Taxes, Social Security Number, ITIN & California ID


Please refer to the tax section of our website for tax resources.


International students and scholars are required to have a social security number (SSN) if they are employed. A SSN is solely for taxation purposes. An SSN is not legally required to open a bank account, obtain a drivers license, open a cellular phone account, etc. 

When applying for your SSN, make an appointment to apply in personNEVER mail in original legal documents to the Social Security Office - such as passports or DS-2019s - to apply for your SSN.  

WHEN to apply:

  • For international scholars (J-1, H-1B, TN, O-1, E-3), wait at least 10 days from the date of your check-in with Human Resources.
  • For international students (F-1 or J-1), wait at least 48 hours since your international student program has been validated in SEVIS.


WHAT to bring to the Social Security Administrator's Office when you are eligible to apply:

  1. Passport
  2. I-20 (for F-1 holders), DS-2019 (for J-1 holders) or I-797 (for H-1B or TN-1 holders)
  3. I-94 number
  4. Job Offer Letter
  5. If F-1/J-1 student, letter issued by ISSO Adviser


WHERE to apply (Due to COVID-19 office closures and limitations, scholars are encouraged to call the social security office to make an appointment in advance.):

  1. 90 7th St, Annex 1st Floor, San Francisco 94103. Between Market and Mission St., 1-800-772-1213 || 1-866-964-5051
  2. 1098 Valencia St, San Francisco 94110. Between 21st and 22nd St., 1-866-755-6323
  3. 560 Kearny St, San Francisco 9408. Between Sacrament and California St., 1-800-772-1213


AFTER you apply:

Your social security card will be mailed to the address that you listed on the SSN application 7-10 business days after you apply.

Additional SSN information: 1-800-772-1213 or TTY: 1-800-325-0778


ITINs are required for taxation purposes. Please find additional information at the Internal Revenue Service ITIN website.


A California State I.D. may replace your passport for identification when you are within city limits.  You will need some form of picture I.D. that specifies your age to buy alcoholic beverages (drinking age is 21 and over), enter most concert halls and clubs, cash checks, and sometimes to pay with a credit or debit card.  You can apply for a California State I.D. card or a California driver's license (cost ranges from $26 to $31) at the Department of Motor Vehicles (see TRANSPORTATION chapter for more information).  *Please note, if you will be applying for a California driver's license, you do not need to apply for a California State I.D.