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

A Social Security number is only required if you work in the U.S. (even if you work on-campus) and can be obtained with proof of legal employment. See the following to learn how to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).

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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.

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. Please come to the ISS office to pick up the letter or request ISS to send you copies of the letter through the U.S. Postal Service.

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.

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. Please come to the ISS office to pick up the letter or request ISS to send you copies of the letter through the U.S. Postal Service.

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.