International students who will have paid employment or training in the U.S. must obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) to receive payment for their work. The number assigned to you is permanent.  If you previously applied and received a number, there is no need to reapply for a new SSN.

Requirements for Obtaining a Social Security Number

  • You must have an assistantship, fellowship, paid job offer, or paid internship/training requiring CPT authorization, in order to apply for an SSN.
  • You may only apply for the SSN within the 30 days prior to the employment or internship/training start date.
  • If you have previously applied and have lost or misplaced your SSN card please click here.

Social Security Number (SSN) Application Process

The applicant should assemble the following materials and take them to their scheduled appointment:

  1. SSN Student Authorization Letter from the UFIC
    • If you are a new student with a new assistantship/fellowship, complete all check-in requirements. Your UFIC SSN authorization letter will be provided with your Continued Attendance I-20 following check-in processing. You will receive an email when the I-20 and UFIC SSN authorization letter are ready.
    • For paid internships or other training activity, complete the CPT work authorization application process online. Your UFIC SSN authorization letter will be provided with your CPT authorization I-20. You will receive an email when the I-20 and UFIC SSN authorization letter are ready.
    • For on-campus employment, please complete the SSN Authorization Letter Request to upload your on-campus offer letter. You must click SUBMIT APPLICATION at the top of the request page. You will receive an email when the UFIC SSN authorization letter is ready.
  2. Start your SSN Application online* at
    • In the section labeled “Evidence Documentation For You” it asks that you “Please select all the documentation that you can give us to prove your age, identity and immigration status.” This does not mean you need all of the documents stated; it is asking which documents do you specifically have available to provide as proof of your identify. As an F-1 Student, you should be able to provide the Foreign Passport, I-94 with Unexpired Foreign Passport, and I-20 Certificate of Eligibility.
    • You will be able to review and edit your responses near the end of the SSN application; once confirmed this information is accurate, complete the acknowledgement statement to submit the form. You will then receive a submission confirmation number which you must provide at the SSA office.  The confirmation number will allow the SSA representative to access your completed electronic form.
    • You must still make an appointment to complete the full SSN application in person. Gather all your required documents to visit the SSA office.
      * If you are experiencing trouble starting your SSN application online, then complete and print the SS 5 Application form to take with you to the SSA office instead.
  3. Complete SSA Questionnaire for Non-US Citizens
    • This document must be filled out according to the instructions on page two of the above linked document
  4. Employment Offer Letter (from the hiring department, when UF is the employer for assistantships/fellowships; from the hiring company for paid internships/training activity or other on campus employment.) This letter must:
    • Be an original letter on employer letterhead
    • Include a current date
    • Include the prospective employee’s Given Name and Surname
    • Include the Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • Provide the prospective employee’s position/job title, start date, end date (if known), and number of hours expected to work per week
    • Include the supervisor’s name, title, and phone number
    • Include a signature by the supervisor/HR representative (digital signatures or electronic signatures like Docusign are acceptable) 
    • Additionally, for Off-Campus employment (such as paid internships/training activity):
      • Provide the exact physical address (street, suite # if any, city, state, and zip/postal code) of where the work will be conducted
      • Provide a general description of the work duties (if the company does not include the duties in the offer letter, an addendum to the offer letter must be provided)
  5. Valid Continued Attendance I-20
  6. Valid Passport, with F1 visa; Canadian citizens need not have an F1 visa.
  7. Printout of I-94 Record- most recent entry into US: (travel history screen not necessary)

Schedule an Appointment: Instructions for Navigating SSA’s Phone Menu

After you have gathered all the necessary application documents, call your local SSA office to schedule an appointment to apply for the SSN.

  • For those living in Gainesville, FL, call (877) 219-8323. You will need to choose the option to wait on the line to speak to the next available agent. Once you are connected with an agent, let them know that you are seeking an in-person appointment to apply for a new social security number.
  • When you call this number, you will first be presented with the option of continuing in English or switching to Spanish. Select 1 to continue in English or 2 to switch to Spanish.
  • You will then hear a lengthy recorded message that explains all of the information available to you on their website and provides a different phone number for services available by phone. This information does not apply to you, since you are seeking an in-person appointment to apply for your SSN.
  • Next, they will provide you with options for service. You will need to select option 2 to continue with your call.
  • After this, you will be given more service options. Please choose the option to wait on the line to speak to the next available agent by pressing 0.
  • Once you are connected with an agent, let them know that you are seeking an in-person appointment to apply for a new social security number.

Once the Application is Processed

Your SSN card will be mailed directly to the address you provide in the SSN application. It is a heavy paper card, NOT a plastic card, which can be easily overlooked or lost. When you receive your card, please ensure that all the information printed on it is correct. Please keep it in a safe place.

The card must be presented to the employing department (if within UF) or the company (if paid internship, training, etc.) for completion of the payroll process. You do not need to present your card to UFIC or Support Services.

In the event the SSN card is lost, the applicant will need to apply for a replacement card. Please see the guidance provided on the SSA website:

Frequently Asked Questions:

The Social Security Administration’s office hours and location are available on their website, here:

Please contact SSA directly by calling their general inquiry line at 877-219-8323.

  • When prompted, please choose to wait on the line for an agent.
  • When you are prompted a second time, you will need to press 0 to speak to the next available agent.

Please be patient as your wait time may vary; you should be able to speak with someone at the SSA office who can assist you.

If you have lost your Social Security card, you will need to apply for a replacement card. The Social Security Administration requires that you have an in-person appointment in order to receive a replacement SSN card. You also must have current employment.

International students needing a replacement SSN card should call the Social Security Administration office directly to schedule an in-office appointment. Their number is (877) 219-8323. When you speak to the representative, be sure to be clear that you are seeking a replacement card, not an original number.

When you go to your appointment, you will need to bring the following items:

  1. Completed SS-5 Application Form:
  2. Offer of Employment Letter *you must currently be employed to get a replacement.
  3. Your EAD card (if applicable)
  4. Your Continued Attendance I-20 form
  5. Your original passport and F1 Visa
  6. Printout of I-94 Record (not the history) – most recent entry to the US:

If you receive your SSN card and your name is misspelled, you will need to get a replacement card. For a misspelled name, you will not need to make a new appointment at the Social Security Administration.

Please call the Social Security Administration directly at 877-219-8323. When you are connected to an agent, please inform them that you have received your SSN card with a misspelling on it and will need to be issued a new one.

Please have the following information ready to tell the agent:

  1. Your date of birth (Month/Day/Year)
  2. The incorrect spelling on your current card
  3. The correct spelling to be on your new card