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Social Security Information

Effective October 13, 2004, Social Security Administration (SSA) regulations require that all F-1 student and J-1 exchange visitor applicants for a social security number show proof of employment or an explicit job offer in order to be eligible for a social security number.  International students who do not have employment or an employment offer cannot obtain a Social Security Number.

What is a Social Security Number? 
It is a 9 digit number assigned by the SSA and is intended to primarily track a worker’s wages, but is often used by companies and other government agencies to identify many things like an individual’s credit history, driving record, etc. It is entirely different from the Campus Wide ID assigned to you by Loyola. 

Do I need a Social Security Number? 
If you have a job you must apply for a Social Security Number. As a full time F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor (J-1 exchange visitors must apply for permission), you are eligible to work on campus a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session and more than 20 hours per week during holidays and summer vacation.

If you are applying for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT), you must also apply for a social security number. Please ask the CIE staff for more details about CPT or OPT.

What if my supervisor wants more information about hiring international students?
Your on-campus supervisor may visit our webpage about On-Campus Employment for more information. If they have questions, they can contact the Center for International Education at 504-864-7550.

How can I apply?

First you must get a letter from your employer (on Loyola letterhead) that contains the following information:

  • Clearly identify the student
  • Name of Hiring Department
  • Anticipated or actual employment start date
  • Job description of student’s position (F-1 or J-1 international students can only be employed in student assistant positions. They cannot work as work-study students).
  • Number of hours the student is expected to work (please remember that F-1 students are only allowed to work a maximum of 20 hours per week when school is in session).
  • Name and contact information of the student’s immediate supervisor
  • Signed and dated by immediate supervisor
  1. CIE will then create a letter for you (be sure to request the letter at least 2 days before you intend to go to the SSA office).

  2. Complete the online application available on the SSA website.

  3. After you submit your online request successfully, you must visit your local Social Security office or card center with your documentation within 45 calendar days. You may be eligible to schedule an appointment before visiting your local Social Security office or card center.
    - Letter from CIE & letter from employer (Originals, on letterhead with signature)
    - Passport
    - I-20 or DS-2019
    I-94 card

When can I apply?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) suggests that you wait until you are in the United States for at least 10 days before you apply for a Social Security number. As well, the start date of employment can be no more than 30 days in the future at the time the SSN application is submitted to the Social Security Administration.

Where do I apply?
Complete the online application available on the Social Security Administration's (SSA) website. After you submit your online request successfully, you must visit your local Social Security office or card center with your documentation within 45 calendar days. You may be eligible to schedule an appointment before visiting your local Social Security office or card center. 

The nearest SSA office is located at 400 Poydras St., Suite 500, New Orleans, LA 70130. If you need information on other offices, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security website. 

Do I have to pay to get a Social Security card?
There is no charge to apply for a Social Security card.

How long will it take to get my Social Security Number?
It will take between 10 days and 6 weeks to receive your Social Security Number. Your card will be mailed to the address you specify on your Social Security application.  

Do I have to wait to get my card before I can start working?
No. You may start working right away, but you should apply for your Social Security card shortly after you are hired, so that on the first day of your employment you will have the receipt showing that you have applied for your Social Security card. If you are working on campus, you will have to complete employment forms in the Human Resources office (located in Mercy Hall, Room 102).

As soon as you receive your SS card you need to give the number to the Human Resources office. If you are on CPT or OPT, then you will need to do this with your employer.

What if I lose my card?
There are instances when you will be required to show your Social Security card, but it is usually the number that is most important. If you lose your card, but don’t remember your SS number, you will have to complete the application process all over again. If you lose your card, but you remember your number, you can apply for a replacement card.