social security cards and a golden key

Please note, the Social Security Administration has suspended face-to-face service nationwide until further notice due to the current pandemic. This means that scholars can only apply for a new Social Security Number by appointment. Appointment availability is based on available staff and office operating status. 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 check in (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 you visit the Social Security Office
  • Social Security Offices are open Monday-Friday, 9 am-4 pm
  • Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks

How to Apply

Bring these documents to a Social Security Card Center:

  • a completed SSN application (form SS-5)
  • 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

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