Taxes and Social Security Numbers
Applying for a Social Security Card
Student who are in status and authorized to work are eligible for a Social Security number. If you are not eligible for a Social Security number, you can request a “letter of ineligibility” from the Social Security Office. You need to present your original I-20/DS-2019, passport, and I-94 card. The letter of ineligibility may be required in order to obtain a driver's license.
To apply for a Social Security number, bring the following original documents to your local Social Security office :
- Form I‐20 or DS‐2019
- I‐94 Arrival/Departure Record (card or electronic printout www.cbp.gov/i94)
- Unexpired Passport
You will also need one or more of the following depending on the type of employment:
- F‐1 On‐campus Employment: On campus employment form, printed on letterhead by the hiring department and signed by the hiring department and your international student advisor.
- F‐1 Curricular Practical Training: I‐20 with CPT authorization on Page 3
- F‐1 Optional Practical Training: Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- J‐1 On‐campus Employment or Academic Training: Letter authorizing employment from your J‐1 program sponsor on the sponsor’s letterhead with an original signature
All applicants will also need to fill out the application (Form SS-5: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf). We recommend typing the application before printing it out and signing it.
Once you have applied, it typically takes the Social Security Administration 7‐10 business days to verify your information. They will then mail the Social Security card to you. Students will be given a receipt of application that may be used to begin work while the application is pending. Upon receipt, the original social security card must be presented to the employer.
Washington D.C. Social Security Office Location
2100 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
If you are no longer in the DC area, you will be able to find your local Social Security Administration office here.
Tax Information for F-1 and J-1 Students
All students and dependents in F or J status must file at least one tax form with the the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, even if you did not earn any money in the United States. This tax form is Form 8843. (The form is titled "Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals With a Medical Condition" which is confusing, but students and dependents who qualify and nonresident aliens for tax purposes are considered exempt individuals.) Form 8843 is an informational form, not an income tax return.
What Counts as U.S. Sourced Income?
- Employment wages
- The part of a scholarship that exceeds the cost of tuition, books, and fees
- Fellowships and honoraria
I earned no money in the U.S. What do I need to do?
If you did not receive taxable income, you only need to file Form 8843.
Tips for Completing Form 8843:
Address in country of residence = foreign home country residence
- U.S. taxpayer ID number: write your Social Security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you have one. Leave blank if you do not have an SSN or ITIN.
- Part II: Leave blank
- Part III:
- Part IV and Part V: Leave blank
- Sign and date on page 2 ONLY if not filing with Form 1040 NR or Form 1040 NR-EZ
Mail the completed form to:Department of the TreasuryInternal Revenue Service CenterAustin, TX 73301-0215