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U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Study in the States

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Obtaining a Social Security Number

Why do I need a Social Security number?

In order to work in the United States, every eligible F and M student needs a Social Security number (SSN). If you do not know if you are eligible to work, please speak with your designated school official (DSO) or responsible officer (RO).

Am I able to apply for an SSN?

F and M students who have authorization to work in the United States may apply for an SSN. In addition, any F or M student who wishes to apply for a driver's license (in a state requiring an SSN before getting a license) may apply for an SSN.

Many states require that you or your dependent have an SSN or have already applied for one before you apply for a driver's license. If you or your dependents are not eligible to work, but want to apply for a driver's license, you must first apply for an SSN at the local Social Security office and receive a Form SSA-L676, "Refusal to Process SSN Application."  To learn more, see our Driving in the States page.

For more specific information, see our Steps for Obtaining an SSN page.

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