How do I apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)?

During COVID-19, the Social Security Administration(SSA) Office located in Madison, WI will only be accepting appointments by phone. Please make sure you have set up your personal voicemail before calling their office.  

During this call the SSA representative will go through all the required documents needed to obtain a Social Security Number. If you are unable to reach a representative, please continue to call their phone until you are able to discuss your application with a representative.

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F-1 students

First, determine your eligibility for an SSN.

You must first have a job offer from an on-campus employer, or authorization (see the F-1 Employment page) to work off-campus under Curricular Practical Training or Optional Practical Training.

Review the updated Social Security Administration information on what needs to be included in an ISS SSN Letter and Employment Letter to be used to apply for a Social Security Number: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0110211270

Step 1:

Request the Social Security Letter from ISS (you will need a copy of your job offer letter for on-campus employment or most recent pay statement). The SSN Letter Request can be found on Terra Dotta.

Due to COVID, ISS will send you copies of the letter through the U.S. Postal Service. The Social Security Administration Office in Madison will not accept copies of letters. Therefore, we will not provide digital copies of the letters in Terra Dotta.

Step 2:

Apply at the Social Security Administration office using the following documents:

Once you have obtained your SSN, take it to the Registrar’s Office, 333 East Campus Mall, to update their records.

J-1 students

First, determine your eligibility for a SSN.

Step 1:

Get permission to work from the sponsor listed on page 1, Section 2 of your DS-2019.

If University of Wisconsin-Madison is your sponsor (program number P-1-00105 listed page 1, Section 2 on your DS-2019), complete the application on Terra Dotta called “On Campus Employment” to apply for the on-campus work permission letter.

Please allow two weeks for processing.

ISS will send you copies of the letter through the U.S. Postal Service. The Social Security Administration Office in Madison will not accept copies of letters. Therefore, we will not provide digital copies of the letters in Terra Dotta.

If you have a different sponsor, you will need to procure a permission letter for on-campus employment from them before you can proceed.

Step 2:

Apply at the Social Security Administration office using the following documents:

Once you have obtained your SSN, take it to the Registrar’s Office, 333 East Campus Mall, to update their records.