Applying for an SSN

Applying for a Social Security Number

A social security number (SSN) is a nine digit unique identification number assigned by the U.S. Social Security Administration to monitor and tax wages earned by employees in the U.S. It does not grant employment authorization, but it is required for all individuals employed in the U.S. A social security number is not needed to get a driver’s license, buy a cell phone, open a bank account or to get health insurance. Please note that guildelines have changed due to COVID-19, please review the Applying for a Social Security Number instructions below for updated guidance. Please contact the Slater International Center if you have any questions: slatercenter@wellesley.edu

Eligibility

F-1 Students are eligible to obtain a social security number if:

  • They are in valid F-1 status and have been offered an on-campus job
  • They are in valid F-1 status and have been authorized for off-campus employment, either Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT).

J-1 Students are eligible to obtain a social security number if:

  • They are in valid J-1 status

Any student or scholar who is eligible for a social security number must be physically present in the U.S. for at least 10 business days before applying for a Social Security Number (SSN). New students must have completed the immigration check-in process at the Slater International Center and be registered in SEVIS. Students should talk with Slater before applying for a social security number to ensure their record is “Active” in SEVIS. Once a record is activated in SEVIS, students should wait at least two business days before applying for a SSN to ensure the SEVIS database information is correct.

 

Application Process

F-1 Students with an on-campus job offer:

1. Complete the “On-Campus Employment Form”

You can find this form on our website. This form verifies your job offer and your valid immigration status. Section I of this form must be completed by you. Section II of this Form must be completed by your prospective supervisor. An electronic signature is acceptable. Upload the on-campus employment form to our document upload portal. We will review, sign the form, and return back to you.

3. Send your Application to the Social Security Office

Important instructions once the On-campus employment form is completed: Please note that these instructions are subject to change, due to the Social Security Administration (SSA) recent changes in COVID-19 protocol and procedure with SSA in-person appointments. 

We recommend the SSA Office in Framingham, as it is the nearest location to campus. 

  1. Students are required to make copies of the following documents: On-campus employment form, Social Security Number application, copy of most recent I-94, copy of visa, copy of passport, copy of I-20. Do not mail the original documents, as students will need these original documents with them for the in-person appointment. You can make copies in Clapp Library. If you need assistance, please contact a librarian to help you.
  2. Students must mail these documents to the SSA Office. You can purchase stamps and envelopes from the Mail Services window in Lulu Wang Campus Center. The Framingham SSA Office mailing address is:
    Social Security Office
    1st Left Off Suite #101
    1 Clarks Hill
    Framingham, MA 01702
  3. After the documents are received and approved, the SSA Office will contact the student directly to set up an in-person appointment.
  4. Students must notify their Residential Community Director of the off-campus appointment for the purpose of applying for a Social Security Number and student employment authorization. 
  5. Students must then go to the SSA Office with the original documents and apply for the SSN number. 
  6. Although the SSA office is currently closed for walk-in appointments, there is an official that will retrieve the documents. The student will need to wait outside and then the documents will be returned to them.

Note: Students who have on-campus employment cannot apply for a social security number more than 30 days in advance of their employment start date. For more information go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnvisa or call 1-800-772-1213

F-1 Students with Curricular Practical Training (CPT):

2. Complete a Cover Letter to the SSA Office

The Cover Letter should include the following information:

  • Your legal name (as it appears on your passport)
  • Phone number
  • Your address (either on-campus or off-campus)
  • Your Wellesley email address
  • A description stating applying for SSN for the purpose of CPT

You can see a sample letter here.

3. Send your Application to the Social Security Office

Important instructions once the On-campus employment form is completed: Please note that these instructions are subject to change, due to the Social Security Administration (SSA) recent changes in COVID-19 protocol and procedure with SSA in-person appointments. 

We recommend the SSA Office in Framingham, as it is the nearest location to campus. 

