How to Apply for a Social Security Number
For International students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 status, the social security number application process goes as follows:
- Collect the required forms and documentation (see table below).
- Complete a Social Security Application Form SS-5
- Submit your application in person at the Social Security Administration's office with
the required documents. Request a verification receipt of your application.
- Wait approximately two weeks for your Social Security card to arrive in the mail.
- Present your Social Security card to employer for review.
- Keep original Social Security card for your records.
Please note: The Social Security Administration cannot process your application if:
- Your on-campus or F-1 Curricular Practical Training work begins more than 30 days from your application date; or
- The employment start date on your EAD Form I-766 or I-688B is a future date.
- You failed to check in with Berkeley International Office in your first semester.
| I-94 card or passport entry stamp ||X||X||X|
| Employer's Letter (see below) ||X|
| Work Permit from Sponsor (see below) ||X|
F-1 Student Employer’s Letter
F-1 students are required to present a job offer letter from their employer along with all other documents. Ask your employer
to copy the text from the sample letter below and complete it with your information. Then, bring the letter to Berkeley International Office for an Adviser's stamp and signature before going to the Social Security Adminstration office.
You can also download this template: Employer's Letter [doc]
[Use Business Letterhead Stationary]
[Date—current within last 30 days]
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is to certify that [student’s name] is enrolled as a full-time student pursuing a [degree level] in [major] at the University of California, Berkeley.
[Student’s name] will be working [full-time / part-time] at [name of employer]. [His/her] job will be to [describe job]. [His/her] employment start date is [date].
For additional information, please contact the student’s supervisor, [name of supervisor] at [telephone number].
Stamp and Signature of
J-1 Student Work and Fellowship Permits
J-1 students are required to obtain a work permit or a fellowship permit from their J sponsor (DS-2019 issuing entity) to apply for a Social Security Number. UC Berkeley-sponsored students can obtain their permits from Berkeley International Office if they are working or receiving a fellowship within the next thirty days by following the procedures listed at J-1 On-Campus Work Authorization.