International Student and Scholar Services

Social Security Regulations for Students in F-1 Visa Status

Social Security numbers are assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. Social Security numbers are used to report your wages to the government,  Social Security will not assign you a number just because you are enrolled in a U.S. college or school.

While you do not require an SSN to begin employment, your employer needs the number to report wages and may choose to require it before you begin.

In order to apply for a social security number, you must have proof of employment.

Proof of Employment

On Campus: If you have job on campus, you will need to have your supervisor complete the Employment Verification Form and then bring that to the ISRC to sign as well.  This form is your "proof of employment" for your Social Security number application.

Off Campus, CPT: you will need to bring your I-20 with your employment authorization on the 3rd page to show the Social Security office as proof of employment for your Social Security number application.

You may begin working and be paid before you receive your number.

How to Apply

The International Student Resource Center arranges round-trip transportation to the social security office in Lorain, Ohio. If you are not able to take advantage of that transportation, you will need to arrange your own means of travel to the office. The office does not have any weekend or evening hours. Call to confirm they are open at the time you plan to arrive.

To apply for an SSN, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Form SS-5
  • Employment Verification Form (see below)
  • Current passport
  • Passport(s)
  • Oberlin I-20 or DS-2019
  • A copy and print out of your I-94

Note: Students on visa types other than F-1 and J-1 should consult with the International Student Resource Center regarding their eligibility to apply for a U.S. social security number.

The address for the office

Lorain Social Security Administration
221 W. 5th St. Lorain, OH 44052

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