  1. Students are required to make copies of the following documents:CPT Employer Letter, Social Security Number application, Cover Letter, copy of most recent I-94, copy of visa, copy of passport, copy of I-20. Do not mail the original documents, as students will need these original documents with them for the in-person appointment. You can make copies in Clapp Library. If you need assistance, please contact a librarian to help you.
  2. Students must mail these documents to the SSA Office. You can purchase stamps and envelopes from the Mail Services window in Lulu Campus Wang Center. The Framingham SSA Office mailing address is:
    Social Security Office
    1st Left Off Suite #101
    1 Clarks Hill
    Framingham, MA 01702
  3. After the documents are received and approved, the SSA Office will contact the student directly to set up an in-person appointment.
  4. Students must notify their Residential Community Director of the off-campus appointment for the purpose of applying for a Social Security Number and student employment authorization. 
  5. Students must then go to the SSA Office with the original documents and apply for the SSN number. 
  6. Although the SSA office is currently closed for walk-in appointments, there is an official that will retrieve the documents. The student will need to wait outside and then the documents will be returned to them.

Note: Students who are on CPT cannot apply for a Social Security number more than 30 days in advance of the employment start date.

F-1 Students Optional Practical Training (OPT):

1. Complete the Form I-765

You can apply for a Social Security Number on Form I-765 when you apply for OPT.

2. Receive your Social Security Card

You should receive your card 10-14 business days after receiving your EAD. If you do not receive a Social Security card, you must go to a Social Security Office in person to apply.

J-1 Students with an on-campus job offer:

1. Complete an “On-Campus Employment Form”

You can find this form on our website. This form verifies your job offer and your valid immigration status. Section I of this form must be completed by you. Section II of this Form must be completed by your prospective supervisor. An electronic signature is acceptable. Upload the on-campus employment form to our document upload portal. We will review, sign the form, and return back to you.

Please note that your employment start date must be at least 5 business days into the future to allow adequate time for processing.

3. Send your Application to the Social Security Office

Important instructions once the On-campus employment form is completed: Please note that these instructions are subject to change, due to the Social Security Administration (SSA) recent changes in COVID-19 protocol and procedure with SSA in-person appointments. 

We recommend the SSA Office in Framingham, as it is the nearest location to campus. 

  1. Scholars are required to make copies of the following documents: On-campus employment form, Social Security Number application, copy of most recent I-94, copy of visa, copy of passport, copy of DS-2019. Do not mail the original documents, as students will need these original documents with them for the in-person appointment. You can make copies in Clapp Library. If you need assistance, please contact a librarian to help you.
  2. Scholars must mail these documents to the SSA Office. You can purchase stamps and envelopes from the Mail Services window in Lulu Wang Campus Center. The Framingham SSA Office mailing address is:
    Social Security Office
    1st Left Off Suite #101
    1 Clarks Hill
    Framingham, MA 01702
  3. After the documents are received and approved, the SSA Office will contact the student directly to set up an in-person appointment.
  4. If the scholar resides on-campus, they must notify their Residential Community Director of the off-campus appointment and for the purpose of applying for a Social Security Number & employment authorization. 
  5. Scholars must then go to the SSA Office with the original documents and apply for the SSN number. 
  6. Although the SSA office is currently closed for walk-in appointments, there is an official that will retrieve the documents. The scholar will need to wait outside and then the documents will be returned to them.

Note: Students who have on-campus employment cannot apply for a social security number more than 30 days in advance of their employment start date. For more information go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnvisa or call 1-800-772-1213

J-1 Students with Academic Training (AT):

2. Send your Application to the Social Security Office

Important instructions once the On-campus employment form is completed: Please note that these instructions are subject to change, due to the Social Security Administration (SSA) recent changes in COVID-19 protocol and procedure with SSA in-person appointments. 

We recommend the SSA Office in Framingham, as it is the nearest location to campus. 

  1. Scholars are required to make copies of the following documents: Academic Training authorization letter, Social Security Number application, copy of most recent I-94, copy of visa, copy of passport, copy of DS-2019. Do not mail the original documents, as students will need these original documents with them for the in-person appointment. You can make copies in Clapp Library. If you need assistance, please contact a librarian to help you.
  2. Scholars must mail these documents to the SSA Office. You can purchase stamps and envelopes from the Mail Services window in Lulu Wang Campus Center. The Framingham SSA Office mailing address is:
    Social Security Office
    1st Left Off Suite #101
    1 Clarks Hill
    Framingham, MA 01702
  3. After the documents are received and approved, the SSA Office will contact the student directly to set up an in-person appointment.
  4. If the scholar resides on-campus, they must notify their Residential Community Director of the off-campus appointment and for the purpose of applying for a Social Security Number & employment authorization. 
  5. Scholars must then go to the SSA Office with the original documents and apply for the SSN number. 
  6. Although the SSA office is currently closed for walk-in appointments, there is an official that will retrieve the documents. The scholar will need to wait outside and then the documents will be returned to them.

