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 Social Security Number and ITIN Information for International Students

What is a Social Security Number?

A Social Security number is intended to accurately record your earnings in this country. International students in F-1 status have permission to work on campus and are therefore eligible for Social Security numbers. (Note: there are limitations to this permission -- consult an international student advisor for details.) Students or scholars in J-1 status are eligible for Social Security numbers provided that they have the J-1 sponsor's permission to work.

Note: If you need a Social Security number for any of the reasons listed below but are not eligible for one, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).  Since the ITIN number itself is not issued by the International Education Office, but by the United States government, you will not receive the number immediately. You may have to wait weeks or even months to receive the number.

Do I Need a Social Security Number?

Social security numbers are needed for:

  • Employment- You must have a Social Security number in order to work in the United States.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Forms- All students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 status who are non-resident aliens for tax purposes are required to fill out an Internal Revenue Service form every year even if they have no U.S.-source income. A Social Security number or ITIN is required on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms. For additional information about these requirements, please consult the International Education Office.
  • Driver's License- Although at this time Wisconsin does not require that you have a Social Security number in order to obtain a driver's license, it will in the future - based on Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation.


Social security numbers are NOT needed for:

  • Class Registration
  •  Banking- F and J-visa holders do not need a Social Security number to open a bank account or for most other financial transactions. The bank may ask F and J-visa holders to fill out Internal Revenue Service form W-8BEN to prove that they are exempt from the requirement of providing a Social Security number.


How to Apply for a Social Security Card:

 1. You must have a job offer and an employer verification letter to be eligible for a Social Security number.

2. Contact the International Education Office (contact information below).

3. You will receive an e-mail from International Education Office within 1 week, telling you that your letter is ready to be picked up in the International Education Office.  This email will also include directions and a map to the Social Security Office.  The local Social Security Office in Green Bay is:

Office Address:
1561 Dousman St.
Green Bay, WI 54303
Phone: 1-920-433-3904
Directions: The office is located on the northwest side of the city of Green Bay at the southeast corner of Dousman Street and Military Avenue.

 4. Once you receive your Social Security card, take it to the Welcome Center in Student Services (SC240) to update your student record.  You must also show it to your campus employer.  You do not need to bring the card to the International Education Office.

For more information about social security, please see the Social Security website.

What is an ITIN?

An ITIN is an Individual Tax Identification Number.  This number is different from a Social Security number used by individuals earning a U.S. income and filing a U.S. tax return.  This number is an alternative option for students and/or dependents who earned income during the tax year, but are not eligible for a Social Security number.  It is also used to identify the dependents of the person filing a tax return.  There are only a few cases where students and scholars can claim dependents on their tax return.     If you are eligible to claim dependents on your tax return, contact the International Education Office.

For more information about ITIN see The Internal Revenue Services (IRS) website.

Contact information:

Beau James, International Student Recruitment Specialist
Phone: 920-498-5702 or 01-920-498-5702