Social Security Number

Getting a Social Security Number

There are specific guidelines and procedures that international students must follow when applying for a Social Security Number from the Social Security Administration. Read below for more information on how the application process works.

Requirements and Procedures

  • A completed SS-5 form (available in the Office of Student Services, Human Resources, or online)
  • Valid Passport
  • Original SEVIS I-20 document (for F-1 visa holders) or DS-2019 (for J-1/J-2 visa holders)
  • A valid I-94 card (this is a small form you fill out at the port of entry)
  • Proof of employment eligibility (job offer letter, and an I-20 endorsed for CPT)
  • A letter of support from the International Student Adviser
To minimize any delays please bring originals of all documents. The SSA does not accept any photo copies of documents. Students at MIIS can begin their on-campus employment once the application has been filed with SSA.
The start date of your employment can not be prior to the date on the SSA receipt. A Social Security Number and card will be issued within two weeks of receiving certification from the Department of Homeland Security.

What is a Social Security Number?

Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9-digit number issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and temporary (working) non-residents by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes. It is not intended to be used for identification purposes.

Per current legislation SSNs can only be issued to someone who:

  1. Is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
  2. Has a valid job offer and is eligible for legal employment.

Currently SSNs are only issued to non-residents who have an employment offer. Dependents in F-2 status are not eligible for an SSN since they are not permitted to work.

Please note that students do not need an SSN to register for classes at MIIS, get a driver’s license in California or open a bank account. However, landlords, utility, cable and cell phone companies may request an SSN to do a credit history check to determine the amount of deposit they will require to secure housing or to activate services.

The SSA provides more information on SSNs for international students.

Students and scholars who are not eligible for an SSN may be eligible for a Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to use for filing taxes during tax season reporting.

Social Security Administration Locations

The closest Social Security Administration office to the Monterey Institute campus is located at:

928 E. Blanco Rd., Suite 155
Salinas, CA 93901
1-800-772-1213 or 1-877-600-2857

Social Security Administration Office map