How to Apply for a Social Security Number

Partially covered Social Security Card

In the U.S. a Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number used to report your wages to the government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you are employed in the U.S., you need a Social Security number to work.

  • Students in F-1 status are eligible for Social Security numbers provided they have obtained an on-campus job. F-1 students automatically have permission to work on-campus.
  • Students in J-1 status are eligible for Social Security numbers provided they have obtained an on-campus job.  J-1 students do not automatically have permission to work on campus and must request authorization from ISSS. Students in J-1 status seeking on-campus work authorization, please submit a request in Interlink.

A SSN is not needed to obtain an Ohio driver’s license or Ohio state ID.

Application Requirements for Current Miami F-1 or J-1 Students

  1. Be registered at Miami full-time
    • Undergraduate students: 12 credits
    • Graduate students: 9 credits
  2. Be employed or have an offer of employment
    • If you are not currently employed, you may search for on campus jobs at Student Employment.

The Social Security Administration requires the following items in order to apply for a Social Security Number:

  • Valid Passport
  • Visa (Exception: students from Canada and Bermuda are not required to have a visa)
  • Entry stamp in passport and I-94 card information.
  • Current I-20 or DS-2019
  • Job Offer Letter from Miami
    • Confirmation of Student Appointment Letter OR
    • Graduate Assistantship Contract
  • ISSS Letter of Eligibility
    • Go to InterLink
    • Log in using your Miami Unique ID and password
    • Complete the e-form “Social Security Eligibility Letter Request”
    • You will be notified by International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) when your letter is ready for pick-up.
  • Complete the Form SS-5

Other issues to consider

  • Due to SSA policy, you may not apply more than 30 days before the employment start date.
  • If you are a new student, you should delay applying for a social security number until at least two weeks after the start of the term to avoid denial from the Social Security Administration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a social security number to start working?

No, you do not need a social security number before you start working.  In fact, you cannot apply until you have a job.  Once you begin working you can apply for your social security number.

I’m on approved CPT, OPT, or Academic Training—do I need a social security eligibility letter?

No, you do not. You should show your work authorization document.

Location of Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration (SSA) office is not located in Oxford. International students planning to apply for the social security number on their own should visit the Hamilton, OH office in located at:

6553 Winford Avenue
Hamilton, OH

The SSA is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 9AM to 4PM and on Wednesdays from 9AM to 12PM, except for federal holidays.

Travel to SSA

  • By private vehicle.
  • By taxi. Please visit the Transportation Page on Miami’s website and go to “Taxi Service” for a listing of local taxi companies or services that will pick up customer where required.
  • By public transit. Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCRTA) is free with the Miami student ID card. While there is no direct bus line from Oxford to the SSA office in Hamilton, consult the BCRTA website for current routes and schedules to connect through transfer.