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Social Security Numbers

Social Security is the U.S. government's social insurance plan. It is intended to benefit retired people and certain people who are injured, disabled, or left without adequate means of financial support. It is financed by means of withholdings from employees' pay and employer's contributions. In addition to the government's social insurance plan, the Social Security number is used for important processes such as tax-filing, background checks, and assessing eligibility for credit-based financial applications. Virtually all Americans have a "Social Security number" which designates their account with the Social Security Administration. Immigrant and non-immigrant workers are also required to obtain a Social Security number (SSN).

As an F-1 student, you will apply for an SSN after obtaining a job on or off campus with the help of the ISS office. Once you are assigned a Social Security number, it is yours for life. Please remember to keep your SSN card in a safe and secure location.  Do not laminate your card and always protect your SSN number.

  • Step I - Getting an Employment Eligibility Card and Completing the I-9 Form
  • Step II - Applying for a Social Security Number
  • Step III - Getting Paid
  • Questions?

Step I - Getting an Employment Eligibility Card and Completing the I-9 Form

New students who wish to work on-campus must first receive an offer of employment from an on-campus employer. At this time, your new supervisor will complete a 'Student Employment Verification Slip' for you to bring to the Student Employment Office so you will be able to get your Employment Eligibility Card.

You will be required to complete the government mandated I-9 Form and submit original documentation to prove identity and employment eligibility. This process must be completed in person in the Student Employment Office (SEO). The SEO is located in the University Services Center in Room 1350. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30am - 4:30pm.

In order to work on-campus, students must:

  • Be registered with full-time status.
  • Undergraduate Students: 12 credits
  • Graduate Students: 9 credits
  • Provide proof of on-campus employment, supplied by your employer. If you need to find a job on campus, check out the On-Campus Employment page on the Student Employment website for more information about how to find a job on-campus.
  • Complete the remote I-9 process.

Step II - Applying for a Social Security Number

Due to COVID-19, the process for obtaining an SSN this has changed.  The SSA Office is now seeing students by appointment only.  They are not open to the public at this time. 

To initiate an SSN appointment, please complete the Social Security Appointment Request form.  You will also need the following to successfully complete the form:

(1) If you are working on campus, a copy of your Hire Form from your RIT Employer (looks like this)

(2) If you will work on co-op, a screenshot of your completed Social Security Request Form for Co-op (after you have obtained your CPT I-20 from ISS)

Once you complete the Social Security Appointment Request form, you will receive an email from April Otucan, the ISS Graduate Assistant, with further instructions.

What to Take to the Appointment:

  • Application for Social Security Card (page 5)
  • Passport
  • I-20/DS-2019 confirming your F1/J1 status
  • Your I-94 Admission Number Information that you can find at
  • If you are beginning CPT, your Social Security Request Letter created and signed by an international student advisor
  • If you are working on campus, your Hire Form or SSN GRA form completed and signed by your on-campus employer and signed by an international student advisor

Social Security Office Location:

200 East Main St, 2nd Floor
Rochester, NY 14604
Telephone number: 1-800-772-1213

PLEASE NOTE – If you have recently entered the US – please wait AT LEAST 2 weeks so that your I-94 can be printed and the Social Security Office can access your record.

Getting Paid

  • A Social Security card with your Social Security number on it will be sent to the address listed on your application approximately 2 weeks after you apply. It is very important that you use an address where you are certain you will be able to receive mail for at least one month after submitting your application (to accommodate any delays in mailing) .
  • When you have your Social Security number you will inform the Registrar's Office of your number. ISS does not need to know your SSN. 
  • Paychecks are available at your place of employment.

Under this process, international students who have a Student Employment Office Eligibility Card may now be immediately hired and paid, but they must follow the critical steps above to remain on the Payroll without interruption.



Rachel Nemeth

(585) 475-2631


Jeff Cox

(585) 475-6943


Christa Abugasea

(585) 475-2418


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