F-1 students are eligible to work on campus up to 20 hours a week during the academic year and 40 hours a week during summer and breaks. Work that exceeds 20 hours a week on campus or any work off campus must be authorized by the International Programs Office.

What is a Social Security Number (SSN)?

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit identification number, issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and qualified foreign nationals—including those in F status who meet the requirements as indicated below.

Who is eligible to apply for a SSN?

Eligible for a SSN:

  • F-1 Students with on-campus employment
  • F-1 Students with CPT (Curricular Practical Training) authorization
  • F-1 Student with OPT (Optional Practical Training) authorization

Not Eligible for a SSN:

  • F-1 Students without employment
  • F-2 Dependent family members

Note: If you are ineligible for a SSN, you may still visit the IPO and obtain a letter proving your ineligibility for a SSN.

How do I apply for a SSN?

  1. As soon as possible after your arrival in the U.S., check in with the IPO.
  2. Wait at least 10 days from the date of your arrival in the U.S. and at least 2 days from the date you checked in with the IPO. (Applying earlier could result in unnecessary delays.)
  3. Consult the list of required documents below. Go to the Social Security Administration office in person with all required documents to submit your SSN application. Check with the IPO to see if an organized trip to the Social Security Office in Sioux Falls is possible.

What documents are required to apply for a SSN?

F-1 Students with on-campus employment:

F-1 Students with CPT

  • Passport and Visa
  • I-94 card
  • I-20 with CPT endorsement (Note: SSN applications may be submitted no more than 30 days prior to employment start date.)
  • Social Security Card application
  • F-1 SSN letter from IPO

F-1 Students with OPT

How long does it take to obtain my SSN?

Once your application has been approved, the SSA will send a Social Security card to the address you provided when you submitted your application. Usual processing time is 2-4 weeks. If additional security procedures are necessary, processing times may range from 4-6 weeks. If your card takes longer than 6 weeks to process, please contact the IPO.

Can I start working without a SSN?

In most cases, you may begin your employment without a SSN as long as your other hiring forms have been completed. You should receive a letter from the SSA after they've accepted your application indicating you will receive your SSN soon. When you receive your Social Security card, Please provide a copy to your hiring department and/or the Payroll Office. Please make sure you consult your hiring department administrator before beginning any employment.

What if I lose my Social Security Card?

Applications for replacement Social Security cards are exactly the same as applying for a new SSN, except you must disclose your existing SSN. All documents required for a new SSN application are also required for a replacement card application.

What if my name is incorrect on my Social Security Card?

If your name is incorrect, please return to the SSA office with your passport, I-94 card, and related documents to request a correction. If you experience difficulty correcting your name, please contact the IPO.

Security and Identity Theft

Your Social Security card should be kept in a safe place and your SSN should be given out only as needed to guard against "identity theft".

See The FTC's Identity Theft Site for more information on identity theft, or the SSA's information on Social Security fraud.

Where to find the Social Security Administration - Sioux Falls, SD

2400 W. 49th Street, Suite 100
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Phone: 877-274-5421

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Last Updated: 6/27/14