Social Security Information

Applying for a Social Security Number

Any F-1 or J-1 student who will be employed by LSU or who has received authorization from International Services (IS) or USCIS to work for another employer in the U.S. must apply for a Social Security number (SSN). Receipt of this number will help to ensure that you are paid in a timely manner. Obtaining an SSN can take a month (or longer, in rare cases), so you are advised to apply as soon as you have all of the required documentation. (See drop-down sections below for a list of required documentation.) 

Note for new students: Before applying for an SSN, you need to be in the U.S. for a minimum of 10 days after completing your SEVIS Check In with International Services. Visit our webpage for additional instructions on reporting your arrival to the U.S.

After you receive your Social Security number, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Notify the LSU Payroll Office in 204 Thomas Boyd Hall and provide them with a copy of your Social Security card. This step is necessary to continue to receive payment for on-campus employment.
  2. Immediately notify your employer and your bank of your U.S. SSN.
  3. Keep your Social Security card in a safe, secure place at home along with your non-immigrant documents. Because of the possibility of identity theft, it is not advisable that you carry your Social Security card in your wallet.

If You Are Ineligible 

If you are not eligible for an SSN (i.e., you do not work in the U.S.), and you need to apply for a driver's license or other document that requires an SSN, you can request a Social Security "letter of ineligibility" from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The official letter from SSA serves as evidence that you are not eligible to apply for an SSN. You can provide this letter when applying for a driver's license, a state ID, or a lease for an apartment and to open a bank account. 

Documents Required

  1. Completed Form SS-5 Social Security application.
  2. Original, unexpired, and most-recent I-20 or DS-2019.
  3. Original, unexpired passport.
  4. Your most recent I-94 admission record (marked F-1, D/S) or your I-797 approval notice.
  5. Proof of employment and/or authorization, depending on your current situation and job type.
    • F-1 Student Workers must show an original, official job offer letter from the hiring department and authorization from International Services; this information will be provided in a combined letter.
    • F-1 Graduate Assistants must show two documents.
      • A graduate assistantship job offer letter with details of appointment; if a signature is required, the offer letter must show your signature confirming that you have accepted the assistantship terms.
      • An original, official job offer letter from the hiring department and authorization from International Services; these two items will be provided in a combined letter.
    • F-1 students on OPT  or other off-campus work permission authorized by USCIS must show a Valid EAD card issued by USCIS (for OPT or Economic Hardship).
    • F-1 Students approved for CPT  must show a Valid CPT Authorization listed on page 2 of their original I-20.

  1. Completed Form SS-5 Social Security application.
  2. Original J-1 program Sponsor Letter.
    • If your DS-2019 was issued by LSU, you can complete the Sponsor Letter Request online.
    • If your DS-2019 was not issued by LSU, you must request the sponsor letter from your J Program Sponsor.
  3. Original, unexpired, and most recent DS-2019.
  4. Original, unexpired passport.
  5. Your most recent I-94 admission record (marked J-1 and D/S) or your I-797 Approval Notice.

Social Security numbers are only available to those who are eligible for employment in the U.S. Therefore, anyone who is not eligible for employment because of their visa status (F-2, H-4, etc.) also is not eligible for a Social Security number, with no exceptions. Rather than an SSN, these individuals may apply for an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN).

For information and instructions to apply for an ITIN, please see this IRS webpage. If you have questions after consulting the IRS Web site, contact the LSU Office of Accounting Services (204 Thomas Boyd Hall) at 225-578-3321.

Baton Rouge Social Security Administration Office

5455 Bankers Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Phone: 866-613-3070
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

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