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
  • 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. You can apply up to 30 days before your on-campus start date.
  • F‐1 Curricular Practical Training: I‐20 with CPT authorization on Page 3. You can apply up to 30 days before your CPT start date.
  • F‐1 Optional Practical Training: Employment Authorization Document (EAD). You can apply once you reach the start date on your EAD card.
  • 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. You can apply to to 30 days prior to your start date.

All applicants will also need to fill out the application (Form SS-5). 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

1300 D St. SW, Washington D.C. 20024

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM Wednesday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM