Social Security

Your Social Security Number

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a U.S. government institution that maintains a benefits program for injured, disabled, or retired people. The money for this program is obtained through withholdings from employees’ pay and from employers’ contributions. The Social Security Administration issues a Social Security Number by which to mark people in the Social Security system. This number also serves as a major identification number for U.S. citizens, permanent residents (“green card” holders), and legal non-immigrants in the U.S.

As international students who will be pursuing your studies in the U.S. for a certain period of time, you are advised to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) if you have found and received authorization for on-campus employment. When you come to FIU, you may have been given a 7-digit Panther ID number. This is not your SSN but just a university identification number that can only be used for university purposes such as registration. A social security number can be granted ONLY by the Social Security Administration (SSA) office of your residential area.

Once you have an on-campus job, get a detailed letter from your employer (see a sample department letter on the forms page by clicking on “Download Forms”). This letter will need an additional signature from ISSS. Submit the letter to ISSS along with an ISSS Document Request Form requesting an On-Campus Employment Certification. Once you have obtained all required signatures, you will take the letter along with your valid passport, FIU I-20 or DS-2019, I-94 (white card) and a completed SSN application form to a Social Security Administration (SSA) Office.

REMEMBER: A Social Security Card is issued ONLY if

  • you have authorized employment/graduate assistantship
  • IMPORTANT: If you are a new student, your record will be set to ACTIVE once you complete your virtual check in. This process may take up to 10 business days after you have checked in. Once your record is active, you will receive an e-mail from ISSS. Please wait 48 hours after receiving this e-mail to go to the Social Security Office to get your SSN.

For additional information, please read our SSN Application Information Sheet.

Due to changes in SSA and DHS policies and procedures, obtaining a SSN has become more restricted and highly regulated. ISSS cannot guarantee the issuance of a SSN or the exact processing time for your application. Please allow for 30 to 90 days processing time.

Access the SSA Website for more details on their services and FAQs.