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.


Follow the steps below to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).

  1. Receive employer letter:
    • For students with an on-campus employer, the on-campus employer can use the sample here.
    • For students with an off-campus employer, your employer letter should be on letterhead and 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 and name of student’s immediate supervisor
      • Employer’s ink signature
      • Title of signer
      • Date
  2. Submit your employer letter to International Student Services (ISS):
    • Email a copy of the employer letter to
    • You will receive an email confirmation from ISS once your SSN letter is created and ready to be picked up.
  3. Completed the Form SS-5 and bring it to ISS:
  4. Visit the local Social Security Office:
    • Information regarding the Peoria location is listed below
  5. Present your required documents to the SS Administration representative:
    • Completed Form SS-5
    • Original Passport and Visa
    • Printed Form I-94
    • Latest I-20
    • Employer letter
    • ISS Letter
  6. Wait to receive your Social Security card in the mail:
    • Once you have applied, the average time it takes to receive the SS card in the mail is about 2-4 weeks. Some students may experience extended processing times that can be up to 14 weeks.
    • The SS card will be sent to the address that you have listed on your Form SS-5, so you need to make sure the address is correct.
    • When you receive your SS card, make sure you check that your name has been spelled correctly. If your name is not spelled correctly, you will need to return to the Social Security Office with all of your documents and a new Form SS-5 to get your name corrected.
  7. Complete your employer’s hiring process:
    • If you plan to work on campus:
      • Contact Bradley’s Human Resources (HR) at and let them know you have received your SS card. Follow the instructions that will be sent to you and complete the necessary paperwork using the SSN you have received.
      • Complete the new employee paperwork online in ADP using the SSN you received and then take the completed paperwork packet to HR in Sisson 239 for review and approval.
    • If you plan to work off campus:
      • Contact your supervisor or the HR of the employer you are working for to let them know you have received your SS card.
      • Complete the Form I-9 and any other necessary paperwork the employer gives you using the SSN you have received.

Peoria Social Security Office

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

Hours: Monday to Friday – 9:00am to 4:00pm, Saturday & Sunday – closed

The office is also closed during federal holidays.

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