Social Security

As of April 7, 2022, Social Security Administration (SSA) offices have resumed in-person walk-in services. An appointment is no longer required to bring your completed SSN application packet to the SSA office. The Philadelphia SSA office is located at 2 Penn Center, Suite 2000B, 1500 JFK Blvd. and can be reached at 1-877-541-5846

Gather the Required Documents

Click on the titles below to view what documents you will need to apply for a Social Security Number.

NOTE: All Social Security Number applicants must complete and print out the Social Security Card application (Form SS-5). For your appointment, you must also bring your original signed ISSS SSN Support Letter (you must schedule a pickup at the ISSS office) and an original signed copy of the On-Campus Work Authorization form (if applicable). 

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On-Campus Employment

  1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)
  2. Social Security: On-Campus Work Authorization for F-1 and J-1 Students
    • F-1 and J-1 students seeking a SSN for on-campus employment are required to complete the form.
    • You will complete Part A, while the hiring department will complete Parts B and C.
    • Submit the completed form via the Social Security Letter Request for On-Campus Employment e-form in iPenn.
    • Note: You must obtain an original signature on this form from your hiring department. 
  3. ISSS Social Security Letter (request this letter via the Social Security Letter Request for On-Campus Employment e-form in iPenn)
    • Note: You must pick up an original signed copy of this document at the ISSS office. 
  4. I-20 or DS-2019
  5. Passport, visa stamp, printout of I-94 record
  6. Letter from On-Campus Employer (optional)
  7. Additional Documents for J-1 Students
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Off-Campus Employment

  • For F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT): 
    Note: Your application will not be processed more than 30 days in advance of the CPT employment start date.
    1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)

    2. I-20, endorsed for CPT

    3. Passport, visa stamp, printout of I-94 record

  • For F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT): 
    Note: Your application will not be processed  until the employment start date on the OPT EAD card has been reached.
    1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)

    2. I-20, endorsed for OPT

    3. Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

    4. Passport, visa stamp, printout of I-94 record

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H-1B, O-1, TN, E-3

  1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)

  2. Social Security Letter completed and signed by ISSS

  3. Employment Offer Letter

  4. Original I-797 Approval (TN and E-3 will only have I-797 if case is processed by USCIS in the US instead obtaining status upon entry to US)

  5. Passport, visa (stamp), I-94 card (if issued paper I-94) or printout of I-94 record (if issued electronic I-94)

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J-1 Scholars

  1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)

  2. Social Security Letter completed and signed by ISSS

  3. DS-2019

  4. Passport, visa (stamp), printout of I-94 record

  5. Appointment Letter from Hiring Department (optional)

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On-Campus Employment

  1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)
  2. Social Security: On-Campus Work Authorization for F-1 and J-1 Students
    • F-1 and J-1 students seeking a SSN for on-campus employment are required to complete the form.
    • You will complete Part A, while the hiring department will complete Parts B and C.
    • Submit the completed form via the Social Security Letter Request for On-Campus Employment e-form in iPenn.
    • Note: You must obtain an original signature on this form from your hiring department. 
  3. ISSS Social Security Letter (request this letter via the Social Security Letter Request for On-Campus Employment e-form in iPenn)
    • Note: You must pick up an original signed copy of this document at the ISSS office. 
  4. I-20 or DS-2019
  5. Passport, visa stamp, printout of I-94 record
  6. Letter from On-Campus Employer (optional)
  7. Additional Documents for J-1 Students
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Off-Campus Employment

  • For F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT): 
    Note: Your application will not be processed more than 30 days in advance of the CPT employment start date.
    1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)

    2. I-20, endorsed for CPT

    3. Passport, visa stamp, printout of I-94 record

  • For F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT): 
    Note: Your application will not be processed  until the employment start date on the OPT EAD card has been reached.
    1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)

    2. I-20, endorsed for OPT

    3. Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

    4. Passport, visa stamp, printout of I-94 record

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H-1B, O-1, TN, E-3

  1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)

  2. Social Security Letter completed and signed by ISSS

  3. Employment Offer Letter

  4. Original I-797 Approval (TN and E-3 will only have I-797 if case is processed by USCIS in the US instead obtaining status upon entry to US)

  5. Passport, visa (stamp), I-94 card (if issued paper I-94) or printout of I-94 record (if issued electronic I-94)

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J-1 Scholars

  1. Social Security Card application (Form SS-5)

  2. Social Security Letter completed and signed by ISSS

  3. DS-2019

  4. Passport, visa (stamp), printout of I-94 record

  5. Appointment Letter from Hiring Department (optional)

Apply at the Social Security Card Center

Once you have gathered the required documents (including Form SS-5 and original signed copies of your ISSS SSN Support Letter and On-Campus Work Authorization form, if applicable), you will need to take your completed application packet to a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to finalize your application. Be sure to ask for a receipt to verify your submission.

Philadelphia SSA Office

Address 2 Penn Center, Suite 2000B, 1500 JFK Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone Number 1-877-541-5846
Hours Monday–Friday, 9 am – 3:30 pm
Website https://www.ssa.gov/phila/

Location of the Philadelphia SSA Office

Handling Practical Matters Without a Social Security Number

There are a variety of services you can obtain without having a Social Security Number. 

PLEASE NOTE: these details are for informational purposes only. Requirements are subject to change without notice.

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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. For more information on banking visit the Financial Matters section of our site. 

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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

For more information visit the Housing section of this site. 

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PA Driver's License/State ID

Present the following documents in place of a SSN:

  •  A valid passport

  •  I-94 card

  • Visa

  • A letter of denial/indecision from the Philadelphia Social Security Card Center

  • An I-20/DS-2019 with a program end date that is at least one year away

  • Two proofs of residency (see ISSS’s Obtaining a Pennsylvania Driver’s License or ID Card handout)

For more information consult the PennDOT Fact Sheet and the PA Driver's License section of our site. 

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PECO Energy Company

Present the following documents in place of a SSN at PECO's office located at 23rd and Market Street:

  • A valid passport

  • A valid Penn ID

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Cell Phone

Be sure to contact a representative of the cell phone company for the most up to date information on what documents are needed to obtain a cell phone.

account_balance

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. For more information on banking visit the Financial Matters section of our site. 

home

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

For more information visit the Housing section of this site. 

badge

PA Driver's License/State ID

Present the following documents in place of a SSN:

  •  A valid passport

  •  I-94 card

  • Visa

  • A letter of denial/indecision from the Philadelphia Social Security Card Center

  • An I-20/DS-2019 with a program end date that is at least one year away

  • Two proofs of residency (see ISSS’s Obtaining a Pennsylvania Driver’s License or ID Card handout)

For more information consult the PennDOT Fact Sheet and the PA Driver's License section of our site. 

bolt

PECO Energy Company

Present the following documents in place of a SSN at PECO's office located at 23rd and Market Street:

  • A valid passport

  • A valid Penn ID

phone

Cell Phone

Be sure to contact a representative of the cell phone company for the most up to date information on what documents are needed to obtain a cell phone.