Applying for a U.S. Social Security Number
In order to be eligible for a SSN (Card), F-1 students must have a job or job-offer on campus, and J-1s students must have a letter of affiliation/support from their J-1 Program Advisor.
F-1 and J-1 students/scholars may begin working while the application for an SSN is being processed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). They may not, however, receive income until SSN processing receipt and or SSN has been issued and processed by the Human Resources department of their respective employer.
Employers may wish to reference the SSA’s Fact Sheet, Employer Responsibilities When Hiring Foreign Workers, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/hiring.htm. This fact sheet contains information on how to report wages for an employee who has not yet received an SSN.
To apply for the SSN, students must (in order):
- Obtain one of the following
- J-1: Letter of affiliation/support from J-1 Program Advisor
- Upload your completed “Request” form into our J-1 Employment Permission Box Folder
- See the last section of this webpage for more information
- F-1: Job offer letter on departmental letterhead from employing department
- The sample job offer letter may be copied onto letterhead. The job offer letter must be printed on the letterhead of the department/company which has made the job offer. The Social Security Administration has requested a job offer letter using the format below. If you would like a fill-in-the-blank version, you may click on the link above.
- A sample job offer letter may be copied onto letterhead. We do not have your department’s letterhead; your department will have it.
- J-1: Letter of affiliation/support from J-1 Program Advisor
- Once you have your Job Offer letter, please update it to the SSN Box Folder so that our office can provide your Status Verification Letter.
- Print out or pick up Status Verification Letter from ISSS when notified via email from email@example.com.
- Copy immigration documents required (seen below)
- Apply in person at the Security Office in Tupelo
- The ISSS office has a Social Security Officer that comes to campus once a semester. Information about the visit will be sent out around the second week of classes.
As a caution when applying:
The social security office has gotten several emails from students because a student inadvertently gave the wrong address. The Social Security Office can’t reprocess those applications. If your address was wrong in your application, you will need to schedule an appointment in Tupelo to re-apply.
I have also heard from some students about Oxford Post Office being very strict. If the student’s name is not on the mail box they will not deliver the mail. The card will be sent back to the Tupelo central office and destroyed. Also, the Oxford Post Office will not deliver to a dorm hall.
If you do not have your receipt or card within 10 days, you can call 1-866-504-4267 to schedule an in-office appointment.
The following documents must be presented when applying for the SSN:
- Completed Social Security Application (Form SS-5)
- Original *and* Copy of your Passport Information Page
- Original *and* Copy of your Passport Visa Page
- Original *and* Copy of your immigration document (I-20/DS-2019)
- Copy of your (I-94 Arrival record)
- Job Offer Letter*
- *Job offer letter should look like (this). We do not have your department’s letterhead; your department will have it.
- Status Verification Letter (SVL) from ISSS**
- **If have not already received your Status Verification Letter from ISSS, please upload your job offer letter (here). You can have your SVL sent over email. **
J1 and F1 Visa holders only: Once you have your Job Offer letter, please update it to the SSN Box Folder so that our office can provide your Status Verification Letter.
Additionally, please note that the following statuses do not allow employment, thus preventing the issuance of a SSN: F-2, H-4, TD and B.
Where can you apply for an SSN?
- You can apply for an SSN at the regional office of the SSA in Tupelo, Mississippi. The SSA office is open Monday- Friday from 9:00am-4:00pm. The SSA is closed for federal holidays.
- Contact Information:
- Social Security Administration – Regional Office 199 Saddle Creek Drive Tupelo, Mississippi 38801
How can I get to the Social Security Administration Office?
International students/scholars, holding primary F or J status, which do not have access to personal transportation may arrange for a ride via the International Student & Scholar Services to the SSA in Tupelo, Mississippi. Rides are not offered to F or J dependents or to U.S. citizens. Rides are offered periodically through the International Student & Scholar Services in Martindale room 331, but they have been postponed until further notice due to Covid-19. Days and times will be posted at the front desk sign-up sheet. Ride capacity is restricted at maximum 6 international students/scholars per SSA-Ride-Day.
- For booking, send your request including name, student ID #, and date to firstname.lastname@example.org. A confirmation will be sent with a reminder of time, date, and preparation of documents. Advance booking closes at noon on the Tuesday prior to the SSA-Ride-Day.
SSA Ride Days/Times Coordinated by ISSS
SSA trips will be determined by ISSS based on availability and need. Please allow at least 3 hours in your schedule for the trip to and from Tupelo. Please sign up for a shuttle date you will need at the ISSS front desk.
