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Social Security Number

International Student Services

» Getting a Social Security Number

What is a Social Security Number?

  • A Social Security number (SSN) is a unique identification number assigned for life. This number will never change, and is tied to a single person's identity. 
  • An SSN is used to report wages to the U.S. government. Everyone who works in the U.S., even non-immigrants, are required to have a Social Security number.
  • A Social Security number is not a work permit.

Who needs a Social Security Number?

Only those with approved work authorization and employment offers for paid positions will be approved for an SSN. Non-U.S. citizens will not be granted an SSN without work authorization. 

If you meet this qualification, you may apply for a Social Security number and card with the approval and assistance of ISS.

A Social Security number is not required for other purposes, such as:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Renting an apartment off campus
  • Getting a driver’s license

To establish your identity with these institutions, you may provide alternate evidence of your identity and records of your financial transactions.

Nearby Social Security Offices

900 S. Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92805

Santa Ana
1851 E. First St., Suite 500
Santa Ana, CA, 92705

Fountain Valley
17075 Newhope St., Suite B
Fountain Valley, CA, 92708

Mission Viejo
23311 Madero
Mission Viejo, CA 92691

International Student Services provides general guidance. Any advice provided to you by the ISS should not be construed as legal advice.

Additionally, due to the fluid nature of governmental interpretation, government agencies such as USCIS/ICE/CBP may change their interpretation of immigration laws/regulations and eligibility requirements for benefits at any time. We will do our best to provide the most current guidance.

Each case is fact-specific and it is advised that you contact an experienced immigration attorney if you have questions regarding your situation.