A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit taxpayer identification number used for taxpayer identification, income reporting, and record-keeping purposes. A Social Security Number is not work authorization. The Social Security Administration (SSA) issues numbers to all U.S. citizens and permanent residents and to eligible foreign nationals. Eligibility to apply for a social security number is dependent on one's eligibility for employment in the U.S.
Everyone who is employed in the U.S. must have a social security number. 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. If you do not have a social security number, you will need to visit one of the local Social Security Administration offices to apply for one.
F-1 and J-1 students are eligible to apply for a Social Security number only if they are in status and authorized to work. The application for a Social Security number MUST be made before the on-campus job ends or the off-campus work authorization expires.
F-1 work authorization must be in one of the following forms:
J-1 students must have a work authorization letter from their J-1 program sponsor.
Students in certificate or non-degree programs who are ineligible to accept on-campus employment, or students who are otherwise not maintaining F-1 or J-1 status, are not permitted to apply for a Social Security number.
F-1 Students with On-Campus Employment
1. Complete full-time academic registration
2. Bring a photocopy of your I-94 record and your NYU job offer letter to the 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
You have attended an OGS check-in workshop for new and transfer students.
You are registered full time for the current semester
You have a current local address in SIS/Albert
3. OGS processing time is five business days from the date a complete application is submitted. Once you have obtained the OGS approval, you may go to a Social Security Administration office to submit an application for a Social Security number. Students may not apply earlier than 30 days before your work begin date or work authorization start date. You must present the following documents:
F-1 Students with Off-Campus Employment
F-1 students with off-campus work authorization should bring their passport, I-20, and Employment Authorization Document OR Curricular Practical Training I-20 to the Social Security Administration. You DO NOT need a letter from the OGS. Students with CPT may not apply earlier than 30 days before the work authorization start date. Students with an EAD may not apply until the EAD start date has been reached.
1. Complete full-time academic registration
2. Obtain a work authorization letter from your exchange visitor program sponsor.
If you are sponsored by NYU, you must apply for your on-campus employment authorization letter in person at the OGS. Bring your passport, I-94 card, and most recent DS-2019 to the OGS during walk-in hours along with details of your employment offer. Details the OGS needs are the name and place of employment, your supervisor's name and contact information, the number of hours you will work per week, and the dates of your proposed employment. If you are not sponsored by NYU, contact your J-1 program sponsor (as indicated in Section 5 of your DS-2019) for directions.
3. Once you have obtained an employment authorization letter from the OGS, you may go to a Social Security Administration office to submit an application for a social security number. You must present the following documents:
Students receiving a fellowship or scholarship who are not expected to work beyond their own studies do not need social security numbers. 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 returns.
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 on this page.
F-2 spouses and family members are not eligible to accept employment in the U.S., and are therefore not permitted to apply for SSNs. 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 USCIS may apply for Social Security numbers.
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:
Brooklyn Social Security Card Center, 154 Pierrepont Street, Sixth Fl, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Bronx Social Security Card Center, 820 Concourse Village West, Second Fl, Bronx, NY 10451
Queens Social Security Card Center, 155-10 Jamaica Avenue, Second Fl, Jamaica, NY 11432
Manhattan Social Security Card Center, 123 William Street, Third Fl, New York, NY 10038
Note: If you live on Staten Island, you may visit one of the two Staten Island Social Security offices.
If you live in New Jersey or elsewhere, please use the Social Security Office Locator to find the center where you should apply.
Be prepared for long lines and security checkpoints.