A Washington State ID Card looks like a driver’s license and is also accepted as proof of age and identity. It is a good idea to obtain a State ID – especially if you will be visiting venues with age restrictions or purchasing alcohol – as you don’t want to carry your passport around all the time and risk it being lost or stolen. In order to apply for a State ID card, you will need a letter from ISSS confirming your student status. You will also need to present your passport and immigration documents. Please contact ISSS for more information.
Social Security Number
A Social Security number (SSN) is issued to track earnings over a worker's lifetime. Students holding F-1 and J-1 status who are employed in the US and H1B scholars must apply for a Social Security number. Dependents in F-2 or H4 status are not eligible for a Social Security number. Although you may be asked for one, a Social Security number is not required to obtain a driver's license, cell phone, credit card, insurance, admission to an academic institution, or for other "non-work" reasons. The Social Security number itself is not a work permit. In order to prevent identity theft, take care of your Social Security number (memorize the number and keep the card in a safe place — do not carry it in your wallet) and only give it out in response to legitimate requests.
In order to issue a Social Security number, the Social Security Administration requires evidence that you are eligible to work in the US, that you are a full-time student or scholar, and that you have received a formal offer of employment. The Social Security Administration must also verify your immigration documents and status with USCIS before issuing the Social Security number. Note that new students and scholars may not apply for an SSN earlier than 10 business days after arriving in the U.S.
Students who have been offered on-campus employment at Western or other employment should contact ISSS for instructions on how to apply for a Social Security number.