Social Security Number

In most cases, if a student or scholar has a job or will begin working within the next 30 days, we recommend they apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). The Social Security Administration has provided information about the process for F-1 and J-1 visa holders here.

Eligibility to Apply for a Social Security Number

Social security numbers generally are assigned for taxes purposes to individuals who are authorized to work in the United States and have evidence of employment. Review the list of required documents below for each status and employment situation, as applicants will need to gather the appropriate documents to submit to the Social Security Administration.

Visa Type Employment SSN Eligibility

Additional Documents Required

with completed SSN (SS-5) application, passport, visa, and I-94

F-1 Student Paid on-campus Yes I-20, employment letter & ISSA confirmation letter
F-1 Student  Paid CPT Yes I-20 with CPT Authorization, & employment letter 
F-1 Student Paid OPT Yes I-20 with OPT Authorization, EAD, & employment letter 
J-1 Student  Paid on-campus Yes DS-2019, employment letter, & ISSA confirmation letter
J-1 Student  Paid off-campus Yes DS-2019 with AT Authorization, employment letter, & ISSA confirmation letter
J-1 Scholar Paid by U.S. institution Yes DS-2019 & appointment letter
J-2 Dependent If authorized by USCIS Yes DS-2019, EAD card, & employment letter
F-2 Dependent Not permitted No Not eligible, see below for Letter of SSN Ineligibility instructions

If a student does not currently have employment, or will not begin working within 30 days of their application, they are not eligible to receive an SSN. Students and dependents without employment may obtain a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility, which can be used to apply for an Indiana Driver’s License.

*There is no cost to apply for a Social Security Number or a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility.

*In ISSAlink, students should look for the SSN Letter Request form under F-1 or J-1 Student Services.

*If you are filling out the Notre Dame HR I-9 form, check the "SSN Applied for" box, even if you have not yet been able to initiate the application process.

Exclamation Point

IMPORTANT: The NDID number is NOT a temporary Social Security number. Do NOT enter your NDID number on any tax forms, applications for credit cards, utilities, etc. When filling out forms that request your Social Security number, indicate that you have applied for the number, or leave it blank, as the case may be.


Step 1: Acquire the employment letter from your supervisor or department coordinator

Step 2: If working on campus at Notre Dame, upload the employment letter to the ISSAlink form "SSN Letter Request," found under F-1 or J-1 Student Services.

Step 3: If working on campus at Notre Dame, pick up your ISSA Letter with hard copy I-20 at 105 Main Building (look for confirmation email that it is ready to be picked up. 

Step 4: Take application packet, with all items listed in chart above, to the local Social Security Administration office. You may need a hand signed copy of your I-20, which you can request via 

Time Frame

New Students: it generally takes at least 14 days after an F-1 student is entered by the University into SEVIS before the Social Security Administration is able to verify non-immigrant status through the Department of Homeland Security. Therefore, F-1 students should wait at least 14 days from the time you complete your initial F-1 Registration with ISSA before you apply for a Social Security number. J-1 Exchange Visitors need only wait 48 hours after registering before applying.

The SSA cannot process an application if the on campus or CPT work begins more than 30 days in advance of the application date or has already been completed.

Once the application packet is submitted to the SSA, average wait times for your Social Security Number card has been six weeks.

Obtaining a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility

New F-1 or J-1 students must complete the New Student Registration process before applying for the Letter of SSN Ineligibility.  F-1 students and dependents will need to wait 14 days after the registration form has been processed; J-1 students and their dependents will need to wait 48 hours.

The applicant will take the completed Application for Social Security Card, SS-5, a valid passport, visa stamp (except for Canadian citizens), copy of I-94 record, and Form I-20 or DS-2019 to the Social Security Administration office. The Letter of SSN Ineligibility may be issued immediately, or the applicant may need to wait for the letter to arrive by mail from the Social Security Administration.

Social Security Administration Office in South Bend

Students and scholars can apply at any Social Security Administration office, but the downtown South Bend office at 302 S. Michigan St. is the most convenient if employed in the South Bend area.

To get to the Social Security Administration office in downtown South Bend, take bus #7 from the Library Circle to the South Street Station. The office is across the street from the bus station.

Working on Campus before Receiving a Social Security Number

An international student at the University of Notre Dame may begin a term of on-campus employment without a Social Security number, but must apply for one and inform the University immediately after obtaining one.

When filling out the required W-4 form, write "applied for" on the line that reads SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER and attach to your document the NDID number (nine digit number) issued by the University. As soon as you have received your Social Security number, you must present your Social Security card to the office identified in the steps above.

Social Security Numbers and Access to Service

In the state of Indiana an international student or dependent does NOT need a Social Security number in order to obtain the following:

  • An Indiana state ID or driver’s license
  • A checking account, a savings account, or an ATM card
  • Public utility hook-ups (water, gas, electricity)
  • Telephone service

Although no business or agency should require proof of a Social Security number for services other than delivery of federal, state, or local assistance benefits, international students and dependents who do not have a Social Security number may encounter the following challenges in the state of Indiana:

  • Many banks will not issue a credit or credit/debit card.
  • Many utility and telephone service companies will demand a deposit in lieu of presenting a valid Social Security number.
  • Other business owners may not render service claiming that they are not able to run a credit check without an SSN.


Additional information about obtaining a Social Security Number or a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility can be found on the Social Security Administration website. You may also call the local Social Security Administration Office at 877-274-5415.

Please notify ISSA at 574-631-1138 or if you encounter any difficulties while applying for either a Social Security Number or a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility.