Skip to main content

International Student & Scholar Services


Int'l Student / Scholar Svcs
Fax: 202-885-3354
Butler Pavilion, Room 410

ISSS office walk-in advising hours: Mondays: 12:00 noon - 5:00 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Bakar, Senem S
Director, International Student & Scholar Services

Int'l Student / Scholar Svcs
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
410 Butler Pavilion
Washington, DC, USA 20016-8041

Social Security for F-1 Students

F-1 Student Checklist for Obtaining a Social Security Card


Obtain proof of both employment and work authorization. Proof types vary according to the type of employment listed below:

On-campus job

(to get a Social Security number for on-campus work you must show both your eligibility to work and proof that you have employment)

  • Signature from ISSS on Human Resources employment letter

Curricular Practical Training job

Optional Practical Training job

International Organization job


Collect the following documents and take them to the Social Security Administration office (listed below) to apply for your card.

  • Proof of employment (see step 1)
  • Proof of employment authorization (see step 1)
  • Original I-20 
  • Passport
  • F-1 Visa 

In addition to looking at your documents, a clerk may interview you and ask a few routine questions.

Social Security office hours may vary. Be prepared for a long wait.

Following are locations of a few of the Washington, DC, area offices. You may go to any office regardless of where you live.

Washington, DC

2100 M Street NW (south of Dupont Circle at the corner of 21st Street and M Street)


315 N. Washington Street



1401 Wilson Blvd., #200


There are many other Social Security offices in the region. Please see the Social Security Office Locator for additional locations.


Your Social Security card should be mailed to you within 2-3 weeks. In the meantime your employer's Human Resources office will probably want to see your receipt showing that you have applied for a card.


After showing your Social Security Card to your employer put it away in a safe place - the Social Security Administration advises that you should not carry your card with you.

Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

Social Security numbers are often used in cases of identity theft. Be cautious in sharing the number with anyone, and keep the card in a safe place with other important documents, rather than carrying it with you and risking losing it or having it stolen. For more information, please see the Social Security website page on Identity Theft. If you lose your Social Security card you will need to follow the same procedure to apply for a replacement card, which will have the same number. Note that you will again need to show current proof of employment and proof of work eligibility.

Replacement of a Lost Social Security Card

For other information, including name changes, please see the Social Security website.