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Social Security Number (SSN)

A Social Security number (SSN) is a unique identification number assigned by the United States federal government to monitor and tax wages earned by employees in the U.S. It does not grant employment authorization.

The SSN is required for all individuals who are employed in the United States. It is not required to obtain a driver’s license, nor should it be required to open a bank account, rent a car, purchase a cell phone or rent an apartment.

Eligibility for the SSN

F-1 STUDENTS are eligible to obtain a SSN if they are in valid F-1 status and have been offered an on-campus job; or they have been authorized for off-campus employment (Curricular or Optional Practical Training).

F-2 DEPENDENTS are not eligible to obtain a SSN because they cannot be employed.

J-1 STUDENTS are eligible to obtain a SSN if they are in valid J-1 status.

J-1 VISITING SCHOLARS are eligible to obtain a SSN if they are in valid J-1 status.

J-2 DEPENDENTS are eligible to obtain a SSN if they have received employment authorization from USCIS.

Note: Students and scholars must be physically present in the U.S. for AT LEAST 10 CALENDAR DAYS BEFORE applying for the SSN. New students/scholars must also have completed Glavin Office check-in and have their SEVIS record activated.

Social Security Number (SSN) Application Process

Before applying for a SSN, new students/scholars must complete check-in with the Glavin Office and have their SEVIS records activated. Also, anyone who entered the U.S. through a land border must be present in the U.S. for at least 10 business days before applying.

1. Update your current address on the Babson portal (under Smart Tools, Immigration Information)

2. Obtain proof of SSN eligibility* (see list below)

3. Bring to the Social Security Office:

  • Completed and printed SSN application (Form SS-5): www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ss5.htm (for item #3 on the form, select legal alien allowed to work)
  • Passport
  • I-94 (arrival/departure record); printed from: www.cbp.gov/I94
  • Form I-20 (F-1) or Form DS-2019 (J-1)
  • Proof of SSN eligibility* (see list below)

* Proof of SSN Eligibility

F-1 Students with an On-Campus Employment

Complete the On-Campus Employment & SSN Request. Bring the form and your I-94 (arrival/departure record) to the Glavin Office. Forms will be processed during Walk-In Advising Hours or can be dropped off for 24 hours processing.

  • You cannot apply for a SSN more than 30 days before your on-campus employment start date.

F-1 Students with Curricular or Optional Practical Training (CPT or OPT)

Present proof of your employment authorization (CPT letter or EAD) and your current Form I-20.

  • Students with CPT cannot apply for a SSN more than 30 days before the CPT start date.
  • Students on OPT cannot apply for a SSN until the OPT start date indicated on the EAD card.

J-1 Students with On-Campus Employment

Complete the On-Campus Employment & SSN Request. Bring the form and your I-94 (arrival/departure record) to the Glavin Office. Forms will be processed during Walk-In Advising Hours or can be dropped off for 24 hours processing.

  • You cannot apply for the SSN more than 30 days before your on-campus employment start date.

J-1 Students with Academic Training

Present the Academic Training authorization letter issued by the Glavin Office with your current Form DS-2019.

  • You cannot apply for the SSN until the Academic Training start date indicated on your Form DS-2019.

J-1 Students without Employment

Complete the On-Campus Employment & SSN Request. Bring the form and your I-94 (arrival/departure record) to the Glavin Office. Forms will be processed during Walk-In Advising Hours or can be dropped off for 24 hours processing.

J-1 Visiting Scholars

A J-1 Social Security Letter will be issued to you upon check-in with the Glavin Office when you first arrive to the U.S. The letter verifies your valid immigration status and eligibility for the SSN.

Social Security Administration Offices Near Babson

  • 100 Concord Street, Suite 2A, Framingham, MA 01702 (Accessible via commuter rail), Phone: 508-620-7561. Visit www.ssa.gov or call office for hours.
  • 10 Causeway Street, Room 148, Boston, MA 02222 (Accessible via MBTA), Phone: 617-565-7000. Visit www.ssa.gov or call office for hours.
  • Additional nearby offices are located in Waltham and Cambridge. Visit www.ssa.gov or call 800-772-1213 for more information.

Receiving Your SSN

Upon submission of your SSN application, you will be issued a receipt. Keep this receipt for your records. In most cases, you will be able to begin employment by presenting this receipt to your employer; you do not have to wait to receive the SSN card to begin working.

In most cases, your immigration status will be verified and your SSN card mailed to the address you indicated on the SSN application within 7-10 business days.

Additional Resources