Social Security numbers are used to report your earnings to the U.S. government. Your Social Security number is unique to you and will never expire. Should you enter the U.S. on a future work or study program, your Social Security number would remain valid, so please keep your number and card in a safe place.
Protect your personal ID and confidential information. Your Social Security number is yours alone. Do not allow others to use your number. Record your number in a safe place in case your card is lost or stolen. Protect both your card and your number to prevent misuse.
If you are not receiving any payment from your host employer, you are not required to have a Social Security number. However, it is still recommended that you apply for a number, as you may need it for opening a bank account, renting an apartment, or applying for a U.S. driver’s license.
To avoid delays in obtaining a Social Security number, please remember to contact InterExchange Career Training USA to activate your SEVIS record; you will not be able to get a Social Security number until your SEVIS record is activated. We recommend waiting five to 10 days after SEVIS activation before applying for your Social Security Number, as it sometimes takes a few days for SEVIS information to be updated in the Social Security Administration’s database. To apply, visit a Social Security Administration Office near your host employer. Most Social Security offices are only open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and are busiest between the hours of 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Try to avoid going during this time, if possible.
When applying for a Social Security number, please bring the following items with you:
- Your passport, including your J-1 Visa
- Your DS-2019 Form
- Your I-94 Arrival/Departure printout or card
- Your ‘Dear Social Security Officer’ letter, included in your acceptance package from InterExchange
Read all instructions before you fill out the application. Here are some tips:
- Use your employer’s address as your mailing address, especially if you have not yet arranged permanent housing.
- For the question regarding Citizenship, check the box labeled “Legal Alien Allowed To Work.”
- You can leave the questions regarding your mother and father’s social security numbers blank.
The wait time to get your card will be four to six weeks, so be sure to keep your receipt letter, which is proof that your application has been given to Social Security. You are allowed to intern/train and be paid before your Social Security card arrives if you have already applied and have provided your receipt to your employer.
If you have any questions or lose your card, please call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number: 1.800.772.1213 or visit their website.
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