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.

Who can apply

F-1 and J-1 students who are authorized for employment can apply for an SSN. More specifically:

When to apply

  • The application must be made before
    • your job at NYU starts, or
    • your off-campus work authorization expires.
  • You may not apply earlier than 30 days before your work begin date. F-1 students applying for an SSN on Optional Practical Training apply at the same time as your OPT application with the government using the Form I-765.
  • Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks. Students applying for an SSN with their OPT application should automatically receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks of your OPT application approval.

Note: SSN applications will not be accepted if there is less than fourteen days before the end of their work authorization. There are no exceptions so plan accordingly.

How to apply

If you work ON-CAMPUS

If you work OFF-CAMPUS


If you need a number for TAX forms and don’t qualify for an SSN
If you are a spouse of an NYU student

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 Card?

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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