Assignment of Social Security Numbers to F-1 Students: New Regulations
On October 13, 2004, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began to implement revised requirements for issuance of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) to F-1 foreign students. According to the new regulations, the SSA will demand more evidence of a work-related need before it will assign SSNs to F-1 students.
F-1 students are defined as "bona fide students" who are allowed to enter the United States on a temporary basis for the purpose of pursuing "a full course of study." Such students, while maintaining that status, may nevertheless work in the U.S. under certain limited circumstances, which would require them to have valid SSNs for payroll and tax reporting purposes.
Existing regulations already require F-1 applicants for SSNs to provide evidence of age, identity, immigration status and work authorization. The new rule establishes specific evidentiary requirements for the issuance of an SSN to F-1 students in the following work-related situations:
(1) For off-campus work: The student must have an employment authorization document (EAD) issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
(2) For curricular practical training (CPT): The student must show authorization by the school in question. Specifically, the Designated School Official (DSO) must sign the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) Form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status) "with the particulars of the employment, including whether the training is full time or part time, the name and location of the employer, and the start and end dates of the employment."
(3) For on-campus work: The F-1 student must provide evidence from the DSO that he or she "has been authorized by the school to work and has secured employment or a promise of employment before we will assign an SSN," the SSA states.
The new rule accommodates "rare instances" when an F-1 student might qualify for a non-work-related SSN. These include the following:
(1) instances in which a federal statute or regulation requires an SSN for access to the particular benefit or service to which a nonimmigrant is otherwise entitled; or
(2) a state or local law requires nonimmigrants who are legally in the U.S. to provide their SSN to get public assistance benefits to which they are otherwise entitled; or
(3) cases of extreme economic hardship
This is contact information for the SSA in Frankfort: 140 Flynn Avenue; Frankfort, Kentucky 40601; Tel.: 502-875-2232