- For further questions, please contact: International Student Advisor International Student & Scholar Services.
Sample Letter of Job Offer
The Job or Job Offer letter must be printed on the letterhead of the department/company which has made the job offer. The Social Security Administration has requested a Job Offer Letter using the format below. If you would like a fill-in-the-blank version, you may download one here
Dear Social Security Administration Officer,
Please accept this letter to accompany the Social Security application of [Student Name], who is a/an [Visa Type] student at the University of Mississippi. The above named student has been offered employment as a [Job Title] in the department of [Department Name].
The general duties of this position include: [Description of Main Responsibilities].
It is our understanding that the student is eligible to work a maximum of 20 hours per week while enrolled when the school is in session.
The student will begin work on [Date] and will work [##] hours per week.
The student’s immediate supervisor is [Name of Immediate Supervisor].
The University of Mississippi’s EIN is: 646001159
Thank you for your consideration,
[City, State, Zip]
Social Security Number Application Form
You can download the Form SS-5 here. If you have questions regarding the process, you may contact the staff in the ISSS office. If you have questions for the Social Security Administration, you may reach them at www.ssa.gov or Tupelo Office at 1-866- 504-4267.
ISSS offers occasional shuttles to the Tupelo office for international students and scholars who need to apply for Social Security. For more information about our courtesy shuttle service, please contact us at 662-915-7404 or email@example.com.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers
Generally, all F-1 an J-1 visa holders and their dependents are required to file tax forms each year, whether or not they earned any income. When completing the tax forms, you are required to indicate your U.S. Social Security number. However, many individuals who hold other non-immigrant statuses are not eligible for social security numbers, since the issuance of Social Security numbers is tied to eligibility for employment authorization.
Therefore, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to be used by the limited number of non-U.S. citizen individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security number, but who have tax responsibilities. An ITIN is a nine-digit number that always begins with a 9 and has a 7 or 8 for the fourth digit; example: 9xx-7x-xxxx
The ITIN is for tax purposes only. It cannot be issued for other purposes, such as applying for a driver’s license or state ID card.
You as the applicant must have a valid tax purpose for obtaining an ITIN; otherwise, the IRS cannot accept your application. Examples include:
- An F-1 student receiving a non-compensatory scholarship or fellowship grant who shows written proof that his or her application was rejected by the Social Security, or has a letter from the designated school official stating that he/she will not be securing employment while in the United States. In most cases on our campus this would apply to student athletes who have scholarships that pay for room and board. The University of Mississippi does not allow scholarship’s taxable amount to be posted to a student’s account until an ITIN or Social Security number has been obtained.
- An individual not eligible for a social security number but required to file a tax return to claim a refund of tax under the provisions of a U.S. tax treaty
- An individual not eligible for a Social Security number but who is the dependent child or spouse of a non-resident visa holder from Canada, Mexico, India, or Republic of Korea (these are the only countries that permit non-residents for tax purposes to claim spouses or children as dependents on their tax returns, based on the terms of the tax treaty with the United States.)
- An individual not eligible for a Social Security number who is a dependent or spouse of an individual who is a resident for tax purposes (once an F-1 student has been in that non-immigrant status for more than five years, that student becomes a resident for tax purposes and can claim their spouse and/or children as dependents on their U.S. tax return).
- An individual not eligible for a Social Security number but who has opened an account with a financial institution that generates income subject to either reporting or withholding
To apply for an ITIN, obtain form W-7 from the IRS
For individuals seeking an ITIN in order to file an income tax return, the W-7 must be filed along with the income tax return.
Student athletes seeking an ITIN in order to meet reporting or withholding requirements of The University of Mississippi will be advised by the student advisor at International Student and Scholar Services. If you are eligible to file for ITIN it takes four to six weeks to receive an ITIN decision.
Staff at International Student and Scholar Services are neither qualified nor permitted to give individual tax advice. Tax information is available only at tax workshops scheduled during the academic year.
Request for J-1 On-Campus Employment Permission
Per the regulations of the U.S. State Department which governs J-1 status, J-1 students may not engage in any campus employment until their request for employment permission is officially approved via the International Student & Scholar Services. Permission may only be granted in increments of one year or less. Once approved, employment may be for up to 20 hours a week (while school is in session) during the authorized dates and at the location listed on this form only.
Even if you had an SSN before working this year, completing the following form is a requirement for campus work.
Please complete the following two steps so that I can update your SEVIS account and make sure that you are complying with your Visa regulations.