Getting a Social Security Number for Working in the United States

What is “Social Security”?
Social Security is a retirement and medical benefits program administered by the United States government. It is financed by mandatory contributions from employers and employees.  

International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa do not need to have a Social Security Number (SSN) unless they are working. People will ask you for your Social Security Number at the Enrollment and Registration office, the bank, etc. When a Dalton State College staff member asks you for that number, give them your Student ID number. When someone at a bank asks you for an SSN, tell him or her you are an international student and you do not have one. It is not necessary to have a Social Security Number to have a bank account in the US, although it is necessary to have a social security number to obtain an ATM, Debit, or Credit Card. You may read about social security numbers for international students directly from the Social Security Administration website:


Who is eligible for a Social Security Card?
An F -1 student who has obtained a job offer to work on or off campus and has found employment may apply for a Social Security Card. NOTE: If you have found a job, your employer will require you to have a Social Security number in order to pay your taxes according to federal government regulations.

Documents required to obtain a Social Security Card
You must take your passport, I-20, I-94, a letter promising employment from your employer, and a letter from the International Student Enrollment office .

Where can you obtain a Social Security Card?
The Social Security Administration office is located:

301 Point North Place
Dalton, GA. 30720
Phone: 866-593-5681
Or 800-772-1213
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-3pm (Except Federal Holidays)

The office is very busy, so you should plan to arrive early. There is no fee for this service. The toll free telephone number is 1-800-772-1213.

In summary, follow these simple steps to help with the Social Security Number application process:

  1. Complete the Social Security Card application form. (You can get this application from the Social Security Administration website:
  2. Have your employer prepare a written offer of employment.
  3. Request a Social Security letter from the office of International Student Enrollment. .
  4. Take the above two items, your passport, form I-94, and your I-20 (endorsed by the International Student Enrollment Advisor for on-campus employment) to the Social Security Administration office in person. (DO NOT MAIL)
  5. You are also advised to take evidence of legal employment, such as your Employment Authorization Document from immigration, a letter from your employer, a pay stub or, an on-campus job offer letter.
Dalton State, 650 College Drive, Dalton, GA 30720
706.272.4436 • 1.800.829.4436 •