Social Security Card wih a brass key on top of it

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

Please note, the Social Security Administration has suspended face-to-face service nationwide until further notice due to the current pandemic. This means that at this time students applying for a Social Security Number due to Curricular Practical Training or on-campus employment can only apply for a 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-office appointment is necessary and possible. To contact your local office, please look for the local office telephone number at Social Security Office Locator under “Social Security Office Information” for the office you select. The toll-free “Office” number is your local office.

Students applying for Optional Practical Training can still apply for a Social Security Number by completing the relevant questions on their form I-765. We do NOT recommend applying through the SSA using the "mail-in" option.

  • The application must be should be made before
    • your job at NYU starts, or
    • your off-campus work authorization expires
    • but certain exceptions are permissible due to COVID-19 restrictions
  • 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 are fewer than fourteen days before the end of their work authorization. There may be an exception for students working on-campus. Please see more details below.

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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