In the United States, a Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9-digit number issued to citizens, permanent residents and temporary (working) non-residents by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Its primary purpose is to track individuals for taxation purposes; it is not intended to be used for identification purposes.
Per current legislation, SSNs can only be issued to someone who:
- Is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or
- Has a valid job offer and/or is eligible for legal employment
Currently, SSNs are only issued to non-residents who have an employment offer. In other words, you cannot get a SSN unless you have a job. If you get a job offer (and do not have an SSN) you need to come to the OIP to get a verification letter. You will need this letter in order to apply for an SSN. Some employers allow international students to start working once the application is filed although the number has not been assigned yet. Some employers do not allow this, so you must speak to your employer to find out their policy on SSNs.
Students do not need a SSN to register for classes at LTU, get a driver’s license in Michigan or open a bank account. However, landlords and utility, cable and cell phone companies may request a SSN to do a credit check to determine the amount of deposit they will require to secure housing or to activate services. Students without a SSN may be required to pay a higher deposit payment prior to receiving service.
Please remember that the Office of International Programs cannot issue a SSN or apply for the SSN on your behalf.