F-1 Social Security & Taxes

Social Security Number

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a U.S. government institution that maintains a benefits program for injured, disabled, or retired people.  The money for this program is obtained through withholdings from employees’ pay and from employers’ contributions.  The Social Security Administration issues a Social Security Number by which to mark people in the Social Security system.  This number also serves as a major identification number for U.S. citizens, permanent residents (“green card” holders), and legal non-immigrants in the U.S.

As international students who will be pursuing your studies in the U.S. for a certain period of time, you are advised to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) if you have found and received authorization for on-campus employment.  When you come to FIU, you may have been given a 7-digit Panther ID number.  This is not your SSN but just a university identification number that can only be used for university purposes such as registration.  A social security number can be granted ONLY by the social security administration office of your residential area.

Once you have an on-campus job, get a detailed letter from your employer (see a sample department letter on the forms page by clicking on “Download Forms”). This letter will need an additional signature from ISSS. Submit the letter to ISSS along with an ISSS Document Request Form requesting an On-Campus Employment Certification. Once you have obtained all required signatures, you will take the letter along with your valid passport, FIU I-20 or DS-2019, I-94 (white card) and a completed SSN application form to a SSA office.

For additional information, please read our SSN Application Information Sheet.   

Due to changes in SSA and DHS policies and procedures, obtaining a SSN has become more restricted and highly regulated.  ISSS cannot guarantee the issuance of a SSN or the exact processing time for your application.  Please allow for 30 to 90 days processing time. 

Income Tax Filing Requirement

January 1 through April 15 is “Tax Season” in the U.S.  During this period, U.S. citizens, permanent residents and many non-immigrants must file income tax returns and other tax forms. By law, every individual in F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2 status must file certain tax forms, even if they have not worked in the U.S.  ALL international students, scholars and their dependents (F-1, F-2, J-1 and J-2) should file tax Form 8843.

If you worked and earned income in the U.S. the previous year, you should file an income tax return AND Form 8843 before April 15.

If you did not earn any income, you should file Form 8843 before June 15.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the U.S. government institution that oversees the withholding and filing of taxes. All appropriate forms can be accessed on their website.  International students are not always exempt from income taxes in the U.S. Click here for more information about your tax obligations as a foreign student or scholar.

ISSS advisors are NOT experts in income taxes and thus, cannot advise or assist you in filing your returns.


Foreign National Tax Resource™ (FNTR) can simplify tax preparation for foreign students.  International Student & Scholar Services with funding from Student Government Association provides FIU international students with this comprehensive online resource for completing U.S. income tax returns.

The Foreign National Tax Resource (FNTR), from Thomson-Reuters, provides easy-to-use federal tax preparation software along with extensive, searchable content to help you understand your tax obligations.

With the FNTR you can:

  • Determine your tax residency status (resident/nonresident or dual status)
  • Prepare either your 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ
  • Find out about tax treaty benefits
  • Get answers to frequently asked questions and understand the various rules, forms, and procedures

Please visit the ISSS main page and click on the Windstar icon for access.


Disclaimer –By using this tax assistance program, you acknowledge that FIU and ISSS are  not liable for any errors and incidental or consequential damages in connection with the furnishing, performance or use of these online systems, online HELP and/or examples contained therein.  The information on this webpage and the FNTR are provided as a service to enrolled international students at FIU. The information does not constitute tax advice and ISSS staff cannot assist with the preparation or completion of individual tax return forms.