Social Security

Social Security Numbers (SSN) are used primarily for U. S. tax identification purposes. Therefore, if you will be earning income in the United States, you must also file tax forms and will therefore need a Social Security Number. F-1 students who are authorized for employment can apply for an SSN. Please note that if you are an F-1 student and you do not have employment, you do not qualify for an SSN. The Social Security Card will be issued to you free of charge. If you do acquire an SSN please do not confuse this number with your Carleton College student identification number.

International Students/scholars will be helped with the application for a social security number and should check with the Office of International Student Life for the latest forms and SSA instructions. You must apply in person at the nearest Social Security Administration office, which is in Mankato or Minneapolis. 

You must wait until you are in the United States for at least 10 days before you apply for a Social Security number.

You must complete two forms: (1) the Social Security application Form SS-5 found on the SSA website, and (2) Verification of Employment Form that must be completed by campus employer and Designated School Official. In addition to the forms, you will need to bring your original passport, Form I-94, I-20 or DS-2019, and Carleton ID card with you to the nearest SSA office. DO NOT MAIL THE APPLICATION or YOUR DOCUMENTS TO THE SSA OFFICE. After you submit your application, request a Receipt Letter from the SSA official and bring a copy to ISL. In 1-3 weeks you’ll receive your Social Security Card or Number, and bring that to the office so we can verify you received your card. After you get your card you’ll need to update your information in GLACIER and print up the updated forms to the Business Office; you should also update your U.S. bank account with your SSN.

In general, students/visiting scholars who have been in the United States less than five years in F-1 or J-1 status are exempt from paying federal Social Security tax. Possession of a social security number does NOT constitute eligibility to work (you still need permission to work if you apply for internship, externship, research or any other type of paid or unpaid employment).