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Applying for Legal Documents

Social Security Number

The primary purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to track individuals for taxation purposes social-security-number-card in the US. International students may apply for an SSN in person at the Social Security Administration Office (SSA) only after a job offer has been secured or employment has begun. 

Your SSN has 9 digits - the same as your SVSU student ID number - but it is a different number. When you are asked for these numbers, be clear about which one is needed. The Student ID number generally is valid only at Saginaw Valley State University.  NEVER give your SSN to anyone unless it is a requirement.

International students apply in person at the nearest Social Security office no earlier than 10 days after arriving in the US. Coordinate with the Office of International Programs if you need a ride to the SSA Office.   

You will need to bring the following things with you when you apply:

  • I-20 (for F-1) or DS-2019 for J-1)
  • Passport with Visa
  • I-94 card
  • Letter from the OIP office.
  • Completed and signed Verification of Student Employment for Social Security Application.
  • Prior to visiting the Social Security Office, please complete the application for a Social Security Number (Form SS-5): Application for the Social Security Number


To find out when a trip will be scheduled, contact the Office Of International Programs (W 250).

After submitting your application to the SSA Office, you should receive the SSN card within one month.  If you do not receive the card within 30 days, return to the Social Security office to inquire or call the toll-free (800) phone number.  Do not apply for a second card; you will only have one SSN in your lifetime.  Although the SSN will be requested during many daily activities such as banking, utilities, phones, etc., it is only required for employment.  For purposes other than employment, ask the service provider about acceptable alternative identification (ID) numbers.  With the exception of the Social Security Card Application (SS-5), all other documents will be examined and returned immediately to you.

To apply for an SSN denial letter (if you are not eligible for an SSN but need documentation required for MI driver’s license) go to the Social Security Administration Office (SSA) with your original immigration documents.   A denial letter will be provided to you.

Michigan Drivers License

Michigan-Drivers_license International drivers' license are valid only for a certain amount of time after the arrival in the United States. If you plan to drive, you must obtain the Michigan driver's license. These are issued by the Michigan Secretary of State Office. Both a written exam and a driving exam must be passed in order to receive a valid license.

Part of obtaining a license is earning the state driving rules. Be sure to follow them.

What Every Driver Must Know

Required Documents