Center for International Education

Social Security Number

Social Security Number (SSN)

A SSN is used to track an employee’s wages for benefits eligibility and tax-reporting requirements. A Social Security Number is not required to obtain a driver's license, cell phone, credit card, insurance, admission to an academic institution or other "non-work" reasons.

CIE Social Security Application Packet and Frequently Asked Questions

When Can I Apply for a SSN?

As a student on an F1 visa, you are only eligible to apply for a SSN after you have a paid on-campus job offer or off-campus internship offer. If you have arrived to the U.S. on an Initial Attendance I-20 from UW Bothell, you must wait at least 10 days after your arrival in the U.S. and make sure that the CIE office at UWB has completed your SEVIS registration. The SS Office can’t process your application until your I-20 record is activated in the system by immigration and the CIE office.

How Long Will It Take to get my SSN? 

When you apply for the SSN, you can ask the SS Office for a receipt confirming that you submitted your application. The SSN is usually generated in the system within 24 hours, so you can visit the SS Office after 24 hours to ask for your assigned SSN. You will receive your physical SSN card in the mail within 1 to 2 weeks.

When Can I Start to Work? 

If the employment is at the University of Washington Bothell, you can begin to work only after your SSN is generated and you get it from the SS Office. The SSN is usually generated after 24 hours of your application is submitted to the SS Office.

If your employment is off-campus, then you may be able to begin work while you wait for your SSN card. Students should check with their employer to confirm, and can provide the following information to their employer: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10181.pdf

What do I do after I get my SSN and SSN Card?
After you get your SSN from the SS office after 24 hours, you should inform your employer. You can begin to work at UW now, even while you are waiting for your SSN card to arrive.

After you get your SSN card, you should bring it to the UWB Registrars Office in Husky Hall so that your SSN can be added to your student record. Once your SSN is in your student record, you can be entered in the system so that you can get paid for your on-campus job. 

Additional information from the Social Security Administration Office: International Students Applying for a Social Security Number