A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique, 9-digit number used for taxpayer identification, income reporting, and record-keeping purposes. Once issued, the number is valid for life. Keep it safe and provide only as needed to U.S. government agencies or credible financial institutions. The SSN is required in order to be paid for any work done in the U.S. whether on-campus employment or off-campus internship (practical training).
International students holding a non-immigrant F-1 or J-1 student visa who have secured a paid position in the U.S. are eligible for a SSN.
Who can apply?
- F-1 and J-1 students who are working on-campus at Pace.
- F-1 students authorized for Curricular Practical Training, Optional Practical Training, or economic hardship
- J-1 students authorized for Academic Training.
When to apply?
- The application for a SSN must be made before your on-campus job begins.
- You may not apply earlier than 30 days before your work begin date if you are doing on-campus work or CPT.
- Once you’ve submitted your application you should receive your SSN within 2-4 weeks.
- OPT applicants have the option to apply for a SSN at the same time they apply for EAD.
How to apply?
- Start the process to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) card online.
- After entering the required information, you must present your original documents (passport, F-1 visa, I-20, I-94, job letter, letter from ISS) to your local Social Security office within 45 days. When using the online application, you may request an appointment to present your documents.
- Students living or receiving mail in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens must present their documents to their servicing Social Security Card Center. When searching for your local Social Security office, select I Need Card Services to display your servicing Card Center's information.
- The SSA office will process the documentation and mail a receipt to you. Within ten days (if there are delays may take up to 3 weeks) the SSN card should follow.
When on OPT
OPT applicants have the option to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) at the same time they apply for their Employment Authorization Document (EAD). The Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization includes certain items which will enable an OPT applicant to apply for an SSN.
Please note, if you obtained an SSN prior to applying for OPT, you do NOT need to reapply and should simply skip these items on the Form I-765.
Lost Your Social Security Number?
It is important to protect your SSN and be aware of identity theft (PDF). If you lose your SSN card you will need to replace your card. You can only apply for a replacement card if you are authorized to work off-campus or have an on-campus job.
Creating an Online Account
Students with a Social Security Number (SSN) can sign up for a personal my Social Security account to monitor earnings. For more information, please refer to the How to Create an Online Account fact sheet (PDF).