social security cards and a golden key

Please note, some Social Security Administration offices require pre-scheduled appointments to apply for a Social Security Number. Please call your local office to see if an in-person appointment is necessary and possible. To contact your local office, please look for the local office telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator under "Social Security Office Information" for the office you select. The toll-free "Office" number is your local office.

Social Security Number

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit number used for taxpayer identification, income reporting, and record-keeping purposes. Once issued, the number is valid for a lifetime. You should keep it safe and provide only as needed to US government agencies or credible financial institutions.

When to Apply

  • J-1 exchange visitors should first complete the online J-1 Arrival Form with OGS (see the Arrival Checklist). We recommend that J-1 exchange visitors wait 2 business days after receiving confirmation from OGS that your J-1 SEVIS record has been activated before starting your SSN application
  • Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks

How to Apply

  1. Complete a Social Security Number Application. You can either complete and submit the Form SS-5 online.
  2. You will need to bring your documents to a Social Security Card Center. Use the Social Security Office Locator and enter your zip/postal code to find the center closest to where you live. Documents you should bring include:
    • your passport with visa stamp
    • I-94 admission record
    • immigration documents
      • J-1: DS-2019
      • H1B: I-797 approval notice, I-129
      • O-1: I-797, approval notice, I-129
      • TN: entry stamp in passport
    • a copy of your offer letter or invitation letter from your NYU department, as applicable
    • J-1 student interns only: only student interns receiving payment/stipends related to their NYU internship are eligible for a SSN. You will need an employment confirmation letter from OGS; email to request the letter. (The J-1 categories Short-Term Scholar, Research Scholar, Professor, or Specialist do not need a letter from OGS.)
    • A completed SSN application (see Step 1)

NYU Employees: Update Your PeopleSync Record with Your SSN

For Faculty, Researchers, Staff, Administrators, and Adjuncts (non Local 2110):

1) Please go to NYU Home to access NYU PeopleSync (Workday). Upload a scan of your SIGNED SSN card into PeopleSync through the Personal Information tab>View>Worker Documents. Click ‘Add’ to upload the scan. 

2) Once the SSN card scan is added, please send an email to to alert them that you have uploaded your card and your employee record will be updated. 

Do not send your SSN over email.

Social Security Card Centers 

Please use the Social Security Office Locator and enter your zip (postal) code to find the center closest to where you live.

Lost Your Social Security Card? 

It’s important that you protect your SSN and protect yourself against identity theft. If you lost your SSN card you will need to reapply for a new one, following the instructions from the Social Security Administration.


Since services and fees vary from bank to bank, you should research different banks to find one that best suits your needs. Banks are typically open during business hours during the week, and many offer weekend or extended hours. Before opening an account, be sure to look at a map of the bank’s ATM and branch locations. A bank with locations in the areas you plan to frequent will be the most convenient.

Banks in the NYU Area

You typically do not need a Social Security Number to open a bank account, but requirements to open an account may vary by bank and/or account type. At a minimum, we recommend you bringing the following documents:

  • your passport
  • immigration documents (DS-2019, I-797, I-129, etc. as applicable to your visa classification)
  • I-94 record
  • NYU ID card
  • proof of residency
    • This is only required by some banks; inquire at your bank to see if you need one.
    • Please contact to request a proof of residency letter if needed.

J-2 dependents can also open bank accounts, and will need to present the same documents listed above.

Ask about details of any account you open