SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN)
U.S. federal law requires all individuals employed in the U.S. to have a Tax Identification Number: either a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Of the two types of Tax Identification Numbers, the SSN is the most common. SSN’s are used to identify employees and tax salaries, and are only issued for the purpose of employment. Please note that the Social Security Administration will not issue a SSN for the purpose of opening a bank account or obtaining driver’s license or telephone.
IMPORTANT: A SSN is not required to begin employment, but must be obtained immediately after being hired. You need a job or a job offer to apply for a SSN, and after you apply for the SSN and while you wait for your Social Security number, your employer can use the letter you receive from the Social Security Administration stating that you applied for a SSN.
Please note that for non-EAD based F-1 student employment (CPT and on-campus employment), the Social Security Administration will not process an application for a SSN if it is more than 30 days in advance of the scheduled employment start date; in the case of EAD-based F-1 employment, the employment start date on the EAD card must already have been reached before the Social Security Administration will process the application for a SSN.
NOTE: For those students and scholars (e.g. sponsored students and student athletes) who receive taxable scholarships, grants or stipends from U.S. sources but are not employed in the U.S., you should apply for the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) which is detailed further down this page.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR STUDENTS/SCHOLARS APPLYING FOR A SSN WITH ON-CAMPUS EMPLOYMENT
Step 1: VERIFY EMPLOYMENT (F-1 & J-1 STUDENTS ONLY)
F-1 and J-1 students must have their employing department complete a SSN Student Employment Verification Form (Formatted to Old UA Letterhead and New UA Letterhead as PDF and DOC) and bring it to International Student and Scholar Services for verification. The Social Security Administration requires F-1 and J-1 Student Visa Holders to submit proof of on-campus employment with verification from an Advisor from International Student & Scholar Services. To be eligible to apply for a Social Security Number, you must be employed or have a promise of employment from a department on-campus, which is shown by the SSN Student Employment Verification Form (Formatted to Old UA Letterhead and New UA Letterhead as PDF and DOC).
- First, your host department must complete the SSN Student Employment Verification Form and print it out on their department letterhead.
- Second, you must have the SSN Student Employment Verification Form verified by International Student & Scholar Services.
NOTE: J-1 Research Scholars, J-1 Professors, J-1 Short-term Scholars, J-1 Specialists, H-1Bs, TNs, O-1s, and all other visa holders whose classification allows work do not require an employment verification letter from UA or an SSN Student Employment Verification Form to apply for a Social Security Number.
Step 2: COMPLETE SOCIAL SECURITY WAITING PERIOD
Before you can submit an application to the Social Security Administration for a SSN, your F-1 or J-1 SEVIS Record must have been registered/validated at least 2 days prior to your SSN application date.
So, if you are a new student or scholar and have just arrived, you must first complete Check-in and Orientation with ISSS and will need to wait until 2 days after the completion of Check-in and Orientation has been verified before applying for a SSN.
Step 3: SET APPOINTMENT FOR THE SSN AT THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OFFICES
Effective June 25, 2021, the Tuscaloosa Social Security Administration Office’s new procedure for obtaining a SSN Appointment is as follows:
- Call the SSA Office which serves you, based on your address.
- For those in Tuscaloosa, call: 1-877-480-4988
- For appointments in Tuscaloosa, the agent will screen you first for SSN eligibility (Note: denial letter requests will not qualify for Express Interviews, see below for additional information for those in need of an SSN denial letter).
- If eligibility criteria is met, the agent will ask COVID Screening questions.
- If all answers to the COVID Screening are “no,” the agent will offer an Express Interview at a specific date and time based on availability.
For the Express Interview, you must take original documents proving your eligibility for an SSN:
- A complete SS-5 Form. Make sure to provide a valid mailing address on the SSN Application.
- Your original, valid passport
- Current I-94 Record. More information can be found at: www.cbp.gov/i94.
- Faculty, Staff, and Scholars in other visa statuses should take the document that proves that status (e.g. Form DS-2019 for J-1 Scholars; I-797 H-1B/O-1 Approval Notice; TN I-94; EAD Card; or other proof of work eligibility and status)
- International Students should take your most recent and/or stamped Form I-20 (F-1 Students) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 Students).
- F-1 and J-1 Students must also take the completed SSN Student Employment Verification Form (Formatted to Old UA Letterhead and New UA Letterhead as PDF and DOC) NOTE: Only required of Students on F-1 and J-1 Visas and J-1 Student Intern Visa holders. J-1 Scholars and those with work visa permits do not require a letter.
No receipts or proof of interview will be given during the Express Interview. SSN applications will be processed within 2 business days, and a confirmation receipt will be mailed. Social Security Cards should arrive approximately 10 business days after the interview date (Mailed via USPS from Baltimore, MD).
SSN DENIAL LETTERS: For those students and dependents who are ineligible for a Social Security Number but require a SSN Denial Letter in order to apply for an Alabama Driver’s License, you must submit a request for a Denial Letter to the Social Security Administration by doing the following:
- Complete an SSN DENIAL LETTER REQUEST
- Make sure to fill in the form completely, including your mailing address, phone number, and email address so that they may be able to reply to you. Make sure to indicate how you want the SSA to send the letter to you (by email or by USPS Postal Mail).
