Social Security Number

Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN)

The only way to receive a Social Security Number within Washington State is for the purpose of your employment. This means that you will first need to find work before you can receive this number. Please note that a Social Security Number is mandatory in order for you to get paid. Below are the steps on how to get your Social Security Number.

Required Documents

Effective since 2008, you will need to bring two letters to prove your employment status. One letter is from your supervisor (employer) and the other is from the International Student Center (ISC) verifying your immigration status.

To apply for a SSN, you will need to provide documents that show your identity, age, citizenship, and status as a lawful alien. You will need to bring the following items with you:

  • Passport
  • SEVIS I-20 with current signature on page two
  • Letter from the ISC describing why you need a SSN (normally they will not issue you a number unless you are seeking employment and need a SSN for that purpose)
  • Letter from your supervisor (employer) on department letterhead stating your job title and signed by your supervisor
  • In addition, you will need to complete an Application Form (Form SS-5) that you must fill out at the SSA office or download from the web (not available at the ISC)

Once your application is filed with the officer, they will give you a receipt. They will perform a background check, and your Social Security card will be mailed to the address you provide within four to six weeks. Normal processing takes about four weeks.

Requesting a SSN Letter from the ISC

  • Provide a copy of a letter (on official letterhead) from your employer that states:
    • Your job title
    • Your supervisor name and role
    • The number of hours you will be working
    • Your start date
  • Update your contact info on SU Online
    • We will be checking this information before issuing a letter
  • Drop the Letter request and the letter from your advisor at the ISC (PAVL160)

Once all the documents have been dropped at the ISC, your letter will be ready for pick up within 3-5 business days. You will get an email from your advisor at your SU email saying your letter is ready.

How to reach the Social Security Administration (SSA)

A toll-free number operates from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday at 1-800-772-1213. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays. You can also visit their website at for more information.
You must apply for your Social Security Number (SSN) in person. There are several local offices throughout the Seattle area, which are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (except Federal Holidays).

Below are some of the offices close to Seattle University:

Downtown Seattle Jackson Federal Building
915 2nd Ave, Suite 901 (9th floor)
Phone: (800) 772-1213
Bus routes: 12
North Seattle 13510 Aurora Ave N, Suite B
(Corner of Aurora & NE 135th St)
South Seattle 675 S Lane St, Suite 401
(Corner of 7th Ave & Dearborn St)
Phone: (206) 553-4100
Bellevue 505 106th Ave NE, Suite 301 Park Plaza
(Between NE 4th St & NE 6th St)