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About Your Social Security Number

About Your Social Security Number

About Your Social Security Number

If this is your first time working in the U.S , you will need to apply for a Social Security card. If you already have a Social Security number, make sure to bring your card with you, you do not need to apply again. 

Important: After you apply, it will take 4 to 8 weeks for your Social Security Card to arrive. You are allowed to work while you are waiting for your card. If your employer has questions about your eligibility to work because your card hasn’t arrived, ask them to call InterExchange at 1.800.597.1722.

For those who have never had a Social Security number, you will apply for one in person at a local Social Security office. Use the Social Security Office Locator, to find the closest office. Your camp should help you with transportation to and from the office. To apply for your card, you must bring the originals AND two photocopies each of the following documents:

  • Photo page of passport
  • Visa page of passport with admission stamp
  • DS-2019 Form (make a photocopy of both front and back)
  • I-94 Record
  • Form SS-5 (application form)

Important: When you apply for your Social Security Number (SSN) you will get a receipt letter. Make a copy of it for your personal records. Give the original receipt letter to your employer when you return from the office. The receipt is proof that you have applied for a Social Security number.

Remember! Read all instructions BEFORE you fill out the application. Here are some tips:

  • Use your host employer’s address as your mailing address, including the name of your host employer’s business.
  • For question #5 (CITIZENSHIP), check the box labeled “Legal Alien Allowed To Work.”
  • For question #9A (MOTHER’S NAME AT HER BIRTH), write your mother’s family name when she was born, or her name before she was married.
  • You can leave #6, #7, #9B and #10B blank.

Sample Social Security Application form

social security card sample image

Important: You will not be issued a Social Security number if you are not active in SEVIS. Make sure to wait at least 3-4 business days after confirming your arrival with InterExchange before applying for a Social Security number. Also, you will need to apply more than 2 weeks before your program ends. If you have a short program, or an issue with this, please contact us as soon as possible to ensure you are on a functional schedule.

SSA = Social Security Administration

Register housing address in SEVIS
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Wait 3-4 business days
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Use the Social Security Office Locator at https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp to find your closest office. You’ll need to bring the originals AND two photocopies of the following documents:

  • Photo page of passport
  • Visa page of passport with print out of I-94 record
  • Dear Social Security Officer Letter
  • Printed DS-2019 Forms that are signed using digital software (make a photocopy of both front and back)
    • On July 20, 2023 the Social Security Administration published this directive to all offices to accept printed Forms DS-2019 that are signed using digital software or printed and signed in ink.
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SSA accepts application?
YES and NO flowchart
Wait 4-6 weeks to get your card in the mailbox
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Received Social Security card?
YES and NO flowchart
Bring card to employer to copy and keep the original

Call SSA to check status and inform InterExchange.
SSA:1.800.772.1213
InterExchange:
1.800.597.1722

After you apply for your Social Security number, we recommend checking on your application status after seven to ten days. If you return to the office at which you applied, take all of your original documents as well as the receipt of application. Checking on your application status can minimize any delays or problems with your application. Your Social Security number may even be available to you prior to your card being mailed out. If you have any questions, please call the Social Security Administration’s toll-free number: 1.800.772.1213.

It is your responsibility to notify your employer as soon as you receive your Social Security number. Your employer may ask to make a copy of your Social Security card (they will need the number for tax purposes), but you should retain the original card and keep it in a safe place. Do not laminate your card.

Your Social Security number is a lifelong number that 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 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. You can also call InterExchange for guidance at 1.800.597.1722.

If there is no Social Security office close to your job site, you may consider applying for your number upon arrival in the U.S., in one of the major cities (New York, Chicago, Boston, etc.). If this is the case, you should prepare all documents prior to your arrival. Since people normally apply for Social Security cards near their place of employment, an officer may tell you to wait and apply once you have reached your job site. You may explain that there is no Social Security office near your job site. Therefore, you should apply in your arrival city. If the officer seems unsure about doing this, politely ask for a supervisor or the manager.

To locate the nearest office, check the Social Security Administration’s website.

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Get started today

It’s free to start an application and nothing is due until you accept a job offer.