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Your Social Security Card

Applying for Social Security

Applying for Social Security

To apply for a Social Security Number (SSN), you will need to begin the application online, and then visit a Social Security Administration Office in person to complete your application. Review the instructional video above and follow the steps below to submit your application.  
  1. We recommend waiting at least 5 days after your SEVIS record has been activated before applying for an SSN to allow your information time to make it into the Social Security database.
  2. Visit the Social Security Number and Card webpage and answer the questions.
    • Please refer to the following tips as you complete your application:
      • Use your host employer’s address as your mailing address, especially if you have not yet arranged permanent housing.
      • For the question regarding the documentation you will provide, you should select Foreign Passport, I-94 with Unexpired Foreign Passport, DS-2019 Certificate of Eligibility, and Other.
      • Be sure to print and save the online control number page once you complete the online application.
  3. After you submit your online request, you must visit your local SSA office with your documentation within 45 calendar days. Use the Social Security Office Locator to find the closest office. 
    • Call or check the office’s website in advance to see whether you will need an appointment. Most offices do not require that you make an appointment, but calling to schedule an appointment in advance may help you to avoid long wait times. Be sure to also visit this page to ensure that your office is not temporarily closed or providing service by advance appointment only. Otherwise, most Social Security offices are open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and tend to be busiest around lunch time. Try to avoid going during this time, if possible. People without an appointment should expect long lines, especially during the busiest times: Mondays, the morning after a Federal holiday, and the first week of the month.
  4. When applying for a Social Security Number, please bring the following items with you: 
  5. When you apply for your Social Security Number, you will receive a receipt letter. Make a copy of it for your personal records, and give the original receipt to your host employer. The receipt is proof that you have applied for a Social Security number and will allow you to begin to be paid by your host employer, even before you receive your number. 
After you apply, it may take up to 6 weeks for your Social Security Card to arrive in the mail. You are allowed to intern or train and be paid while you are waiting for your card. If your host employer has any questions or concerns about paying you before your number arrives, please refer them to our Host Employer Resources or to InterExchange at 1.800.621.1202. 
Sample Social Security Card
Sample Social Security Card