Use the Study in the States glossary to define key terms throughout the F and M student process in the United States. If you are a current or prospective student, select “students” to see terms that specifically relate to you—from visas, to forms, benefits, and more. School officials should select “schools” to find more information on certification, responsibilities, and how to help their F and M students. You can also sort terms by selecting the letter of the alphabet a term begins with.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

A tax processing number the Internal Revenue Service issues to an individual who needs to report income (and pay income taxes) but is ineligible to obtain a Social Security number from the Social Security Administration.

Social Security number

A nine-digit number assigned by the Social Security Administration to approved F and M students that are eligible to apply for employment in the United States.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

A federal agency whose missions include preventing terrorism and enhancing security, managing U.S. borders, administering immigration laws, securing cyberspace, and ensuring disaster resilience. Through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, DHS secures the student visa system.