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.

A SSN is not required to obtain a driver’s license, nor is it 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 - whether or not they have authorized employment.
  • 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.

It is recommended that individuals are physically present in the U.S. for AT LEAST 3-5 CALENDAR DAYS BEFORE applying for a SSN. New students/scholars must also have completed Glavin Office check-in and have their SEVIS record activated.

Known temporary SSA changes & delays due to COVID-19:
(as of 9/10/2021; subject to change without notice)

Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are currently closed for in-person services, which is how they usually accept applications for new SSNs. Individuals typically need to apply for an SSN at the office which has jurisdiction based upon the student's address where they will receive their SSN card (as indicated on the SS-5 application form) - however, students with on-campus employment may be accepted at the Framingham Office.

Unfortunately, due to these processing changes, obtaining a SSN has been taking much longer than usual (more than several weeks in some cases).  As much as possible, account for extra processing time and make sure to keep your supervisor/employer updated on your SS progress as needed. 

Students applying to the Framingham SSA location should follow these steps:  

  • Mail documents to Social Security Administration, One Clarks Hill, Suite 101, Framingham, MA 01702 - do not mail original documents!
  • Wait for a call or email to schedule an appointment for you to go to the SS office in person, meeting their COVID procedures. *Make sure your voice mail is set up in case you miss their call! The average wait is about one week.
  • You will bring your original documents for the in-person appointment.
  • After your in-person appointment, your SS card will be processed and mailed to you within a few weeks.

Students needing to apply at another SSA office should locate the local SSA office and call the office during their business hours to find out how to apply for an SSN.

Social Security Number (SSN) Denial Letter Process - adjusted due to COVID 

For individuals looking to get a Driver's License or State ID who are not eligible for an SSN, a Denial Letter must be obtained. While walk-in services are suspended, students should follow these steps when applying to the Framingham SSA location:  

  • Mail the following documents to Social Security Administration, One Clarks Hill, Suite 101, Framingham, MA 01702 - do not mail original documents!
  • A Denial Letter will be mailed to you - no in-person appointment is needed.

Students needing to apply at another SSA office should locate their local SSA office and try to confirm that office's procedures.

Getting a Denial Letter will not affect your eligibility in the future, it just means that at this time, you are not eligible for the SSN.

Social Security Number (SSN) Application Process

See above for adjusted procedures due to COVID-19.

* Proof of SSN Eligibility List:

Present your completed and signed On-Campus Employment SSN Request Form. The form and processing information can be found on the On-Campus Employment page

  • You cannot apply for a SSN more than 30 days before your on-campus employment start date.
  • You may not begin your on-campus employment until you have received your SS card and completed all HR paperwork per Babson policies.

Present your Form I-20 with CPT work authorization.

Students with CPT cannot apply for a SSN more than 30 days before the CPT start date.

Present your Employment Authorization Document (EAD) that you receive from USCIS.

  • Individuals on OPT cannot apply for a SSN until the OPT start date indicated on the EAD card.

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

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

Present your completed and signed On-Campus Employment SSN Request Form and submit it to ISSS for processing. The form and information can be found on the On-Campus Employment page.

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.

Receiving Your SSN

Upon submission of your SSN application, you will be issued a receipt. Keep this receipt for your records. In some cases, you do not have to wait to receive the SSN card to begin working. For on-campus employment at Babson, you must have your SS card and complete all HR paperwork before you are able to start. 

It will typically take up to 10 business days for your immigration record to be verified and your SSN card mailed to the address you indicated on the SSN application. For some individuals, this verification process may take longer than 10 days to be issued.

Social Security Administration Office Near Campus

  • One Clarks Hills, Suite 101, Framingham, MA 01702 (Accessible via commuter rail), Phone: 844-587-1390. 
  • Additional nearby offices are located in Boston, Waltham, Cambridge and throughout the U.S. Locate your local SS office or call 800-772-1213 for more information.

Protect Yourself From Social Security Scams

Once you have a SSN, it is yours for life. Keep both your card and the number in a very safe place. Do not carry your SS card in your wallet and be cautious about who you give the number to. Fraud and scam attempts can be very common. Social Security will never make threats or demand payment. Find out what to look out for or how to report a scam attempt on the SSA website.

Additional Resources