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A Social Security number is available to students who are in good standing and allowed to operate. If you are not eligible for a Social Security number, you can ask the Social Security Administration for a “notice of ineligibility.” Your original I-20/DS-2019, passport, and I-94 card are required. In order to receive a driver’s license, the letter of ineligibility may be necessary.
The Social Security Administration usually takes 7-10 business days to validate your details after you apply. The Social Security card will then be mailed to you. Students will be issued an application receipt that they can use to start working as their application is being processed. The initial social security card must be issued to the employer upon receipt.
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Spring 2021 update: For the document SSN application criteria for your U.S. immigration status, see the What Do I Need to Apply? section below. You may apply for your Social Security number by mailing your documents or calling to schedule an appointment:
Employers and employers both use a Social Security Number (SSN) to record individual employee earnings for tax purposes. Since the SSN is permanent, you only need to apply once. A SSN is often often used for a number of non-official reasons, such as opening phone, service, or bank/credit card accounts; however, all of these transactions can be completed without one.
Change for Spring 2021: Fax copies of the documents mentioned below to 833-902-2526. Copies of your completed SS-5 application (write “looking for denial” at the top), passport, and I-20 or DS-2019 should be included.
As proof of ineligibility, a Social Security Denial Letter may be needed. This could be the case when applying for a driver’s license; you must have a Social Security Number (SSN) or a Rejection Letter stating that you are disqualified.
In essence, a Social Security number is a one-of-a-kind number issued to you by the federal Social Security Administration so that employers can verify your employment eligibility. It’s also important for employers to be able to tax your earnings properly. A Social Security number is not a “work card” or “work visa” in and of itself; it must be used in combination with other documents proving legal immigrant status in the United States, such as your Form DS-2019.
Your J-2 spouse is also eligible for a Social Security card, but he or she must first apply for and receive work authorization. The new Form I-765 for work authorization requires an application for a social security number that is completed automatically. As a result, if approved, both the work authorization and the SSN would arrive in the mail at the same time or within a few days of each other.
The office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and from 9:00 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. The entrance to the parking lot is on 12th Street. Take a number from the machine in the lobby and wait for it to appear on a screen in the waiting room when you arrive. Bring your documents to the window number on the computer to meet with a Social Security Administration officer, who will check and return your documents. If your application is approved, your Social Security card will arrive in the mail in around three weeks. Request a supervisor if the application is turned down. If a supervisor is unavailable, contact ISSS at (205) 934-3328 and request to talk with one of our foreign scholar advisors via the SSA officer. That day, the SSA officer will be unable to provide you with your Social Security number. You must wait for the card to be mailed to you.
If you’re an F-1 student working on campus and need a Social Security card, read the directions at the top of the Social Security Letter for U-M F-1 Students. Only original (not scanned) letters will be approved by the Social Security Administration, and all signatures must be written in ink.
You must apply for a Social Security number at the Social Security Administration office located at 3971 Research Park Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48108 if you are eligible. On the Social Security website, type in an Ann Arbor zip code (such as 48109) to find office hours, directions, and a map. Take Bus #6 (free with M-Card) to Stop 513 to get to the Social Security office by public bus (AATA) (W Ellsworth Road at S Research Park Drive). The stop is described on the AATA website.
Please wait until your scheduled check-in session and do not send the letter now if you have not attended Mandatory Check-in. You will not be able to receive a Social Security letter until you have checked in at the International Center.