Social Security Number

Social Security Card

A Social Security card lists a social security number, which is a U.S. government identification number. You will need a social security card only if you are employed. You do not need one to apply for a driver’s license or open a bank account. 

To apply for a social security card:

Step 1—Gather the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • Your I-94 card
  • Your I-20
  • Your SJSU Tower card
  • Social Security Card Application
  • Your job offer letter from your employer
  • CPT/OPT I-20
  • F-1/J-1 status Verification Letter (from IPS Office,  issued together with your CPT/OPT I-20), OR Eligibility for International Student On-Campus Employment Letter (from IPS Office)

Step 2—Go to the Social Security Office:

The offices are open Monday through Friday, but times vary. There are several Social Security offices in San José, although the IPS Office recommends that you go to our local Social Security Office near campus as they are familiar with international student processing requirements:

  • 280 South 1st Street, Room 244

Other Social Security Offices:

  • 3315 Almaden Expressway
  • 2726 Aborn Street
  • 770 W. Hamilton Avenue, Campbell, CA

The Social Security Administration must verify your documents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before a number is assigned to you.  This process can take 2 to 3 weeks.  Do not ask the Social Security Office to expedite your processing, as it is beyond their control.  Check with your employer's Human Resources (HR) to verify if you can start working before receiving your social security number (SSN).  The IPS Office recommends that you do not work until you receive your SSN.