Pace International student in front of a row of world flags

Obtaining A Social Security Number

What is a Social Security Number?

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit number used for taxpayer identification, income reporting, and record-keeping purposes. Once issued, the number is valid for life. Keep it safe and provide only as needed to U.S. government agencies or credible financial institutions. The SSN is required in order to be paid for any work done in the U.S. whether on-campus employment or off-campus internship (practical training).


International students holding a non-immigrant F-1 or J-1 student visa who have secured a paid position in the U.S. are eligible for an SSN.

Who Can Apply?

Back To Top

When to Apply

  • The application for an SSN must be made before your on-campus job begins.
  • You may not apply earlier than 30 days before your work begin date if you are doing on-campus work or CPT.
  • Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks.
  • OPT applicants have the option to apply for a SSN at the same time they apply for EAD.

How to Apply

Back To Top

When on OPT

OPT applicants have the option to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) at the same time they apply for their Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization includes certain items which will enable an OPT applicant to apply for an SSN.

Please note, if you obtained an SSN prior to applying for OPT, you do NOT need to reapply and should simply skip these items on the Form I-765.

Lost Your Social Security Number?

It is important to protect your SSN and be aware of identity theft (PDF). If you lose your SSN card you will need to replace your card. You can only apply for a replacement card if you are authorized to work off-campus or have an on-campus job.

Creating an Online Account

Students with a Social Security Number (SSN) can sign up for a personal my Social Security account to monitor earnings. For more information, please refer to the How to Create an Online Account fact sheet (PDF).

Back To Top