If you are sponsored by a third party (such as Fulbright), ISSS cannot assist you with the SSN process — please contact your sponsor for instructions.

    In order to be eligible to apply for a  Social Security Number you must be:

    • In the United States. New students should wait until they've entered the U.S before trying to apply for a Social Security Number
    • Have employment/offer of employment:  Students in F-1 or J-1 status are not eligible for a Social Security number unless they have an offer of employment. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

    Please follow these directions to apply for a social security support letter. The Office of Social Security is the only government office that is requesting a "wet" signature, so you'll need an original letter to apply for the social security card.

    You will then proceed to the office of Social Security on the day of your appointment with the following items:

    Eligibility For a Social Security Number

    You are not eligible to apply for a Social Security Number unless you are authorized for employment in the United States.

    Student Employment Options

    Students entering the U.S. for the first time in F or J student status should wait until they are in the United States for at least 10 days before applying for an SSN. Transfer students from another U.S. school must first be registered for classes and then in SEVIS by ISSS before applying. If your SEVIS record is not "active" the Social Security office will not be able to verify your status with the USCIS.

    It is possible that your SSN will be requested for different activities: banking, utilities, etc. However, we recommend asking if other forms of identification can be used instead of the SSN. Employment is the only time that you should use your SSN.

    Social Security office:

    • Address
      2 PENN CTR STE 2000A
      1500 JFK BLVD 20TH FL
      PHILADELPHIA, PA 19102
    • Phone number
      1-800-772-1213
      Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.