• Applying for a Social Security Number

    Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN)

    General Information:

    • A job offer is required in order to apply for a social security number.
    • Once you obtain your social security card, you will need to bring the original card to the Human Resources department at your place of employment.
    • You must apply in person at the Social Security Administration office.
    • You may apply for your SSN up to 30 days prior to your employment start date. If you are new to the United States, you must wait at least 10 days after entering the country to obtain your SSN.
    • If you have ever been granted an SSN in the past, you do not need to apply for a new one. This number is issued only once per individual. You may apply for a replacement card if you lost your previous card.
    • Once you obtain your social security card, be sure to keep this in a safe place with your other important documents. Do not carry your card with you, and avoid giving the number out unnecessarily to protect against misuse of your number. You may be asked to provide the number at times, but rarely need to show the card. For this reason, it is advised that you memorize your social security number if possible.
    • J-2 dependents are eligible for a social security number only with a valid Employment Authorization Document. F-2 dependents are not eligible for a social security number.
    • For more information, visit www.ssa.gov

    Required Documents:

    All international students and scholars applying for a social security card (new or replacement) must present the following documents:

    • Passport
    • US visa (expired or unexpired – not required for Canadian citizens)
    • Form I-94 (white card inside your passport)
    • Original I-20 or DS-2019
    • Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card (available online or in person at the Social Security Administration office)

    Additional Documents:

    Your visa type determines what documents you will need to bring with you to the Social Security office, in addition to the documents listed above.

    If you are an F-1 student applying for your SSN based on approved on-campus employment:

    • Obtain a “Verification of Student Employment” letter from the IOCP office. You may stop by the IOCP front desk to pick this up. This form must be completed and signed by your on-campus employer, then bring it back to the IOCP office for a final signature.
    • Request a Social Security letter from the IOCP office.

    If you are an F-1 student applying for your SSN based on CPT work authorization:

    • A letter of employment is required from your employer.
    • I-20 must list active CPT work authorization.

    If you are an F-1 student applying for your SSN based on OPT work authorization:

    • A valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is required.

    If you are a J-1 student:

    • Obtain a "Verification of Student Employment" letter from the IOCP office. You may stop by the IOCP front desk to pick this up. This form must be completed and signed by your on-campus employer, then bring it back to the IOCP office for a final signature.
    • Request a Social Security letter from the IOCP office.

    If you are a J-1 scholar: