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    Getting a Social Security Number

    Applying for a Social Security Number: Procedures for F-1 Students

    A Social Security Number (SSN) is generally assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States.  Social Security Numbers are used to report your wages to the U.S. government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits.  Below you will find additional information about whether you need a Social Security Number as well as instructions on how to apply.

    Do I need a Social Security Number (SSN)?

    If you are planning to work while you are a student at Colorado College, you must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).  Only those students who have been authorized to work, and who have a job offer, will be eligible for a number.   

    Will I need a number for any other purpose?

    Some banks will ask for your Social Security Number in order to open a bank account.  If you explain that you are an international student, they usually are willing to accept your Colorado College student identification number instead.  Also, if you wish to apply for a Colorado state driver’s license, you will either need to have a Social Security Number, or provide proof that you are not eligible for one (see the Office of International Programs for more information).  

    Will I need to have a number before I start working?

    You are not required to have an SSN before you start work.  However, you will need to apply for one as soon as you have been offered a job.  You are not eligible to work until you have applied for an SSN and submitted an SSN application receipt and student employment forms (I-9 and W-4) to the Student Employment Coordinator in the Financial Aid Office. Your SSN receipt will be accepted until your Social Security card is sent to you by mail.  Please remember to bring a copy of that card to the Financial Aid Office once it arrives.

    When can I get a Social Security Number?

    Generally, you must wait 15 business days from the date you entered the United States before applying for your Social Security Number.  After that---provided you have been offered a job---you may apply anytime. Note: You cannot apply for an SSN more than 30 days in advance of your intended employment start date.

    How long does it take to receive my number?

    You will receive a Social Security card with your number by mail.  It normally takes between 3 and 5 weeks to receive this card.


    For further information on getting a Social Security Number, please read this Social Security Package for a full understanding.

    We have also supplied this checklist to make sure that you're on track.