Applying for a Social Security Number
In order to be paid for any form of employment either on or off campus, it is necessary to have a Social Security number (SSN), which is a primary form of identification in the U.S.
SSNs are issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). An SSN does NOT authorize you to accept employment off-campus. Accepting unauthorized employment is a violation of your immigration status. SSA does not issue SSNs for unpaid internships.
You must have employment to obtain a Social Security number. Accepting unauthorized employment is a violation of your immigration status. SSA does not issue SSNs for unpaid internships. If you are a new student or scholar working at Stevens, please also check with the ISSS Office to make sure you are registered in SEVIS before you go to the SSA office to apply for your Social Security Number.
Applying for a Social Security Number
New Initial F-1/J-1 Student: You must complete your SEVIS Activation with ISSS and be present in the United States for at least 10 calendar days.
Current Student: For current students with an on-campus job offer, please skip to Step 2.
Students with CPT or OPT Work Authorization:
Obtain your letter of employment (the letter of employment must be written on company letterhead and state your position, hours, start date and end date). Please skip to Step 5.
NOTE: You cannot apply for a SSN more than 30 days before the start date of your CPT/OPT work authorization.
Print the On-Campus Employment Verification Form and complete Part A. Your hiring department/supervisor must complete Parts B and C. Signatures must be original (signed in ink).
Submit the Social Security Support Letter Request via the ISSS Student Portal to request a Social Security Support Letter. You will need to upload your completed On-Campus Employment Verification Form to the online application.
ISSS processing time for this request is 2 business days. Students will be emailed when their ISSS Social Security Support Letter is ready. You can receive your ISSS Social Security Support Letter via in-person pick-up or via mail.
Call your local Social Security Office to make an in-person appointment. For students with an on-campus job offer, please wait until you receive the ISSS Social Security Support Letter before you call and request an appointment. Prepare the following documents to apply for an SSN:
Students with an on-campus job offer will need both the On-Campus Employment Verification Form and ISSS Social Security Support Letter
Form I-20 (with work authorization on the 2nd page if on CPT/OPT) or Form DS-2019 (for J-1 students)
Valid I-94 (retrieve record at www.cbp.gov/i94)
Visa that corresponds with your nonimmigrant status OR an I-797 approval notice if you have successfully changed
Save a receipt confirming application for your SSN. Standard processing time for the issuance of a social security number is approximately 2 weeks, though it may take longer. Once processed, a social security card will be mailed to you. You may not engage in employment until you have received your card.
Once you receive your social security card, visit the Student Employment Office for further information on how to complete the employment application process and when you can begin to work. This step is necessary before you may begin work and start receiving payment for your services. The Student Employment office is located on the 5th floor of the Wesley J. Howe Center.
You must have employment to obtain a Social Security number. If you are a new scholar working at Stevens, please also check with the ISSS to make sure you are registered in SEVIS before you go to the SS office to apply. You will then visit a Social Security office and complete an application. When you apply, you will receive a receipt from the Social Security office. You should retain this receipt; in the event that you begin working before receiving your Social Security card, you must present the receipt to your employer. It will take approximately two weeks to receive your card in the mail. If your Social Security card does not arrive within the two-week period, you should take the receipt back to the SS office to inquire about your card.
J-1 Scholars and H-1B visa holders must present the following at the SS office:
A completed Social Security application form: Social Security application forms are available at the Social Security office or on the Social Security Administration website
Passport: The passport must have an issue date earlier than one year from the date you apply for your Social Security card. If not, you will need to bring picture ID of some sort (like a driver’s license from your home country) issued at least one year earlier. A picture ID in a language other than English is permitted. The Social Security Administration will translate your ID, but expect processing delays.
A DS-2019 (J-1 visa holder) or Form I-797 (H-1 visa holder) issued to you.
I-94 Record: You can access the print-out of your electronic I-94 from the CBP website
Your visa: Located inside your passport and issued not less than 30 days before the date you go to the SS office.
A letter of employment: The letter of employment must be written on company letterhead and state your position, hours, start date, and end date.
All documents must be originals; the Social Security office cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. Also, please keep in mind that these requirements may change slightly by jurisdiction, and that some Social Security offices are stricter than others with respect to documents required.
Frequently Asked Questions
Social Security Numbers (SSN) are only issued for individuals who are working in the U.S., on or off-campus. Students who are not working cannot obtain an SSN.
Incoming students must have completed SEVIS Activation with ISSS before you may apply for the SSN.
F-1 Students who have secured on-campus employment, or working off-campus on CPT or OPT.
J-1 visa holders may be eligible for a SSN if receiving salary or stipend from Stevens.
Ph.D. students with a fellowship are also eligible for an SSN.
Please note that an SSN card cannot be processed if the employment start date is more than 30 days in the future.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) assigns nine-digit Social Security numbers (SSNs) to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and eligible non-immigrant workers in the United States. SSA uses SSNs to report wages to the government, track Social Security benefits and for other identification purposes.
The local SSA office in Hoboken is located at: 79 Hudson St 6th floor, Hoboken, NJ 07030
After receiving your support letter from ISSS. You can gather the remaining documents and file your application for an SSN card in-person at your local SSA Office. Be prepared to provide your original documents to prove your age, identity and work-authorized immigration status. All evidence of immigration status and work authorization must be unexpired
There is no charge for a Social Security number and card.
After your appointment at the Social Security Office, the Social Security Administration will verify your immigration information and mail your number and card in the following days. It can take 2-4 weeks or more.
You can replace your card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in non-immigrant status that require card updates may not count toward these limits.
To request a replacement card:
Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
Present recently issued photo identification to show your identity (passport, Washington state identification card)
Show evidence of your current lawful nonimmigrant status (visa, I-20/ DS-2019, I-94)
Complete a new Social Security Verification form (if you are employed on campus)
Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.
If you have an off-campus authorization (CPT, or OPT), yes: you can start working without an SSN. Be sure your employer follows the correct instructions for allowing you to begin work without the SSN. The Social Security Administration’s publication, “Foreign Workers and Social Security Numbers,” has additional information.
Stevens has an internal policy that you must receive the physical Social Security Card before engaging in on-campus employment. Please visit the Student Employment Office upon receiving your Social Security Card to complete any tax documents.
Apply for the SSN as soon as possible after getting your job offer.