Wait 10 business days from the date you attended orientation at ISSS before applying for your SSN.

To apply for a US Social Security Number (SSN), you should:

  • Prepare the required documents, as described below
  • Take the documents to the Philadelphia Social Security Card Center
  • Submit your application (ask for a receipt that will verify your submission)

Philadelphia Social Security Card Center for anyone using a Philadelphia zip code (19101-19160)

  • Address: 2 Penn Center, Suite 2000B, 1500 JFK Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102
  • Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 3:30 pm
  • Website: www.socialsecurity.gov

NOTE:  As soon as you receive your Social Security Card in the mail in approximately 2-6 weeks, update University records (i.e. the registrar and tax office) and personal records (banks, employer, etc.)


SSN for On-Campus Employment

F-1 and J-1 students seeking a Social Security Number for on-campus employment are required to complete the Social Security: On-Campus Work Authorization for F-1 and J-1 Students.

  • Complete Parts A, B and C.
  • Bring the form to ISSS and request Part D to be completed.

When you go to the Philadelphia Social Security Card Center, you must present the following documents: (Note: they will not process your application more than 30 days in advance of the scheduled employment start date.)

SSN for Off-Campus Employment

F-1 or J-1 students seeking a Social Security Number for off-campus employment are not required to complete the attached form, Social Security: On-Campus Work Authorization for F-1 and J-1 Students.

When you go to the Philadelphia Social Security Card Center, you must present the following documents:

  • For F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT):
    Note: The Philadelphia Social Security Card Center will not process your application more than 30 days in advance of the CPT employment start date.
  • For F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT):
    Note: The Philadelphia Social Security Card Center will not process your application until the employment start date on the OPT EAD card has been reached

What to Do Without a Social Security Number

This section has been prepared for informational purposes only and requirements are subject to change without notice.

The information below will assist in obtaining a variety of services as you settle into the US.

Off-Campus Housing

Present the following documents in place of a SSN:

  • A valid passport
  • A letter of acceptance from your school
  • A copy of your I-20/DS-2019 to prove financial resources

Office of Off-Campus Living: http://www.upenn.edu/offcampusservices

  • Opening a Bank Account
  • This is not an exclusive list of banking options.
    Commerce Bank, Citizens Bank, PNC Bank, Student Federal Credit Union:

    Present the following documents in place of a SSN:

    • A valid passport
    • A valid Penn ID

    Be sure to contact a representative of the bank for the most up to date information on opening an account.

  • Cell Phone
  • This is not an exclusive list of cell phone options.

    Provide the following in place of a SSN:

    • Verizon Wireless: $400.00 security deposit (will be returned after one year)
    • AT&T Wireless:
      • Monthly plan: $500.00 security deposit (will be returned after one year); passport, birth certificate, proof of address
      • Prepaid plan: US bank account

    Be sure to contact a representative of the cell phone company for the most up to date information on obtaining a cell phone.

  • PECO Energy Company
  • Present the following documents in place of a SSN at 23rd and Market St.:

    • A valid passport
    • A valid Penn ID
  • On-Campus Work Authorization for F-1 and J-1 Students
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