Student Employment: Hiring International Students

Overview: All employees of Western Michigan University must have a valid United States Social Security number to work at the University. Under Department of Homeland Security regulations, international students without a current Social Security number are not able to receive a valid Social Security number until after the drop-add period. The following procedure has been developed to allow WMU to legally hire an international student before he or she receives a valid Social Security number. The student may apply and begin work before the Social Security number is received. 

For all international students with J or F visas

Step one

  1. The student needs a job offer letter from the hiring department, signed by the supervisor.
  2. The department works with International Admissions and Services to provide a letter of employment signed by the department/supervisor.
  3. The letter from the department must state where the student is working, the position, the start date, the hours worked, supervisor name and telephone number.

Step two

  1. The student must then contact International Admissions and Services, who will assist the student through the process of obtaining a valid U.S. Social Security number.
  2. The student must have authorization to work from International Admissions and Services or Department of Homeland Security.
  3. The student receives an authorization letter from International Admissions and Services to take to the Social Security Administration office.
  4. The student must meet Social Security's eligibility requirements.

Step three

  1. The student applies for a Social Security number at the Social Security Administration office.
  2. Local branch: 317 S Drake Rd, Kalamazoo MI 49009. Phone number for questions: (866) 331-9088.
  3. The student will receive a letter from Social Security Administration office stating that the student has applied for a Social Security number.

Step four

  1. The department can submit the appointment form to hire the student while the Social Security application is in progress.
  2. Use the following pseudo Social Security number to process the form: 999-11-2222 (do not use for U.S. citizens).
  3. Please do not give this number to the student as it is not a valid number and they cannot use it elsewhere.
  4. Do not use this number on any other WMU documents.
  5. The hire date (appointment begin date) is the date the student started working for you.
  6. A Form I-9 must still be completed within three days of the student's hire.

Step five

  1. When Human Resources receives the appointment form, a unique placeholder Social Security number will be assigned for use in the PeopleSoft database until the valid Social Security number is received, allowing the student to be placed on the payroll and receive pay. HR will also send the student an email regarding the completion of the Form I-9.
  2. Once Human Resources loads the form to PeopleSoft, the student will be able to access Employee Self-Service the following day.

Step six

  1. When the student receives the email from, he or she should log into Employee Self-Service from home, the department or in the Human Resources office to start the I-9 process and then visit Human Resources to show supporting documents.

Step seven

  1. Once the student receives the valid Social Security number from the Social Security Admissions office, he or she must bring their Social Security card to Human Resources.
  2. Human Resources will make a copy of the Social Security number and update the number on PeopleSoft.

Step eight

  1. Human Resources will notify the initiator of the student's appointment form and the student that a valid Social Security number has been received. If a reminder was sent to the student about the Social Security Card, then the form initiator will also be notified.


  1. Human Resources must have a valid Social Security number on file by the 15th day of the second month of employment.
  2. If Human Resources has not received a valid Social Security number by the 15th day of the second month, the hiring department will be contacted.
  3. The department is responsible for follow up with the student to ensure valid Social Security number is provided to Human Resources.