Social Security

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a nine digit number issued to you by the Social Security Administration in order to report your wages to the government. Your Social Security Number is tied to your identity so to avoid identity theft, take care to keep your SSN secure and private. Do not carry your Social Security card with you (keep it at home in a safe place) and do not list your SSN on forms or share it with others unless absolutely necessary. Your SSN stays with you for life — anytime you are in the U.S. in the future, you will use the same number for employment purposes.


In order to be eligible for a SSN, you must have completed the check-in procedures with ISS, been in the US for at least 10 days, be registered for classes (if on a student visa), have your latest I-20 or DS-2019, and have an offer of employment.

If you are a student who is on Curricular Practical Training, you will need to apply for an SSN no earlier than 30 days before your scheduled employment start date. Make sure to bring your CPT approved I-20 in additional to the documents below.

If you are a student who is on Optional Practical Training and did not use the I-765 to apply for your SSN, you will need to apply on or after the start date on your EAD. Make sure you bring your OPT recommended I-20 as well as your EAD in addition to the documents below.


You will need to prepare your application before going to the Social Security Office. You will need to make sure that you have the following:

  • Completed Social Security Administration Application Form SS-5
    • You can use the sample here to complete your application.
    • You only need to print and bring the 5th page.
  • Passport
  • Visa
  • Printed Form I-94
  • Latest I-20 or DS-2019
  • Letter from your employer on letterhead
    • For scholars, you should use your offer of employment or contract.
    • For students with an on-campus employer, you can use the sample here.
    • For students with an off-campus employer, your employer letter should include:
      • Identity of student employee
      • Job description
      • Employment start date (anticipated or actual)
      • Number of hours working per week
      • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
      • Employer contact information, telephone number and name of student’s immediate supervisor
      • Original signature
      • Signatory’s title
      • Date
  • Letter from International Student Services
    • You will need to bring your employer letter to ISS before we will issue you the SSN letter from our office.

Once you have secured all the documents needed, you will need to apply at a Social Security Office.

Once you have applied, you will receive a receipt from the Social Security Office. If you plan to work on-campus, you must take this receipt letter to Student Payroll in Sisson Hall 225.

Peoria Social Security Office

Address: 815 W. Pioneer Parkway, Peoria, IL 61615

Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday – 9:00am to 4:00pm, Wednesday – 9:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday, Sunday – closed

The office is also closed during federal holidays.

Directions: The CityLink bus has a route that runs directly by the Social Security Office, which is the #4 Knoxville Line outbound towards Knoxville Square. The #1 University Line outbound towards Allen Road is a more direct route and it has a stop at Pioneer Parkway, but requires additional walking. CityLink day and month passes are available for purchase at the Cashier’s Window in Swords Hall.