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.

• SSA: International Students and Social Security Numbers

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).


Step 1: Complete I-9 Employment Verification with your employing department – BY FEDERAL LAW, THE I-9 MUST BE COMPLETED BEFORE OR ON THE 1st DAY OF EMPLOYMENT.  Your department’s office manager should know how to process the I-9 or be able to direct you to the person who can process it.  You will need to have your passport and I-20/DS-2019 (or other document that shows employment eligibility) with you at the time that you process the I-9.  They must see the original documents.

Step 2: 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).

1. First, your host department must complete the SSN Student Employment Verification Form and print it out on their department letterhead.
2. 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, and J-1 Specialists do not require an employment letter or SSN Student Employment Verification Form to apply for a Social Security Number:

Step 3: Complete Social Security waiting period.   Before you can submit an application to the Social Security Administration for a SSN, you must have entered the U.S. on your current visa at least 10 days prior to your SSN application date.

Step 4: Apply for the SSN
Apply for a SSN at the Social Security Administration office.
Location: 2005 University Blvd., Suite 1200, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
General Directions: Located in the Federal Courthouse at the intersection of 20th and 21st Avenue and University Boulevard.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 08:30 am – 3:00 pm (except for Federal Holidays).
Phone Numbers:

• Local: 1-877-480-4988
• National: 1-800-772-1213
• TTY: 1-800-325-0778

ISSS suggest that you avoid going to the SSA on the first and the last day of the month because the waiting time on those particular days may be several hours. If you are not in Tuscaloosa, please check for your nearest local office with the Social Security Administration.

Take the following documents with you:

• 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.
• Your original, valid passport
• Form I-94: More information can be found at:
• Your most recent and/or stamped Form I-20 (F-1 Students) or Form DS-2019 (J-1 Students/Scholars)
• International Faculty and Staff in other visa statuses should take the document that proves that status (e.g. I-797 Approval Notice for H-1B visa holders, EAD Card, I-94 Card marked for TN Status, etc.)

Make sure to provide a valid mailing address on the SSN Application.
When applying for the SSN, request a RECEIPT for your application.

Step 5: In approximately two to eight weeks 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 AND 1 copy to Casey V. Jones, Tax Analyst, 365-A Rose Administration Building.*

* If you have not already done so, be sure to schedule a Tax Analysis appointment with the UA Tax Office.  For more information about tax analysis at UA, please visit:   Any questions you may have should be directed to Casey Jones at

Map from Campus (A) to Federal Building (B):

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.  Contact Casey V. Jones, Tax Analyst, to complete an ITIN application packet.

365-A Rose Administration Building
Box 870136
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0136
(205) 348-8865 phone
(205) 348-7282 fax


The UA Tax Office provides tax information and resources for international students and scholars.  Please visit the International Tax website at the following link:

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.


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.


International students should not use Turbo Tax, 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.


Where to Mail your Tax Forms:
Federal Tax Forms
If filing 1040NR, 1040NR-EZ, or 8843:
Internal Revenue Service Center
Austin, TX

If filing other federal tax forms: consult form instructions, a tax professional, or access:

Tax Helplines:
Federal Taxes – 1-(800)-829-1040

Residency Status – Resident Alien vs. Nonresident Alien

IRS Form 8843 – (Statement for Exempt Individuals and Individuals with a Medical Condition)
All nonresident aliens must file the Form 8843 if they were:

  • 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.

International Student has a free online resource to assist with completing the 8843 – 8843 Form Wizard.

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
(205) 348-5402

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.

Federal Tax Forms:
Download the necessary 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).

Income Tax Resources:

Income Tax Publications: