U.S. Social Security
What is it?
A Social Security Number (SSN) is used by U.S. employers and employees for the purpose of reporting individual employee earnings for tax purposes only. The SSN is valid for life. You only need to apply once.
Who is eligible?
F-1 (visa) students who have secured on-campus employment or are working off-campus through OPT or CPT.
Why do I need it?
- You must have a SSN to receive income from Messiah College as a work-study student employee.
- You will need a SSN to file a U.S. income tax return for each calendar year for which you spent any period of time in the U.S.
- SSNs are often used for a variety of unofficial purposes, such as opening telephone, utility, or bank/credit card accounts. While having a SSN is convenient for these reasons, it is not required. If you have difficulty opening a bank account or other types of accounts because you do not have a SSN, you may want to speak to a supervisor or seek a different vendor.
How to Apply
For information, visit www.ssa.gov/ssnumber. All incoming international students assigned work-study positions will be taken to the local Social Security Administration office during pre-semester orientation to apply for your number.
Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN)
Foreign nationals who are not eligible to work, and therefore not eligible for a Social Security number, can apply for the Individual Taxpayer ID Number (ITIN). Click here for more information.
Employment for International Students
In order for an international (F1 visa) student to be eligible for employment, you must be enrolled in a full course of study. Once employment is authorized, you must maintain your eligibility or you will lose your right to continue employment, even if it was authorized in writing.
Messiah College F1 students may work on campus part-time (up to 20 hours per week each week) when school is in session and full-time (40 hours per week each week) during holiday and vacation periods. A new F1 student who has been issued a Form I-20 may work prior to the commencement of classes, but for no more than 30 days prior to the actual start date of classes.
Type 1: Employment for any on-campus work at Messiah College for which you receive a paycheck (or other compensation, such as room and board, etc.) from Messiah College.Type 2: Certain off-campus employment where there is an official educational relationship between Messiah and the off-campus employer. USCIS regulations allow work under Curricular Practical Training (CPT) at an off-campus location provided the:
- Location is educationally-affiliated with Messiah;
- Educational affiliation is associated with Messiah's established curriculum or is related to a graduate-level research project which Messiah has contracted to perform, and;
- Work is an integral or important part of your program of study.
Getting a Driver's License
If you are an international student wanting to obtain a Pennsylvania driver's license, follow the steps outlined below.
1. Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's (PennDOT) website and complete Step 1.
2. Complete Step 2 found on the website above (Note: You can get the physical portion of completed by the Engle Center for Counseling and Health Services. Just remember to print the Form DL-180 in advance from PennDOT's website, complete what you can, and then take the form with you to your scheduled appointment.)
3. You will need to visit either one of two nearby PennDOT Driver's License Centers:
- 1101 South Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17104
(11.9 miles from Grantham campus)
- 950 Walnut Bottom Road, Carlisle, PA 17015
(13.1 miles from Grantham campus)
3a. When you go in to the PennDOT Driver's License Center, you will need to bring with you the following:
- A money order made payable to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in the amount of $34.50 USD
- Your current, valid passport
- Your completed Form DL-180 (also found on PennDOT's website)
- Your most recent Form I-94 (arrival/departure record; click here to retrieve and print)
- Your most recent, up-to-date Form I-20
- A few photocopies of your U.S. visa
- Your Social Security card (if you do not qualify for a Social Security number, you will need to provide a letter of rejection from the Social Security Administration)
- Written verification of school enrollment (you can get this from Gina Hale in the Intercultural Office)
- Your latest W-2 (a U.S. income tax-related document; you will only have this if you have worked in the U.S. the year before; if you don't have one, then the items below are needed)
- Two recent pieces of mail with your name and address on it as verification of where you live in Pennsylvania (your Messiah College address will work; bank or cell phone billing statements are examples)
4. Complete Steps 4 and 5 listed on PennDOT's website.
The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that federal tax returns are submitted by April 15 each year for the year prior (state and local tax offices generally use this same deadline).
All international students, regardless of whether or not income was earned, are required to file the IRS Form-8843. Moreover, any international student with an F-1 visa who received any sort of income, including tuition reduction, scholarships, fellowships, grants, salaries, wages, stipends, interest, dividends, etc., from U.S. sources are also required to file income tax returns with federal, state and local governments.
When filing tax returns, ensure that you ...
•Report all U.S.-source income for the entire previous year (January 1 to December 31)
•Calculate how much tax is owed on that income
•At each of the three levels of government (local, state, federal), if you are owed money, request it. If you owe money, pay it. (Most international students will either owe nothing or are owed money from the government.)
Please note that neither International Student Programs nor any other office at Messiah College can offer specific tax advice. It is the responsibility of each student to understand tax obligations. Tax regulations can be very confusing, particularly for international students. Therefore, you should only rely on someone with proper training to assist you in filing your income tax return.
For more information on federal taxes, visit www.irs.gov