Social Security Number Application Procedures

What you should know before you apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)
  • You must be enrolled for the current academic term at the University of Miami to apply for a SSN.

  • You may not begin on-campus employment (includes graduate students with assistantships) more than 30 days prior to the actual start of classes upon initial entry to begin a new course of study.

  • You may not take your application (see below) to SSA until you have been in the U.S. for a minimum of 10 days. This is how long it will take U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to review your records in CIS's pre-processing immigration document/status verification check called "SAVE" (Systematic Alert Verification for Entitlements).

  • Attention Graduate Students with Assistantships: You should bring enough funds to cover your expenses for at least one month since payments for assistantships are issued only after a period of work, usually a month. You may not receive payment until you have a SSN, which will take at least two weeks to obtain. No federal or state financial aid or scholarships are available to international students. You are expected to have available the funds you showed on your Declaration and Certification of Finances during your period of studies at UM.

  • You may begin on-campus employment once you have applied for an SSN and must complete an electronic Form I-9, “Employment Eligibility Verification,” with the Office of Student Employment without the SSN within three days from the employment start date. Once you have obtained the SSN, you must report the SSN to the Registrar's Office AND present your card to the person in your department who originally completed the I-9/E-Verify.  This person will record your SSN under the "Correct I-9" option and proceed to request the required Federal E-Verification.

How to apply for a SSN
Step 1 - Obtain proof of employment authorization. The nature of the proof depends on the type of employment eligibility being used to support the application for an SSN:

For F-1 on-campus employment proof of eligibility, you must have two letters, which include the following:

  1. A letter from your on-campus employer providing verification of the offer of employment. Per SSA requirements, the letter from your on-campus employer must conform to the Sample On-Campus Employer Offer Letter; and

  2. A letter from your ISSS Advisor affirming that you are attending UM and have been offered an on-campus job. Bring all of the following documents to ISSS and complete the ISSS Student Letter of Certification Application in order for ISSS to prepare a letter affirming that you are attending UM and have been offered an on-campus job:
    • On-campus employer letter
    • Form I-94 (small white card given to you on the plane and stamped by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, DHS, when you entered the U.S.)
    • Form I-20 and passport, if you are a new student
For Curricular Practical Training (CPT) proof of eligibility, you must show the CPT authorization on the employment page of Form I-20;

For Optional Practical Training (OPT) or off-campus employment proof of eligibility, you must present an employment authorization document (EAD) issued by DHS.

For J-1 student employment proof of eligibility, you must have a letter from your exchange program sponsor authorizing employment. Consult with your ISSS Advisor on obtaining proof of employment.

Step 2 - Take proof of employment authorization, Form I-94, Form I-20 (F-1 students) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 students), and passport to SSA along with a foreign or US driver’s license or your birth certificate. (Visit for information and directions to the Social Security office nearest you.)

Step 3 - At SSA, complete Form SS-5, Application for SSN. You must include your legal name as the name to be printed on your Social Security Card. Your legal name is the name in your passport. The name you enter on Form SS-5 must EXACTLY match the name reflected in your passport. You should request a receipt at the time that you apply for the SSN for verification that you have applied for a SSN.

Your Social Security Card will be mailed to your home in approximately two weeks. The process may take up to one month if your records do not immediately appear in SAVE.

After you receive your SSN
The SSN is an important document and should be safeguarded.

Report your SSN to the Office of the Registrar, 1307 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables FL 33124, in order to avoid problems with your records and payments.

If you work on campus, read the Office of Student Employment (OSE) brochure titled HOW WORK WORKS at UM, which outlines procedures and forms required for all student employees, including a specific section for graduate students with assistantships. There is also a link that will take you to a brochure for specific instructions for international students:

International student direct link from the OSE website

Graduate Assistantship instructions direct link from the OSE website

Social Security Number and Taxes
Although your employer should withhold any U.S. income tax related to your employment, Social Security Withholding/Medicare (F.I.C.A.) should not be deducted from the salary of F-1 students, unless you are considered a "resident for tax purposes," a situation which normally occurs after a student has been here at least five years.