    • DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.  (J-1 Visa Holders)
    • I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status (F-1 Visa Holders)
    • Completed Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5).

Temple Scholars and Employees:

Individuals who will be paid by Temple University must complete an I-9 within three days of beginning employment. This is a U.S. law.

Due to these two time sensitive matters, applying for a social security number and being enrolled in the Payroll System will be a multi-step experience.

After submitting your application, be sure to obtain a receipt to prove that you have applied. You should receive the SSN card within one to two months.

You will need to speak with Human Resources in order to use the receipt from Social Security to begin receiving payments from Temple.

Once you receive your Social Security Card (approximately 2-6 weeks via mail) update the following:

  • Your university records (i.e. payroll and the registrar office) 
  • Your personal records (banks, employer, etc.)

If you do not receive the card within 60 days, return to the Social Security office to inquire or call the toll-free phone number 1-800-772-1213.
Do NOT apply for a second card; you should have only one SSN in your lifetime. If you continue to experience difficulties obtaining the card, contact ISSS.