F-1 international students must have a job to apply for a social security number. J-1 exchange visitors (students, faculty, and staff) do not need a job to apply for a social security number.

However, since the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires P/DSOs and RO/AROs to verify enrollment/employment of their international students and exchange visitors as part of the social security card process, J-1 exchange visitors will be required to follow the same procedures as F-1 international students.

Regardless of status in the U.S., all new international students and exchange visitors to Champlain are advised to wait 10 days after arriving in the U.S. before applying for a social security card.

  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that social security numbers are issued to international students only for the purpose of employment. Therefore, the SSA requires schools to verify that students are in need of a social security number for employment by issuing a letter addressed to the SSA office.

    Before OISS issues a verification letter for the SSA, an international student or exchange visitor must make an appointment with the Director of OISS and bring to the appointment a letter on company letterhead with an official signature from either an on- or off-campus prospective employer offering the student or scholar a job. After the appointment, the international student or exchange visitor will receive the following items to take to the nearest SSA office with the official employment offer letter:

    • OISS Verification Letter
    • Completed Social Security Card Application
    • Instructions and Location Directions from OISS


    The Burlington Social Security Office is located at:

    Social Security Administration
    128 Lakeside Avenue, Suite 107, Burlington, VT 05401

    • Passport
    • Current F-1/J-1 Visa
    • Form I-94 electronic printout
    • Current Form I-20/DS-2019
    • Letter from your employer indicating that a position has been offered to you
    • Letter from the Director, OISS indicating your eligibility for a Social Security Card
    • Completed and Signed Social Security Card Number Application
    1. You will receive a white receipt from social security. This enables you to work immediately; however, in order to be paid, you need to also process paperwork for the I-9.
    2. Take all the documents that you showed to Social Security for the card and make an appointment with the Director, OISS to process your I-9 paperwork.
    3. Send Payroll via email a copy of the white receipt.
    4. You will receive your social security card in approximately 10 days in the mail to the address you indicated on your social security card application.
    5. Do not laminate the card – it makes it invalid.
    6. Do not place your social security card in your wallet – memorize the number and place the card with your important documents like your passport, I-20, etc.
    7. Your Social Security Number is your identity in the United States – only give out this number to official sources.
    8. When the card arrives, please bring the original card to Compass Student Services, Perry Hall. They will take a photocopy and put your card number into the system.