Admitted International Students

Getting a Social Security Card


Social Security Card

A Social Security number is intended to accurately record your earnings in this country. International students in F-1 status have permission to work on campus and are therefore eligible for Social Security numbers. (Note: there are limitations to this permission. Consult an international student advisor for details.) Students or scholars in J-1 status are eligible for Social Security numbers provided that they have the J-1 sponsor's permission to work.

Most employees are required to pay a certain percentage of their earnings to the Social Security System through the Federal Insurance Compensation Act, otherwise referred to as the FICA tax. However, most F-1 and J-1 employees are usually exempt from the FICA tax (as are student employees).

Social security numbers are required for:

An F-1 student may work while the Social Security number application is being processed.  ​A Social Security number is required for the purpose of Federal and State taxes reporting.

If you are going to receive a fellowship or scholarship payment from the University.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Forms
All students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 status who are nonresident aliens for tax purposes are required to fill out an Internal Revenue Service form every year even if they have no U.S.-source income.

Social security numbers are not needed for:

It is not necessary to have a Social Security number in order to register for classes. Students use an eight-digit number called UM ID to register for classes.

F and J-visa holders do not need a Social Security number to open a bank account or for most other financial transactions. The bank may ask F and J-visa holders to fill out Internal Revenue Service form W-8 to prove that they are exempt from the requirement of providing a Social Security number.

How to apply for a Social Security card

Apply for a Social Security card at the Michigan Social Security Dearborn Office:

19853 Outer Drive, 2nd floor
Dearborn, MI 48124
Telephone: 313-278-9412

The office is located in the Eastpoint Building near the corner of Michigan Avenue and Outer Drive. It is directly behind Fitness USA and Sign of the Beefcarver, next to Farmer Jack supermarket.

There office hours are 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. They are closed on weekends and national holidays.

You will need a letter from the International Office, your passport, I-94 card and I-20 or DS-2019 when you apply. It often takes several weeks to receive your card. After you receive your Social Security card, be sure to notify the staff of the International Office.

For more information on Social Security cards, telephone 1-900-772-1213 or visit this website.