Social Security Number Application

Social Security Application Graphic
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Overview

A Social Security Number (SSN) is used primarily by employers and employees for tax-reporting purposes only. The employer needs to withhold taxes on your earnings using your unique number, and you need your social security number when you file a tax return.

A Social Security Number (SSN):

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Eligibility

In general, international students and scholars need to have authorized employment to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN), with the following exceptions:  

  1.  F-1 doctoral fellowship recipients who do not work the first year but will later have teaching and research responsibilities
  2.  J-1 students, research and short-term scholars are eligible for an SSN without a specific job
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How and When to Apply

Social Security Card Timeline
Step 1

Gather your documents

You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) as early as 30 days in advance of your employment start date, with the following documents:

You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) as early as 30 days in advance of your I-20 program start date with the following documents:

You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) as early as 30 days in advance of your CPT employment start date printed on page 2 of your I-20 program with the following documents:

If you applied for a Social Security Number (SSN) through the I-765 OPT application, you do not need to follow these instructions to apply in person. Generally you will receive the SSN in the mail a few weeks after you receive the EAD. 

If you do need to apply for an SSN in person, you may apply on or after the OPT start date on your EAD card with the following documents:

 

Confirm your on-campus employment with the ISSO online. You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) as early as 30 days in advance of your DS-2019 program start date with the following documents:

You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) as early as 30 days in advance of your DS-2019 program start date with the following documents:

You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) as early as 30 days in advance of your Academic Training employment start date with the following documents:

You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) as early as 30 days in advance of your Form DS-2019 with these documents:

You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) on or after the program start on your Form DS-2019. Wait two business days after you have reported your arrival online to ensure that your SEVIS record can be verified as "active". You do not require a letter from the ISSO. 

If you applied for a Social Security Number (SSN) through the I-765 OPT application, you do not need to follow these instructions to apply in person. Generally you will receive the SSN in the mail a few weeks after you receive the EAD. 

If you do need to apply for an SSN in person, you may apply on or after the "valid from" date on your EAD card with the following documents:

You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) on or after the "valid from" date on your I-797 Approval Notice with the following documents:

You may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) on or after the start date on the TN or E-3 sponsor's letter offering employment with the following documents:

Step 2

Go to the Manhattan Social Security Card Center and bring all your documents

123 William Street
New York, NY
10038
(7:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday to Friday)

*Many subway lines including the #2, #3, and A lines go to Fulton Street station. Follow the signs for the William St. exit.

 

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Step 3

Wait 1-2 weeks to receive your SSN in the mail

After you receive your SSN, we advise you not to carry the Social Security Card with you, but to memorize the number or make a note of it elsewhere and put the card in a safe place with your other important documents. We all need to be careful to avoid identity theft. Don't lose your card! Replacement is tricky.

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Replacing a Lost Social Security Card

The SSA will replace your card (and will give you the same number) only if you are currently eligible to get one. However, you may continue to use your Social Security number if you know it and your card is not requested.

Check the document requirements under the category for your current eligibility. The SSN application has a question asking if you have ever filed for or received an SSN card before. 

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