A student in F-1 status must possess one of the following to apply for a Social Security number:
Be aware that having a Social Security number does not authorize employment. In fact, the card issued to you will read “valid for work only with the CIS authorization” because only USCIS may grant employment authorization. Once this number is issued, it will serve the purpose of tracking your income for tax purposes. Please safeguard this very important document and keep it with your passport.
The Social Security Administration web site is also a useful resource: www.ssa.gov
If you are in one of these categories, you will need to take the following items to a Social Security Administration office to apply for a number:
The SSA must confirm your status with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and it may take a few weeks before a Social Security number is issued to you. If the SSA is unable to confirm your Status with DHS, they will still issue you a receipt showing that you applied for the card. But, it will also address the delay stating that it could take up to four weeks to verify your documents.