The SSN is a 9-digit personal identification number issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and it is NOT a work authorization. It is used by employees and employers for tax reporting purposes. Once you receive an SSN, the number is yours for life. Make sure you keep your SSN card in a safe place and do not lose your card. Replacing your card is tricky.
Note that WCGS does not issue SSN. You must apply in-person at one of the Social Security Offices with the documents listed below. The earliest you can apply for an SSN is 30 days before your employment start date. According to the SSA, your SS card should be mailed to you within 10 business days of applying.
If you have been offered an on-campus employment, please submit your request for an SSN support letter, including a copy of employment offer letter on letterhead including:
Please allow up to 5 business days to process your letter and we will email you when the letter is ready to be picked up.
We suggest that you wait two weeks after arriving in the United States to apply for an SSN so that your SEVIS record and "I-94 Arrival/Departure Record" information are updated in all goverment systems. Use the Social Security Office Locator to find the nearest Social Security Office.
Required Documents to Apply for an SSN:
F-1 doctoral student without a Social Security Number will automatically receive a copy of the SSN request letter after completing their check-in process with the DSO, and therefore will not need to submit a request for the letter.
It is advised that you file a police report if your SS card is stolen or lost. In order to apply for a replacement card, you must have current employment authorization. Your SS number will not change when your card is replaced. Thus, you may continue to use the number if you know it. To learn how to apply for a replacement card, visit the Social Security Administration website.
All international students in a lawful status may apply for a NY State ID card or driver license through the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The verification of eligibility is very strict and you must provide various original documents to prove your identity. You can obtain more information, including the DMV's local office address and download the application form by visiting the New York State DMV's official website.
International students can also obtain the IDNYC, a government-issued identification card available to anyone living in NYC regardless of immigration status. The IDNYC card is free and it offers discount on movie tickets, sporting events, NYC attractions, as well as free memberships to 40 museums and cultural institutions. For more information about the benefits of the IDNYC program, visit the IDNYC Benefits Guide.