/ Paul G. Fried Center for Global Engagement

Social Security

Obtaining a Social Security Number

A Social Security Number is only assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. It is used to post wages to Social Security records so workers can become eligible for Social Security benefits. You are not required to have a Social Security Number before you start to work, but your employer is required to report your wages using the Social Security Number.

If you want to work on-campus you will need a Social Security Number. You must receive authorization from the International Student Advisor. The International Student Advisor will give you a letter stating that you are in a full course of study and authorized for on-campus work. You must take this letter and the following items to the Social Security Administration office to apply for a Social Security Number:

  • A letter from your employer describing your job, your employment start date, the number of hours you will be working, and your supervisor’s name and telephone number.
  • Original visa
  • Passport
  • 1-94 record showing F-1 status
  • Student copy of your I-20
  • Form SS-5 (see International Student Advisor for this form)

The Social Security Administration must verify your documents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before assigning you a number. Social Security will issue your number and card within two days of receiving the verification from DHS. Most of the time, the Social Security Administration can verify your documents quickly with DHS online. If your documents cannot be verified online, it may take DHS several weeks or months to respond to the request. The Social Security Administration works closely with DHS to reduce these delays.

The Social Security Administration building is located at:

657 Hastings Ave.
Holland, MI 49423
Phone: 800.772.1213 or 616.392.1669
Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.