International students and scholars 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 appointment, paid job offer, or paid internship (please, do not forget to see the appropriate work authorization from UFIC) to apply for an SSN.
  • You may apply for the SSN no earlier than 30 days before the employment start date.
  • If you have previously applied and have lost or misplaced your SSN card, please contact your local SSA office for instructions.  

Social Security Number (SSN) Application Process

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

  1. Completed SS 5 Application form
    Completed SSA Questionnaire for Non-US Citizens: This document must be filled out according to the instructions on page 2.
  2. Employment Offer Letter (from the hiring department, when UF is the employer for assistantships/fellowships; from the hiring company for paid internships or other on-campus employment.) This letter must:
    • Be an original letter on employer letterhead, signed and dated by the supervisor/HR representative
    • Include the Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes
    • Include a current date and the prospective employee’s Given and Family/Surname
    • Provide the prospective employee’s position/job title, the start date and end date (if known), and the number of hours expected to work per week
    • Include the supervisor’s name, title, and telephone number
    • Additionally, for Off-Campus employment (such as paid internships):
    • 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)
  3. SSN Student Authorization Letter (from UFIC) 
    • If you are a new student with a new assistantship/fellowship, you must request an authorization letter which will be provided with your updated DS-2019 form.
    • For any off-campus work, please, contact your immigration advisor at UFIC before your start date for the necessary authorizations.
    • For on-campus employment, please, request a letter with UFIC
  4. Valid DS-2019 form
  5. Valid Passport, with a J-1 visa, Canadian citizens need not have a J-1 visa.
  6. Printout of I-94 Record- most recent entry into the US: (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. YourDS-2019 form
  5. Your original passport and J 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