Texas Tech University

Getting a Social Security Card/Number

F-1 and J-1 students

Students are only eligible to apply for a Social Security card/number if they have been offered a job (see Steps below). This card is issued by a government agency in the US, the Social Security Administration, only to those students who will be working. For this reason, when applying at the Social Security Office in Lubbock, students need to have proof that they have been offered employment from the TTU department. In addition to this letter, students must have a letter from the international student counselor at TTU confirming that they are maintaining their status as non-immigrant students.

J-1 Scholars and H-1B Workers

Unlike F-1 and J-1 students, J-1 scholars and H-1B Workers are not required to have letters from their employer and ISSS in order to apply for a social security number. 10 days after arriving in the US and checking in with your scholar counselor at ISSS, J-1 scholars and H-1B Workers can bring the following documents to the Social Security Office in Lubbock to apply for their Social Security Numbers 

  • Passport
  • Copy of your I-94 card (print out a copy of your record from the Department of Homeland Security Website
  • DS2019 (J-1 Scholars) or  I-797 Approval Notice (H-1B Workers)
  • Your TTU employment offer letter.  
    • If you are a J-1 scholar that is not paid by TTU (external or personal funding), you will need a letter from your hosting TTU department that describes the circumstances of your work at TTU.



SS Card


Important Note: There is a 10 day waiting period after arriving in the US before you become eligible to apply at the Social Security Administration office for your card.

*Steps in the process of F-1 and J-1 students applying for a Social Security card*:

*Special instructions during the COVID 19 pandemic can be found at the bottom of this page


TTU entities that would like to employ F-1 must provide a letter of employment for you (J-1 students do not need an employer letter or a letter from ISSS). The SSA office in Lubbuck requires specific language to be included in this letter. In order to aid the TTU departments and the student, ISSS has put together a template for the employer to follow.

ISSS MS Word Template for Departments (to be used by international students when applying for their Social Security Card)

Please see additional employer information below regarding TTU processes and the social security number


After you get the letter from the employer (based on the ISSS Template for Departments) you will need to provide this letter to your ISSS counselor and request a status confirmation letter. You can request this letter from your counselor by sending them a copy of the letter from your employer as an email attachment. This request does not require an appointment. After receiving your request and a copy of the letter from your employer, your F-1 or J-1 counselor will produce thestatus confirmation letter and place it at the front desk for you to pick up at your convenience.


Ten days after your entry into the US, take the following documents to the Social Security Office in Lubbock to apply for your Social Security card:

The application page for is the Social Security Office where you can create and account and apply is 


The card will be mailed to the student and the student will show the new card to the employer and the registrar to update the employment record and your tax information.  You will need to work with your department and Human Resources Office to work while you are waiting for your new card.    

COVID 19 Instructions

Steps in applying for your social security card during the COVID 19 pandemic:

  1. You will need to call the General Inquiry Line at 866-467-0460:
    1. Hours available to call are 9:00 am until 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday
    2. Explain that you are an F-1 international student and need an office appointment for an in-person interview
  2. When you report to the office on the day of your appointment:
    1.  You will be required to wear a mask.
    2. You will need to pass the self-screening COVID requirements at the door.
    3. Arrive at the lobby door at the scheduled time of your appointment (You can not arrive early and wait in the lobby but must wait outside or in a car).
  3. If you have all of the necessary documentation (see the list of documents under Step 3 above), they will process your application and issue you a receipt.
    1. If you do not have the necessary documentation you will be sent away. and will need to make another appointment for when you can provide that documentation.
    2. They will make copies of your required documents during the interview and return the originals to you at the end of the interview.
  4. The SSN card will be delivered to you in the mail in about 2 weeks.
    1. Early in the school year, you may be unsure of your secure mailing address. If you give an address where you can not receive this important document, you may not receive your original card.  Please get a secure, safe, and reliable mailing address before completing your application.
    2. They are prohibited from releasing your Social Security number over the phone so please do not call them for that information.

NOTE: All applicants will be required to bring in all original documents to their in-person interview