Social Security Number
If you are employed on-campus, or off-campus with
appropriate CPT or OPT work authorization from OIS, you will need to apply for
a Social Security Number (SSN) by visiting your local Social Security
Administration (SSA) office. You should check with the Office of International
Services in order to start this process.
When should I go to the SSA office?
SSA must verify your immigration status with
the SEVIS database. It takes some time for the two federal databases to
communicate the correct information about your immigration status. The normal
processing time is approximately 10 business days. Therefore,
OIS strongly recommends waiting at least 10 business days from time of entry
into the US before applying for your SSN.
Applying prior to this
time may result in the delay of issuing your SSN for up to three months!
is the SSA office?
The nearest office is located at:
104 S. Halsted Street
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
What should I take to
the SSA office?
- Your passport
- Your Form DS-2019 if
in J-1 status, or Form I-20 if in F-1 status
- Your Form I-797 if in H-1B status
- Your EAD card if in J-2, F-1/OPT, or
pending Permanent Residency
- Your I-94 card
- Letter of
job offer addressed to student from employer/department
- Letter from OIS if you
are in F-1 or J-1 status (request this letter from OIS in advance.) F and J
students must be enrolled full-time prior to requesting the OIS letter.
How do I request a SSA letter from OIS?
Please obtain the Student Request Form from our website. Complete the form and return it to OIS in
order to request a Social Security Letter.
Do I need a SSN to open a bank account?
U.S. financial institutions are required to
verify the identity of every individual who opens a bank account. In compliance
with federal regulations, all banks operating in the U.S. have established
Customer Identification Programs (CIP) that they are to follow for anyone who
seeks to open an account. While the specifics of the CIP may vary from one bank
to another, Department of Treasury regulations found at 31 CFR § 103.121 set
forth the following minimal information that the banks must obtain from you
before allowing you to open an account:
- Your name
- Your date of birth
- Your street address -
no P.O. Box
- An identification
The regulations 31 CFR §
103.121(b)(i)A)(4)(ii) clarify that for a non-U.S. person the identification
number shall be one or more of the following:
identification number (ITIN)
- passport number and
country of issuance
- alien identification
- number and country of
issuance of any other government-issued document evidencing nationality or
residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard
It is important to remember that banks
establish their own customer identification programs and may ask for additional
documentation than is described above because they are ultimately responsible
for establishing the identity of their customers.
Can I apply for an Illinois Driver's License without a SSN?
A Social Security Number is not required to
obtain a State of Illinois Drivers License. International
F-2, J-1, J-2, among others) in Illinois may obtain a Temporary Visitor
Drivers License (TVDL) from
various locations in the state. To apply, you will need to visit the Social
Security Administration to request a letter stating that you are not eligible
for an SSN, this is known as a Form L-676. If, however, you are eligible for a
SSN, then you must apply for and receive the SSN before applying for a state
For more information,
visit the Social Security Administration web site: http://ssa.gov/ssnumber/