Social Security Numbers

Eligibility for a Social Security Number

In most cases, if you have a job or are preparing to begin work, you must apply for a Social Security number (SSN).

  • ONLY students who have an on-campus job offer or are authorized for other types of employment such as OPT, CPT, or Academic Training will be able to obtain a SSN.
  • J-1 Exchange Visitors in the Professor, Research Scholar or Short-term Scholar categories, who will receive payment from Notre Dame are automatically eligible based on the nature of their visa, but they must still apply. Dependents of scholars are not eligible unless they obtain work authorization from the government.
  • Scholars who will not receive payment from Notre Dame are not eligible for a Social Security number.

You cannot apply for an SSN more than 30 days before your employment start date, as indicated on your letter of employment.

If you do not have a job, or you are no longer working, you cannot obtain an SSN. 

  • Students and dependents without a job may obtain a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility which can be used to apply for an Indiana Driver’s License.

Your 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.

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 Social Security numbers 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.

First determine whether you are eligible for a Social Security number according to the criteria outlined above.

Time Frame

Generally, it takes at least 48 hours after ISSA has confirmed F-1 or J-1 SEVIS registration before the Social Security Administration is able to verify non-immigrant status through the Department of Homeland Security. We recommend that F-1 students and J-1 exchange visitors wait at least week after receiving the F-1 or J-1 Registration confirmation email before applying for a Social Security number.  

More information for international students and the social security number can be found here.

Social Security Number (SSN) Application Instructions for Students 

All students must complete SEVIS Registration within 30 days of their program start date. This process must be completed before beginning the process of applying for a social security number or ineligibility letter.

Step One: Obtain a letter from your employer. This should be printed on department/organizational letterhead. A template can be found here. Your letter should include information about the start date, your hours worked, and the position title.

Step Two: If employed at Notre Dame, go to ISSAlink.nd.edu and upload the department letter under "Request SSN Letter." If not employed at ND, go directly to Step Three.

Step Three: Complete and print the SSN Application.

Step Four: Due to COVID-related health precautions, be sure to contact the SSA office to confirm the current process and mailing address. You will apply for the SSN in person at the Social Security Administration (SSA) office, 602 S Michigan St in South Bend. To get to the Social Security Administration office, take bus #7 from the Library Circle to the South Street Station. The office is across the street from the bus station. Bring the two letters, your completed application and the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Visa (except for citizens of Canada and Bermuda)
  • Copy of I-94 record. (If you arrived via a land port of entry, bring your paper I-94 Card.)
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Students Only: ISSA Letter and Employment Letter
  • Students on OPT Only: Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS 
  • Scholars Only: Appointment letter (Letter from Notre Dame inviting you to the university as a scholar)   

Note: There is no cost to apply for a Social Security Number.

Step Five: Wait for SSN card to arrive by mail from the Social Security Administration.

Step Six: Report SSN to the appropriate office, which is usually HR or Student Employment.

Obtaining a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility Application Instructions

All students must complete SEVIS Registration within 30 days of their program start date. This process must be completed before beginning the process of applying for a social security number ineligibility letter. Step One: Complete and print the SSN Application.

Step One: Apply for SSN in person at the Social Security Administration (SSA) office, 602 S Michigan St in South Bend. To get to the Social Security Administration office, take bus #7 from the Library Circle to the South Street Station. The office is across the street from the bus station. Bring your completed application and the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Visa (except for citizens of Canada and Bermuda)
  • Copy of I-94 record (If you arrived via a land port of entry, bring your paper I-94 Card.)
  • Form I-20 or DS-2019

Step Two: Your Letter of SSN Ineligibility may be given to you immediately, or you may need to wait for the letter to arrive by mail from the Social Security Administration.

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 on the line that reads SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER “applied for” and attach to your document the ndID 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.

Questions?

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 issa@nd.edu if you encounter any difficulties while applying for either a Social Security Number or a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility.