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How To Apply for Social Security Number (SSN)

A Social Security Number (SSN) is issued to track earnings over a worker’s lifetime. The Social Security Number itself is not a work permit.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will only issue Social Security Numbers to F-1 student visa holders or J-1 Exchange Visitors who have an on-campus job or have a firm promise of a job on-campus which will begin in the near future, to those students authorized for Curricular Practical Training (CPT), or those with an EAD card issued for Optional Practical Training (OPT) or Economic Necessity.

If you do not have a job or commitment of a job, you will not be issued a Social Security Number. Social Security will not accept applications more than 30 days in advance of the employment start date.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. For those who have applied for an EAD card (DHS employment authorization document), the card itself must be presented; an application or receipt is not acceptable.

To apply for a Social Security number, you must bring the following to a Social Security Administration office: 
  • Form SS-5, Application For a Social Security Card form found on-line at
  • Valid Passport (except Canadian citizens)
  • Electronic I-94 print out (
  • I-20 (or DS-2019)
  • Evidence of employment status, EAD card, or
  • Certification of full-time enrollment and eligibility for on-campus employment from an International Student Services Advisor. Students on J visas need to get this letter from their sponsor. Students approved for CPT or OPT who will be working off-campus can use the employer offer letter as a substitute for a letter from the International Programs Office.

The nearest office to The University of Tampa is located on Frontage Road East. Take Cypress Street past Westshore Boulevard. Turn right at the first stoplight past Westshore Blvd. which is Frontage Road East. The office is 2/10 of a mile from Cypress on the right. For Hartline Bus Users: Take Bus #10 to Frontage Road

Address: 3415 E Frontage Road, Tampa, FL 33607
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Since all persons seeking cards must be verified by immigration authorities, there will be a delay before getting your card. If you are a new student and recently arrived in the U.S., you must wait at least 10 days after arriving in the U.S. and at least 2 days after you have reported to the International Programs Office AND your SEVIS immigration record has been registered to "active" status before going to a Social Security Office (source here). You cannot begin on-campus employment before getting the Social Security card. If you have not received your card within 3 weeks of applying, you should contact the Social Security Office where you applied to inquire as to the delay.