Social Security Number

You can start your Social Security number (SSN) card application online (link provided below). Once you've submitted your application to the Social Security Administration you will be given instructions to visit the local Social Security Administration office with your required documentation within 45 calendar days.

Acceptable documents MUST be original or copies certified by the issuing agency, unexpired and must show name, date of birth or age.

After SSA verifies your document(s) and completes your request, you will receive your social security card in the mail within 14 business days.

Questions about the process or required documentation must be directed to the Social Security Administration. SSN applications are completely separate from your F-1 status, and the Office of International Programs staff are able to provide only basic guidance on the process. 

Important: Be very careful to follow all of the directions provided on the Social Security Administration website because they will turn you away if you do not produce proper documentation. You will need to take this responsibility very seriously, because it must be completed by the student individually. 

Update your records with MSU: As soon as you receive your Social Security Number, take the card to the Minot State Human Resources Office to change your temporary number to the permanent number. Also, inform your bank of your new Social Security Number.

What is a Social Security Number?

The Social Security Number (SSN) is intended only for use in relation to employment in the U.S. It is a taxpayer identification number. The Social Security number does not represent permission to work, nor is it proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence. The Social Security Administration does not accept applications from most non-resident alien visa holders unless they have actually been offered a job and have a letter of offer from their employer. Students who do not have a job will not be eligible to receive a social security number. In the past a social security number has been used in a wide variety of ways:

  • Credit card applications.
  • Opening bank accounts.
  • Purchasing cell phone or cable services and contracts.
  • Leasing an apartment or other housing.
  • Applying for a driver's license or state ID card.
  • Credit reports.
  • As a secondary form of ID for a wide variety of uses.

Students majoring in Teacher Education cannot get a North Dakota Education License without a Social Security Number. Therefore, we recommend that education majors apply for a job on campus before they graduate. Othere majors may have similar requirements; students should check with their academic advisors to see if a social security number is required for licensure examinations, or for other purposes. The Office of International Programs is not able to advise on, nor track, major-specific requirements.

United States employees pay 7.65% "F.I.C.A." tax, which includes the Social Security and Medicare taxes. The employer automatically withholds it from the employee’s paycheck. If you are paid, you will have this tax withheld unless you are tax exempt due to your immigration status. F-1 students should not have the Social Security or Medicare taxes withheld if they have been in the United States for less than five calendar years.




Last updated: October 6, 2022 (lc)