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International Student and Scholar Services
University of Mississippi

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 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):

  1. One of the following
  2. The sample job offer letter may be copied onto letterhead.
  3. Pick up Status verification letter from ISSS when notified via email from
  4. Copy immigration documents required
  5. Apply in person at the Security Office in Tupelo

The following documents must be presented when applying for the SSN:

  • F-1 students -Job offer letter from employing department
  • J-1 students – Letter of affiliation/support from J-1 Program Advisor
  • Status verification letter from ISSS
  • Form SS-5: “Application for A Social Security Number Card”
  • I-20 or DS-2019 (Copy & Original)
  • I-94 Card (Copy of back and front & Original)
  • Passport (Copy of visa and identification page & Original)

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 Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9:00am-4:00pm. and on Wednesdays from 9:00am – 12 noon. The SSA is closed for federal holidays.
  • Contact Information:
    • Social Security Administration – Regional Office 199 Saddle Creek Drive Tupelo, Mississippi 38801 866-504-4267

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. 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 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,



[Employer Name]

[Department Name]


[Physical Address]

[City, State, Zip]

[Phone Number]

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 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

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.