Apply For A Social Security Number
All participants must apply for and receive a Social Security Number. You need a Social Security Number in order to be paid and file your tax return.
Unless you already have a Social Security Number, you must apply for one. You must wait at least 48 hours after registering for SEVIS and the Social Security Administration recommends waiting at least 10 days after your arrival in the United States before applying.
How To Apply
Visit the nearest Social Security office and apply in person for your Social Security Number. You will need to bring the following:
- Passport & J-1 Visa
- I-94 card
- Dear Social Security Officer Letter
You can complete the application form in advance to save time. Visit www.ssa.gov and download form SS-5 Application for a Social Security Card.
After You Apply
The Social Security Officer should give you a receipt. This is an important document, and you should make sure you get it before leaving their office. You may need to provide it to your host organization to show that you are eligible to begin your internship.
You can also download the CIEE Legal Opinion Letter and provide this to your host organization. This letter states that you are eligible to earn a paycheck even if you do not have your Social Security Number yet. If your employer has any questions about your work eligibility, ask them to contact CIEE for assistance.
You should check on the status of your application within a week to 10 days after applying. This simple step guarantees that your application is being processed and there are no delays. When you check on the status of your application, be sure to bring your critical documents along with your application receipt. Your number may already be available. Your card will arrive in the mail at the address you provided on your application. A successful application may take between four and six weeks.
When Will My Social Security Card Arrive In The Mail?
If you follow the steps above, you can expect to receive your Social Security Number in four to six weeks. It’s very important that the address you use on the application is accurate. If the address on your application changes before you receive your Social Security card, simply visit any Social Security Administration office and update your mailing address.
What If I Already Have A Social Security Number?
If you already have a Social Security Number, you do not need to apply for another one.
If you do not have your physical Social Security card and you do not remember your Social Security Number, you can visit any Social Security Administration office to replace your card for free. To find an office near you, please visit: www.ssa.gov/locator.