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Social Security Number

What is a Social Security number (SSN) ?

  • SSN is used for taxpayer identification, income reporting, and record-keeping purposes.
  • Everyone who is employed in the U.S. must have a SSN for tax purposes. 
  • Once issued, the number is valid for a lifetime, even if you leave the U.S. 

Who can apply

F-1 and J-1 students who are working and in legal status can apply for a SSN. More specifically:

When to apply

The application must be made before your job at NYU ends or your off-campus work authorization expires. If you are not authorized to work off-campus or don’t have a job on-campus, then you are ineligible to apply for a SSN.

How to apply

If you work ON-CAMPUS

  1. Bring a photocopy of your I-94 record and your NYU job offer letter to the Office of Global Services (OGS). This is a drop-off service that does not require you to see an OGS advisor. Your department must use this job offer letter template copied onto department letterhead and your supervisor's signature must be in blue ink. Before submitting these two required documents, be sure that:
    1. You have attended an OGS check-in workshop
    2. You are registered full time for the current semester
    3. You have a current local U.S. address in Albert
  2. Collect your OGS approved letter (we email you within 5 business days to come pick it up from our office).
  3. Gather these documents:
    1. Unexpired passport (valid at least six months into the future)
    2. I-94 record marked “F-1 D/S”
    3. NYU I-20
    4. NYU ID card or another form of photo ID
    5. Your NYU job offer letter with OGS approval
  4. Go to the Social Security Administration card center closest to where you live, with your documents and submit an application for a Social Security number. You may not apply earlier than 30 days before your work begin date. Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints. Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks.

  1. Get your work authorization letter. If you are not sponsored by NYU, contact your J-1 program sponsor (as indicated in Section 5 of your DS-2019) for directions. If you are sponsored by NYU, continue reading.
    1. You must apply for your on-campus employment authorization letter in person at the OGS. Before coming to the OGS, be sure that:
      1. You have attended an OGS check-in workshop
      2. You are registered full time for the current semester
      3. You have a current local U.S. address in Albert
    2. Bring your passport, I-94 card, and most recent DS-2019 to the OGS during walk-in advising hours along with these details of your employment offer:
      1. The name and place of employment
      2. Your supervisor's name and contact information
      3. The number of hours you will work per week
      4. The dates of your proposed employment.
  2. Gather these documents:
    1. Unexpired passport (valid at least six months into the future
    2. I-94 record marked “J-1 D/S
    3. NYU DS-201
    4. NYU ID Card or another form of photo ID
    5. Employment authorization letter from the OGS
  3. Go to the Social Security Administration card center closest to where you live, with your documents, to submit an application for a Social Security number. Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints. Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks.

If you work OFF-CAMPUS

  1. Gather these documents:
    1. Unexpired passport (valid at least six months into the future)
    2. I-94 record marked “F-1 D/S"
    3. NYU I-20 with Curricular Practical Training authorization listed on page 3
    4. NYU ID Card or another form of photo ID
  2. Go to the Social Security Administration card center closest to where you live, with your documents, to submit an application for a Social Security number. You may not apply earlier than 30 days before your work begin date. Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints. Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks.

  1. Gather these documents:
    1. Unexpired passport (valid at least six months into the future)
    2. I-94 record marked “F-1 D/S"
    3. NYU I-20 with employment recommendation listed on page 3
    4. NYU ID Card or another form of photo ID
    5. Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the
    6. U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  2. Go to the Social Security Administration card center closest to where you live, with your documents, to submit an application for a Social Security number. You may not apply earlier than 30 days before your work begin date. Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints. Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks.

  1. Gather these documents:
    1. Unexpired passport (valid at least six months into the future)
    2. I-94 record marked “J-1 D/S"
    3. NYU DS-2019 with Academic Training authorization
    4. NYU ID Card or another form of photo ID
    5. Academic Training letter from the OGS
  2. Go to the Social Security Administration card center closest to where you live, with your documents, to submit an application for a Social Security number. Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints. Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks.

If you need a number for tax forms and you don’t qualify to apply for SSN

Students receiving a fellowship or scholarship who are not expected to work beyond their own studies cannot apply for SSN. Instead, they will be asked by the university to complete, among other papers, a W-7 form to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) necessary to file their tax forms.

F-2 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. However, F-2 spouses and family members may apply for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) via Form W-7, available through the Internal Revenue Service.

J-2 spouses and family members who have been granted employment authorization by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may apply for Social Security numbers.

J-2 spouses and family members authorized to work should follow this process to apply:

  1. Gather these documents:
    1. Unexpired passport (valid at least six months into the future)
    2. I-94 record marked “J-1 D/S"
    3. NYU DS-2019 
    4. Another form of photo ID
    5. Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  2. Go to the Social Security Administration card center closest to where you live, with your documents, to submit an application for a Social Security number. Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints.

 

Social Security Card Centers

Note: If you live in New Jersey or elsewhere, please use the Social Security Office Locator to find the center where you should apply.


Lost your Social Security number?

It’s important that you protect your SSN and guard yourself against identity theft. If you lost your SSN card you will need to reapply for a new one. You can only apply for a replacement card if you are authorized to work off-campus or have an on-campus job at NYU.

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