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U.S. Visas Information
Orientation Program
How to Get a Driver’s License
Social Security Number
Scholarships for International Students
Education in the U.S.
Banking in the U.S.
International Students Insurance
Tax Return and Filing
 

Social Security Number

A Social Security number (SS#) is a taxpayer identification number issued by the Social Security Administration. It does not represent permission to work, nor is it proof of US citizenship or permanent residence. Once you obtain a SS#, it is your number forever and may be used on subsequent visits to the US. The Social Security Administration does not consider grant SSN# requests for drivers licenses, loans, rental agreements, etc. ONLY STUDENTS WHO ARE EMPLOYED OR HAVE A JOB OFFER MAY APPLY FOR A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.

If you are paid in the US, you must have a SS# to file a US income tax return. F-1 AND J-1 STUDENTS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS ARE REQUIRED BY FEDERAL REGULATIONS TO FILE AT LEAST ONE TAX FORM, EVEN IF YOU HAVE NOT WORKED IN THE US.

If you would like to obtain a SS#, you must apply in person at a local office of the Social Security Administration. You cannot apply until you have been in the US for at least 10 days and have registered for classes. When you go, you must bring with you:

  • your passport, with F-1 or J-1 visa
  • I-94 Card
  • I-20 form or DS-2019 form
  • a letter of support from the International Students Office (please apply with the ISO Front Desk)
  • a recently issued pay slip or pay stub from your employer. If you don’ t have a pay slip or stub, you must provide a letter* from the employer on the employer’ s letterhead that provides employment verification, namely:
    • Identity of student employee
    • Nature of job the student is, or will be, engaged in
    • Anticipated or actual employment start date
    • Number of hours the student is expected to work
    • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • Employer contact information, including the telephone number and the name of the F-1 student’ s immediate supervisor
    • Original signature and signatory’s title
    • Date

* Here is a suggested letter format for the Employer.

You will receive your Social Security number on a card in the mail approximately three weeks after you apply.

Social Security Administration Office:
240 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144      

 
1-800-772-1213
http://www.socialsecurity.gov

 
Boston, MA Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 4 pm


Directions: take the Red Line to Davis Square, and follow signs to the Holland St. exit. Upon emerging from the T, turn right and walk up Holland St. past the Somerville theatre. Holland St. turns into Elm St.; keeping walking straight through Davis Square. The Social Security Administration Office will be on your right, next to Dunkin' Donuts.

Specific information for F-1 foreign students who will be working in the United States is at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10181.html

Information about J-1 exchange visitors who will be working in the United States is at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10107.html

 


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