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Social security number

A Social Security number is a nine-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and temporary residents. International students, faculty, staff, and scholars may obtain a Social Security Numbers (SSN) if they hold employment.

How to Apply

The Social Security Office in Champaign will be open for walk ins starting on April 7, 2022.

Students should fill out the SSN Document Request" e-form in iSTART to request the Letter of Eligibility from ISSS. The ISSS office can mail the document to you or you can collect it from our office. Please note our processing time for this request is one week, and mailing through USPS takes up to one or two weeks. Please make your request as early as possible within the 30 days of your visit to the Social Security Office. You may also choose to have ISSS mail your document through express mail.

The ISSS Letter of Eligibility is only valid for 30 days. You must visit the Social Security Office within 30 days of the letter being issued by ISSS. Please submit the SSN Document Request" e-form in iSTART so that your letter will be issued within the validity window.

Social Security Number for CPT Requests. The Social Security office will not accept requests for the Social Security Number for students who are doing CPT if the CPT starts more than 30 days in advance. Please make sure that the CPT authorization is within 30 days when you visit the Social Security Office.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR NEW STUDENTS: It takes about one week after the semester has started for your SEVIS information to be updated at the Social Security office. We recommend not having an appointment with the SSA until after the 10th day of classes.

Helpful Hints for Visiting the Social Security Office. It is best to visit the office Wednesday through Friday. The busiest times are early in the day, early in the week, and early in the month, so it is best to avoid those times. If you have made an appointment, please keep that time.

Step 1

Instructions for new international students only:

  • The current semester must have already started and your SEVIS record should be “Active.” Check if your record has been switched to “Active” by logging in to https://sunapsis.illinois.edu/. It takes about one week after the semester has started for your SEVIS information to be updated at the Social Security office. We recommend going to the office after the 10th day of classes.
  • Claim your Temporary Control Number (TCN) and submit to your hiring unit. Students have already been assigned this number. If you don’t know your number, please go to the i-card office to obtain it. You may be paid for employment using this number, but must still apply for a Social Security number (SSN) since this number is temporary.

Step 2

Determine your eligibility to apply for a Social Security Number. Students must:

  • Be employed or have an offer of future employment
  • Have completed check-in procedures at International Student and Scholar Services
  • Have been in the U.S. for at least 10 days
  • Be registered for classes

Step 3

Prepare your application materials:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Most recent I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 print out (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov)
  • Completed Social Security application form (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf)
  • ISSS letter of eligibility (In order to obtain this letter, you must submit the SSN Document Request eform through iSTART - document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office)
  • Earning statement or letter on department letterhead verifying employment (document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office)
    1. Identity of student employee
    2. Job description
    3. Anticipated or actual employment start date
    4. Number of hours student is expected to work
    5. Employer identification number (EIN) (37-6000511 for the university)
    6. Employer contact information, telephone number, and name of student’s immediate supervisor
    7. Original signature
    8. Signatory’s title
    9. Date

F-1 students are required to be registered for classes in order to obtain a letter of eligibility. J-1 students whose DS-2019 was not issued by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign must obtain an eligibility letter from their J-1 program sponsor.

Step 4

Apply:

Your Social Security Number is tied to your identity and financial background. To avoid risk of identity theft, take care to keep your Social Security Number secure and private. Do not carry your Social Security card with you (keep it at home, in a safe place) and do not list your Social Security Number on forms or share it with others unless absolutely necessary.

Step 1

Determine your eligibility to apply for a Social Security Number. Students must:

  • Be employed or have an offer of future employment
  • Have completed check-in procedures at International Student and Scholar Services
  • Have been in the U.S. for at least 10 days
  • Be registered for classes

Step 2

Prepare your application materials:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Most recent I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 print out (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov)
  • Completed Social Security application form (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf)
  • ISSS letter of eligibility (In order to obtain this letter, you must submit the SSN Document Request eform through iSTART - document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office) - document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office)
  • Earning statement or letter on department letterhead verifying employment (document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at Social Security office)
    1. Identity of student employee
    2. Job description
    3. Anticipated or actual employment start date
    4. Number of hours student is expected to work
    5. Employer identification number (EIN) (37-6000511 for the university)
    6. Employer contact information, telephone number, and name of student’s immediate supervisor
    7. Original signature
    8. Signatory’s title
    9. Date

F-1 students are required to be registered for classes in order to obtain a letter of eligibility. J-1 students whose DS-2019 was not issued by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign must obtain an eligibility letter from their J-1 program sponsor.

Step 3

Apply:

Your Social Security Number is tied to your identity and financial background. To avoid risk of identity theft, take care to keep your Social Security Number secure and private. Do not carry your Social Security card with you (keep it at home, in a safe place) and do not list your Social Security Number on forms or share it with others unless absolutely necessary.

Step 1

Determine your eligibility to apply for a Social Security Number. Students must:

  • Be employed or have an offer of future employment and have CPT, OPT or AT authorization

Step 2

Prepare your application materials:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Most recent I-20 or DS-2019
  • I-94 print out (https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov)
  • Completed Social Security application form (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf)
  • Offer letter from your employer (Document cannot be older than 30 days when presented at the Social Security Office).
  • EAD card (for F-1 OPT only)
  • AT letter (for J-1 AT only)

Step 3

Apply:

Your Social Security Number is tied to your identity and financial background. To avoid risk of identity theft, take care to keep your Social Security Number secure and private. Do not carry your Social Security card with you (keep it at home, in a safe place) and do not list your Social Security Number on forms or share it with others unless absolutely necessary.

Step 1

Determine your eligibility to apply for a Social Security Number:

  • J‐1 scholars must complete check‐in procedures at International Student and Scholar Services and then wait 3‐4 business days before applying.
  • Other statuses must have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 2 days before applying.
  • You must be receiving funds from the university OR another U.S entity to be eligible for a Social Security Number.

Step 2

Prepare your application materials:

  • Completed application form (Form SS‐5), available at the Social Security Office or socialsecurity.gov
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I‐94 admission number (available online at cbp.gov/I94)
  • DS‐2019 (J’s) or a copy of the I‐797 (H’s, O’s, etc.)*

*J‐1 student interns (See box 4 of your DS‐2019) must also provide a Student Intern Letter from ISSS.

Step 3

Apply:

Your Social Security Number is tied to your identity and financial background. To avoid risk of identity theft, take care to keep your Social Security Number secure and private. Do not carry your Social Security card with you (keep it at home, in a safe place) and do not list your Social Security Number on forms or share it with others unless absolutely necessary.