Since F-1 and J-1 student visas are designed for full-time study in the United States, students must be careful to only use the employment categories designed for their student status. International Students may be permitted to seek work authorization in the following categories:
- On Campus Employment
- Curricular Practical TrainingÂ (CPT)
- Optional Practical TrainingÂ (OPT)
- Academic Training
- Severe Economic Hardship
Select a category that interests you to find out the eligibility, application process and deadlines.
Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN)
International students are Â eligible for an SSN only upon receiving an on-campus job offer, receiving CPT authorization or receiving the Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Eligible students who have only recently entered the United States for the first time in F-1 or J-1 status will need to be present in the country for at least 10 days before applying for an SSN.
In completing work authorization forms with ISS for an on-campus job or CPT, you will receive an SSN Support Letter from ISS. Take this letter, along with your job offer letter from your employer to the Social Security office in the Federal Building (get directions). If you received an EAD card, you can apply for an SSN without an SSN letter from ISS.
It can take up to 2 weeks for you to receive your SSN card. However, if you return to the Social Security office at least one day after applying for your SSN, you may request a receipt containing your Social Security Number. Use this number to complete paperwork with Human Resources and begin working before your card arrives. Note: Employers may have policies preventing employment without proof of the SSN card.
One Social Security Number will be issued for you in your lifetime. If you leave the U.S. and return in the future, this will still be your Social Security Number. You may request replacement cards if yours is lost or stolen. Take great care in not losing or divulging your SSN, as identity theft and electronic crime may be committed with your personal information.
Learn more about applying for a Social Security Number.