Social Security Numbers are primarily intended to identify participants in the federal government’s Social Security program, which provides retirement and disability benefits to workers and their families. However, they are now widely used for administrative and identification purposes. ALL persons seeking employment, of any kind, including assistantships must obtain a social security number before payment can be received. Having a social security number makes it easier for you to open a bank account, obtain a credit card, purchase an automobile, or get insurance. 

However, you can apply for a Social Security number only if you have decided to work and have applied for a job on-campus. Once you have applied for a job and gotten a contract from the department you will be working for, the Human Resources office will provide you with a Social Security application and a letter of recommendation.

Once you have the application and the letter, you are responsible for finding your own transportation to the Social Security Office.

If you are an F-1 student you will need the following documents:

  • I-20 Certificate of Eligibility for F-1 Student 
  • Passport  
  • I-94 card (also known as the arrival/departure record) automated online form. Click on this link: I-94 Online Card
  • Letter of eligibility from Human Resources at La Sierra University 
  • Social Security Application Form 

Remember: no matter what is or is not stamped on your social security card, you must have the approval of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or your visa sponsor before you may work off-campus or participate in an internship or practical training.  Check with the OISS if you have questions or if you have difficulty obtaining your social security number. 

Social Security applications take 2-3 weeks to process; so apply as soon as you have a job on-campus.  However, it is recommended that you do not apply during your first 30 days in the country as your immigration data will not have been transmitted from the DHS databases to the SSA’s yet and thus your application will be denied.

The closest Social Security Administration office to La Sierra is in Corona: 2191 Samson St., Suite 105, Corona, CA 92879. Their phone number is (800) 772-1213. We recommend, however,  that you go to the Riverside branch located at 7880 Mission Grove Parkway St., Riverside, CA 92508. The Social Security Administration web site is

F-2 visa-holders are NOT eligible to apply for a social security number since they are not allowed to work in the U. S. 

If you are required to file a tax return and are not eligible for a U.S. social security number because you are not working, you may apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a Tax Identification Number (ITIN) on form W-7. This form may be obtained from the OISS web site or the IRS’s site at

For more information about US. Social Security Numbers call their toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 or contact the La Sierra University Human Resources Office at (951) 785-2088.

1. The only way the Social Security Office will give you a Social Security Number if you are applying for work on our campus. 

2. If you want to work, go to the Human resource Office located in Administration Building Room 223 and speak to Desiree Noah. Take your Student ID Card, I-20, and Passport, and ask her for an employment verification letter. 

3. Take the following documents to the Social Security Office:

  • Verification Letter
  • Passport
  • I-94 Admission Card
  • I-20 Form

*If you need a ride to the Social Security Office, please contact the office, we recommend that you find a friend that can take you, IF NOT, please stop by our office and we will find a way to get you to the Social Security Office. 


Take the following items to the DMV with you:

  • Social Security Number*
  • Passport
  • I-94 
  • I-20 Form

*If you do not have a Social Security Card, you must obtain a denial letter from the Social Security Office. Take the letter with you instead of the Social Security Number Card. You can receive a Social Security denial letter by going to the Social Security Office and asking for one.

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