Note: Students who have on-campus employment cannot apply for a social security number more than 30 days in advance of their employment start date. For more information go to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnvisa or call 1-800-772-1213

Social Security Office Location

Framingham Social Security Office

1st Left Off Suite #101,
1 Clarks Hill
Framingham, MA 01702

Phone: 844-587-1390

Directions:
Driving from Wellesley: Take Route 135 West through downtown Natick. Turn right onto Bishop Street, and then turn right onto Clarks Hill. You will see the Social Security Office on your right.
Commuter Rail: Take the Commuter Rail from the Wellesley Square Station to the Framingham Station. When you go out of the Framingham station, walk 0.7 miles on Waverly St., (approximately 14 minutes) turn left onto Bishop Street then turn right onto Clarks Hill.

Receiving your Social Security Card

One you have successfully applied for your SSN, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may need some time to verify your current immigration status before they can issue you a social security card. In most cases, a card should be mailed to the address that you listed on your application form within 10-14 business days. For general information applying for a social security number please visit http://www.ssa.gov/ or call 800-772-1213.

Tips to Secure Your Social Security Number

It is important not to share your Social Security Number with anyone else as this can lead to Identity Theft. Someone may use your SSN to perform illegal transactions or activities that will be attributed to you without your knowledge. Below are some tips that will help you to secure your Social Security Number:

  • Memorize your SSN. The best place to keep your SSN is in your mind.
  • Do not carry around your Social Security card in your wallet. Instead, keep it in a safe, secure and secret place and keep it forever. You are issued one SSN for life.
  • Do not give out your SSN to anybody, including your family members or friends, unless it is absolutely necessary. If you are required to do so, don't hesitate to ask the reason they need your SSN.
  • Beware with on-line transactions. Normally you are not required to give out your SSN. If you are told to do so, be sure that the site is trusted and secured. In some cases, you may have to give the last four digits of your SSN.
  • As a customer, when you are talking with customer service agents requiring information or filing a complaint, avoid telling them your SSN.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Do I need an SSN?

If you will be employed on or off-campus, receiving a fellowship or stipend through Payroll, you will need to obtain a Social Security number.

Do I need an SSN to open a bank account, get utility services or a cell phone?

No. Although an SSN may be requested by banks, utility companies, phone companies, etc. A SSN is only required for employment. An SSN is not required to obtain a driver’s license, or file federal tax Form 8843.

Do I need an SSN before I start working?

It depends on your employer. With some employers, you may work while your SSN application is being processed. However, without an SSN, a paycheck cannot be issued. Do not forget to ask for a receipt from the SSA in order to prove to your employer that you have applied for your SSN. You must have at least applied for an SSN before you begin working any job.

When can I apply for an SSN?

F-1and J-1 students and scholars with a job offer can apply for an SSN no earlier than 10 business days after entery to the United States. An SSN cannot be issued for on-campus employment or for authorized CPT if the start date for the employment is more than 30 days into the future. Individuals applying for an SSN based on OPT approval may not apply until after the start date listed on the Employment Authorization Card (EAC).

How long does it take to get an SSN?

The SSA must verify your documents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before assigning you an SSN. After receiving verification from DHS, SSA will mail your Social Security card. You should receive your card within 10-14 days. If you do not receive the card within 30 days, return to the social security office to inquire about the status of your application.

What happens if my SSN card is lost or stolen?

You can replace your card for free if it is lost or stolen. To get a replacement card, you must take the same original documentation that you used when you first applied for an SSN to the local Social Security office, including proof of on-campus job or off-campus employment authorization (CPT, OPT). On the SSN application, you should indicate that you are applying for a replacement. Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.