Social Security Cards

The social security number is used for employment purposes in the United States in order to report wages to the government. The Social Security Administration will only issue a social security number for employment purposes only. If you are seeking one to establish a bank account, rent an apartment or open a cell phone account, please see an ISSS advisor instead.

Applying for a Social Security Number

You need to obtain a letter from your employer. Start with this sample letter.

Bring your employers letter to our office and express your interest in applying for a social security number. Your employment letter will need to be co-signed by an immigration advisor, which takes about three to give business days. You will receive an email when it is ready for pickup.

Visiting the Social Security Office

Before you go, you will need to gather the following paperwork:
  • Copy of your passport
  • Copy of your I-94
  • Copy of your I-20 or DS-2019
  • Copy of your student ID
  • Employment letter from your employer (original copy only) co-signed by an ISSS advisor
  • Social Security Card Application - you will write down your own mailing address on the application

Once you have your paperwork ready, you will need to turn your application in at a Social Security office. DeKalb does not have a social security office, and we advise all students to go to the Elgin Social Security Office, located at 790 Fletcher Drive in Elgin. Check their hours on the Social Security Office Locator before you go.

When you visit the Social Security office, you have to bring in the originals of the above-mentioned documents, but you do not submit them. The social security representative will want to see the originals, but then keep copies for their records. You should make copies of your documents in advance because the center does not have a copy machine available for use. If you have any questions regarding filling out your social security application, the representative at the center can answer them. The processing for a social security card takes anywhere from two weeks to a month.

Once you receive your Social Security number, you will have to contact the following offices and give them your new social security number:
  • Registration and Records, Williston Hall, room 220 815-753-0681
  • If you are employed on campus, contact the Payroll Office, Human Resource Building, Lincoln Highway 815-753-6000
  • Your local bank

Contact Us

International Student Scholar Services (ISSS)
Williston Hall

Phone: 815-753-1346
Fax: 815-753-1488
Email: isfo@niu.edu

Hours: 8 a.m.-noon (pick up and drop off only)
All advising and other questions are by appointment only.

Request An Appointment