Social Security & ITINs

Social Security Numbers (SSN)

A Social Security Number (SSN) is needed to facilitate payment for scholarships, employment in the U.S., and to file a U.S. tax return. Refer to the information below to determine if you are eligible for a SSN and for instructions on how to obtain one:

Requirements/eligibility according to immigration status:

  • H-1B: You are eligible to receive a social security number.
  • F-1 Enrolled Student:You must have on-campus employment OR curricular practical training, and are registered for classes to be eligible to receive a social security number.
  • F-1 Students on OPT: You must have a USCIS Employment Authorization Document to receive a social security number.
  • F-2 Dependent: You are NOT eligible to receive a social security number.
  • J-1 Student/Student Intern: You must have on-campus employment OR work authorization to be eligible to receive a social security number.
  • J-1 Research Scholar/Professor/Short-Term Scholar: You are eligible to receive a social security number.
  • J-2 Dependents: You must have a USCIS Employment Authorization Document (J-2 Employment Authorization).

You must wait ten days after you arrive in the United States and:

  • Students: wait two business days after registering for classes before applying
  • J-1 research scholar/professor/short-term scholar, or student intern: wait three days after attending J-1 Scholar Orientation before applying.

F-1 and J-1 students and scholars who perform authorized employment on-campus or off-campus (with permission from USCIS) are generally exempt from the payment of Social Security Tax. J-2 Dependents who work are not exempt. More information is found in Internal Revenue Service Publication 519.

  1. Obtain proof your employment eligibility. Documentation needed according to your immigration status:
    • H-1B: Copy of your I-797 H-1B approval
    • F-1/J-1 Students & J-1 Student Interns: Download the Social Security Employment Verification Letter. Have your employing department complete the top portion of the letter. Then obtain a signature on the bottom portion from ISSS. Please check our appointment website for information on when you can obtain this signature.
    • J-1 Research Scholar, Professor, and Short-Term Scholar: Offer/invitation letter from your academic department.
    • J-1 Students on Academic Training: Academic Training authorization letter, Academic Training authorization on the DS-2019 and job offer letter.
    • F-1 on CPT/OPT: OPT card and job offer letter OR CPT authorization on I-20 and job offer letter.
    • J-2: Obtain an Employment Authorization document (EAD) issued from USCIS.
  2. Apply in person at the Social Security Administration Office. Take the following documents with you:
    • Proof of employment eligibility (according to the chart above);
    • Form SS5, Application for a Social Security Card;
    • Your passport and visa;
    • Form I-94;
    • F-1 Students: Form I-20;
    • J-1 Exchange Visitors: Form DS-2019
    • Original birth certificate (recommended)
  3. Ask for a receipt after submitting your application. The average time to process a Social Security card application is two to four weeks.
  4. Report your Social Security Number to the University of Texas at Austin:

1029 Camino La Costa
Austin, TX 78752
Phones: 1-866-627-6991 or 1-800-772-1213
Hours: 9 am – 4 pm (Mon, Tue, Thu, & Fri)
9 – noon (Wed)

Bus Directions: Bus #7
Catch the #7 Bus from the corner of San Jacinto and 24th street. Get off at the corner of E St. Johns Ave & Bennett Ave and will need to walk the rest of the way to the Social Security Administration Office.

For other routes go to or call 512-474-1200

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN)

If you do not currently have a Social Security Number (SSN) and are not currently eligible for an SSN (i.e. you do not have employment), you will need to apply for an ITIN in order to facilitate payment for scholarships and/or to file your U.S. tax return. If you are from a country that allows you to claim dependents (Canada, Mexico, South Korea or India) or you are a resident alien for tax purposes and your dependent does not currently have an SSN and is not eligible for an SSN, then your dependent will also need to apply for an ITIN to be claimed on your tax return.

To Apply for an ITIN via ISSS:

  1. Schedule an appointment to meet with the tax advisor.
  2. Bring the following documents to your appointment
    • Passport
    • Your most recent U.S. entry Visa
    • I-20 (F-1 visa holders)/DS-2019 (J-1 visa holders)

Note: If the ITIN application is to claim a dependent, your dependent(s) must be present during the appointment if they are able to sign documents for themselves. ITIN applications can only be facilitated for F, J, or M visa holders.


The International Office at UT Austin is an IRS VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) site that offers free tax assistance to nonresident aliens who need help to prepare their own tax return.

Our tax advising is focused on providing assistance in understanding filing instructions, how to navigate GLACIER Tax Prep, and general questions regarding nonresident taxes. Any specific tax situations that cannot be addressed by our volunteers will need to be discussed with a licensed professional tax advisor.

All volunteers have completed training through the IRS VITA program and as such are protected from liability under the Volunteer Protection Act. The taxpayer is ultimately responsible for the information on their tax returns.