Applying for a Social Security Number and Card

F-1 students: If you are employed on-campus and are applying for a Social Security card, be sure to follow the instructions at the top of the Social Security Letter for U-M F-1 Students. The Social Security office will only accept original (not scanned) letters and all signatures must be in ink.

If you are eligible to apply for a Social Security number, go to the Social Security Administration office located at 3971 Research Park Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. You can call 1-877-402-0825 or email [email protected] to make an appointment, but you can also visit the office without an appointment although that might mean a longer wait. We do not recommend applying for your SSN by mail, since your passport and other original documents could be lost.

Enter an Ann Arbor zip code (such as 48109) on the Social Security website for office hours, directions and a map to the office. To get to the Social Security office by public bus (AATA), take Bus #6 (free with M-Card) to Stop 513. (W Ellsworth Road at S Research Park Drive). The AATA web site describes the stop.

You will need to bring the following documents:

F-1 students With on-campus employment:
Social Security Letter for U-M F-1 Students

Curricular Practical Training (C.P.T.): I-20 with C.P.T. endorsement on page two. You can't apply earlier than 30 days before your C.P.T. start date.

Optional Practical Training (O.P.T.): U.S.C.I.S. Employment Authorization Document (E.A.D.) card. You must apply on or after the start date on your EAD card.

J-1 scholar You cannot apply for your Social Security Number until you have completed your mandatory check-in. Once you complete your check-in, your social security letter will be uploaded to your M-Passport portal for you to retrieve. If you lost the letter, fill in and print the online form Social Security Letter for U-M J-1 Scholars. Then bring it to the International Center for authorization.
J-1 students Social Security Letter for U-M J-1 Students authorized by the U-M International Center.
J-2 dependents with employment authorization U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) Employment Authorization Document (E.A.D.) card

You will receive a Social Security card in the mail approximately one to two weeks after applying for it. If you have questions while waiting to receive your Social Security number, contact the Social Security Administration directly at 800.772.1213.

F-1 and J-1 Visa Holders: Once you receive your Social Security number, you must notify your employer and the Office of the Registrar that you received this number. Students can follow these directions and U-M employees can submit a Personal Data Change Form.


If you are not eligible for a social security number, you can request a “Letter of Ineligibility” from the Ann Arbor Social Security Office. You can either visit the Ann Arbor Social Security Office in person (see above for directions) or you can fill out Form SS-5 and write “Letter of Ineligibility” at the top of the form. Mail the form to: Social Security Administration, 3971 Research Park Drive Suite A, Ann Arbor, MI 48108. No additional documents are required; just the form. The Ann Arbor Social Security Office will mail your Letter of Ineligibility to you in approximately three weeks. You are required to have the Letter of Ineligibility in order to take the driver's license written test. The Letter of Ineligibility is valid for 60 days.

If you are not in Ann Arbor, you can ask your local Social Security Administration office how to apply for a Letter of Ineligibility.

If you have questions about whether or not you are eligible for a Social Security number, please read Determining Eligibility for a Social Security Number and Card.


Reviewed and updated May, 2023

The information contained in this web site is not a substitute for advice obtained from the Internal Revenue Service or a qualified tax professional.