- Include copies/scans of the following supporting documents:
- Your passport main information page;
- Your most recent Visa (even if it has expired);
- Your F-1/F-2 I-20 (pages 1 and 2 only), J-1/J-2 DS-2019 (page 1 only), or I-797 Approval Notice showing other visa status; and
- Your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
- Send the complete SSN DENIAL LETTER REQUEST and all supporting documents to the SSA Office via one of the following methods:
- FAX: 833-950-3497
- EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
- POSTAL MAIL:
DENIAL LETTER REQUEST
2005 University Blvd Ste 1200
Tuscaloosa AL 35401
SSA Office Location: Federal Courthouse, 2005 University Blvd., Suite 1200, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
General Directions: Located at the intersection of 21st Avenue and University Boulevard.
Map from Campus (A) to Federal Building (B): http://binged.it/yGPXn7
- Local: 1-877-480-4988
- National: 1-800-772-1213
- TTY: 1-800-325-0778
If you are not in Tuscaloosa, please check for your nearest local office with the Social Security Administration.
Step 4: SUBMIT SSN CARD TO HR AND TAX OFFICE
In approximately two to eight weeks from the time you complete your application, you will receive your Social Security Card in the mail.
Please submit 1 copy of your Social Security Card to the Payroll Office / HR Service Center, 1670 Ruby Tyler Parkway, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404 AND 1 copy (email is preferred) to the International Tax Office at email@example.com, 1015 Procurement Services Building, 1500 Flint River Drive, Tuscaloosa, AL 35404.*
* If you have not already done so, be sure to complete a Tax Analysis with the UA Tax Office. For more information about tax analysis at UA, please visit https://taxoffice.ua.edu/foreign-national-tax-analysis/. Any questions you may have should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your full name and CWID. During busy times, expect a response within 2 business days.
Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
The Individual Taxpayer Identification Number is an alternative tax number offered by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to those individuals who receive income through grants and scholarships from U.S. sources but who are not employed and thus not eligible for a Social Security Number.
All students/scholars who have received income from US sources must file income tax returns. If you are not employed in the U.S., the Social Security Office in Tuscaloosa and in other cities in the U.S. will deny your application for a Social Security Number. Issuance of a SSN requires that you be employed in the U.S.
If you are a student athlete or student who receives a grant or scholarship in the U.S. or if you are a J-1 scholar who receives U.S. funding, and you do not have on-campus employment that would make you eligible for a Social Security Number, you may be eligible to apply for an Individual Tax Identification Number or ITIN.
ITIN Application Instructions
The UA Tax Office provides assistance with the ITIN application process. For instructions to complete an ITIN application packet, send an email request to email@example.com with subject line “ITIN Application”. Be sure to include your full name and CWID. During busy times, expect a response within 2 business days.
The UA Tax Office provides tax information and resources for international students and scholars. Please visit the International Tax website at the following link: http://taxoffice.ua.edu/international-tax/.
International Student and Scholar Services specializes in immigration matters, not taxes. If you require additional information or have specific questions, please direct your inquiries to the UA Tax Office at firstname.lastname@example.org . Be sure to include your full name and CWID when you email the Tax Office. During busy times, expect a response within 2 business days.
Be Aware of Refund E-mail Scams! The IRS does not send unsolicited emails to taxpayers and does not request such detailed personal and financial information.
If you receive such email, you should not open it as it likely contains some sort of virus or malware. International student and scholars should NEVER provide their SSN/ITIN to anyone via an email.
See our Scam Info Page for more resources.
NOTE REGARDING ONLINE TAX FILING SOFTWARE
International students should not use Turbo Tax, 1040.com or other similar tax preparation software that you see advertised on the web to file your federal taxes; these services are intended for U.S. citizens only and do not utilize the correct federal tax forms for non-residents. There are very few online software programs that can assist with the preparation of taxes for non-residents, one of which is GLACIER Tax Prep available through the UA Tax Office.
Residency Status – Resident Alien vs. Nonresident Alien
- Determining Alien Status
- Taxation of Nonresident Aliens
- Taxation of Resident Aliens
- Taxation of Dual-Status Aliens
Federal Tax Forms:
Download the necessary forms
- Form 1040NR – Instructions
- Form 1040NR
- Form 1040NR-EZ Instructions
- Form 1040NR-EZ
- Form 8843
- Form W-7 (to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number if you do not already have a Social Security Number or ITIN)
- Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File Federal Tax Return
- Inside the U.S. during the last calendar year, and
- in F-1, F-2, J-1, J-2, M-1, M-2, Q-1, or Q-2 visa status
Both nonresident students who have received income and those who have not received any income are required to file this form.
Information on Preparing Form 8843 – Item 9: When asked to provide the Name, Address, and Telephone number of the academic institution that you attended, please enter:
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
Additional Tax Forms
Nonresident aliens who have earned or received income in the U.S. (e.g., payment for employment, scholarships, stipends) may be required to file additional income tax forms.
Tax Payer Identification Number:
In general nonresident individuals may apply for either a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for use on income tax related documents (not IRS Form 8843).
- Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN’s) for Foreign Students & Scholars
- Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (Form W-7)
Income Tax Resources:
Income Tax Publications:
- U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens (Publication 519)
- Withholding of Tax on Nonresident Aliens and Foreign Entities (Publication 515)
- U.S. Tax Treaties (Publication 901)
- Tax Benefits for Education (Publication 970)
- Exemptions, Standard Deductions, and Filing Information(Publication 501)
- Employer’s Tax Guide (Publication 15)