The U.S. government assigns Social Security numbers to people who are authorized to work in the United States and who have employment. A Social Security number is only required if you work in the U.S. and can be obtained with proof of legal employment. F-1 visa status allows students to work while in the U.S., under certain restrictions. 

If you need a social security number, ISSS must register your SEVIS record before you visit the Social Security office. New students must complete Arrival Check-in before your SEVIS record is registered. More details here.

Remember that you are only eligible for a social security number if you have a current job.

How to Apply for a Social Security Number

The process to apply for a Social Security Number are different depending on if you have On-Campus Employment or approved Off-Campus Employment. See the steps for each below.

Steps for Students with On-Campus Employment
  1. Secure an offer letter or contract for your employment. Departments or offices without offer letters can use this On-Campus Offer Letter Template.
  2. Complete the Social Security Letter request by logging into your ISSS Connect portal and following the instructions in the request. Note: If this is your first semester at UWM, you need to have arrived in the U.S., completed your Arrival Check-In, and enrolled in at least one course before completing this request. 
  3. Complete a Social Security Number application form and follow the instructions given by the social security office
  4. After your appointment at the Social Security Administration, you should receive a letter that serves as proof that you have applied for an SSN. If you are not given one, we suggest you ask for it 
  5. Check with the payroll office in Engelmann Hall, Room 125 to determine if they need a copy of the letter of proof
  6. When you receive your original Social Security card in the mail, contact the payroll office in Engelmann Hall Room 125 to determine how to submit a copy of your card
Steps for Students Authorized for Off-Campus Employment
  1. Sign and date your I-20 with CPT or OPT authorization
  2. Follow the instructions on the Social Security Administration’s website for your application requirements and process

Note: Students with off-campus employment should not apply through the ISSS Connect website.