A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit taxpayer identification number used for taxpayer identification, income reporting, and record-keeping purposes.
Anyone earning wages in the U.S. can apply and in fact must have an SSN for tax purposes. If you are not earning wages, you will not be able to apply. Once issued, the number is valid for a lifetime. If you have been issued a number previously, do not apply for another as this will cause confusion in your tax records.
Complete form SS-5, available online or in any U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) office. Bring the following documents with you:
Check in with Scholar Services first. The records of J-1 scholars must be validated in SEVIS before an application can be filed so you must wait at least 2 days after we validate your arrival in SEVIS before you can apply.
SSA offices are open Monday-Friday, 9 am-4 pm
As of Monday, August 13, 2012, the Manhattan Social Security Card Center located at 123 William Street, Third Floor, New York, NY 10038 will be the only Social Security office in Manhattan where people who live or receive mail in Manhattan can apply for a new or replacement Social Security Number card.
If you live or receive mail in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens or Manhattan and wish to apply for a new or replacement Social Security Number card, you must visit one of the following Social Security Card Centers:
Note: If you live on Staten Island, you may visit one of the two Staten Island Social Security offices.
Please go to www.socialsecurity.gov to get up-to-date information about their programs and benefits. Other offices may be found using the SSA Office Locator.
H-4 and O-3 spouses and family members are not eligible to accept employment in the U.S., and are therefore not permitted to apply for social security numbers.
J-2 spouses and family members who have been granted employment authorization by the INS may apply for SSNs.
If you have been assigned a Social Security Number but lost your card, you will need to re-apply for a new Social Security card. You must be eligible for a Social Security card under the current Social Security Administration regulations, and you need to follow the procedure listed above.
Your SSN is a unique, identifying number that should kept safe and provided only as needed to U.S. government agencies or credible financial institutions. Keep your card in a safe place.