You must be authorized to work in the U.S. by the Department of Homeland Security in order to obtain a social security number. Generally speaking, most F-1 students are not authorized to work so they are not eligible for an SSN.
While this answer is provided by a Florida Bar Certified Expert in Immigration and Nationality Law, it is for general information purposes only and an attorney/client relationship is neither intended nor created. You should seek out qualified counsel to review your case and provide you with advice specific to your situation. Call +1-561-478-5353 to schedule a consultation with Mr. Devore.
If the school requires it, you can apply based on your I-20. Otherwise, you cannot.
The above is intended only as general information, and does not constitute legal advice. You must speak with an attorney to discuss your individual case.
I agree with my colleagues.
Asheesh K. Sharma Attorney at Law Sharma Law Offices, LLC 47 Perimeter Center East, Suite 260 Atlanta, GA 30346 www.elawimmigration.com 404-348-2829 This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as, and does not constitute, legal advice. Do not rely on this advice without speaking to an attorney in detail about your case. This message does not create an attorney-client relationship
You can get a SSN. Go to the local social security office and show them your I-20. If needed you may need a letter from your employer. It can be a letter just for volunteer work that will be good enough. Then bring that information to the social security office with your 1-20 and passport and you will get an SSN. The SSN will say on it though " Valid for work only with DHS authorization". I have been through this process so I know this is exactly how it works. This does NOT mean you can work in the US, it only means that you have a SSN, to work in the US you would need that additional DHS authorization.
Please call the firm below if you have any other questions or need help through this process.