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Social Security Number (SSN)
The purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to help the government track an individual's earnings in the U.S. for tax purposes. Once you are offered a job, you will need to apply for a SSN from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Eligibility for a SSN is based on the offer of paid employment, and regulations require you to provide valid employment offer letter and authorization from VIS or USCIS to apply for a SSN. You must apply for a SSN in person at a Social Security Administration office.
Any international student accepting employment during their program - whether it is on-campus, off-campus, OPT, STEM, or CPT related - must obtain a SSN.You do NOT need an SSN to:
- Open a bank account. F and J-visa holders do not need a Social Security Number to open a bank account or for most other financial transactions. The bank may ask F and J-visa holders to fill out Internal Revenue Service form W-8BEN to prove that they are exempt from the requirement of providing a Social Security number.
- Obtain a NYS Driver's License.Although some states require that you have a Social Security number in order to obtain a driver's license, the State of New York does not have such a requirement. Click here for more information on driving in New York state.
- Rent an apartment
- Open a utility acount (e.g. electricity or gas)
- Set up a cell phone
- Authorization to Request an SSN
Authorization to Request an SSN
In order to receive a Social Security Number (SSN), you must first receive an Authorization Letter from VIS. This requires you to have an offer letter from your employer.
The letter must meet certain standards or it will be rejected. If your employer needs assistance with writing this letter, please ask them to reach out to us for assistance.Step 1: Submit your request in accessVIS
Submit the "SSN Authorization Request"in accessVIS, uploading a copy of your employment offer letter which outlines the terms of your employment.Step 2: Wait for your employer to confirm your employment
Upon submitting your request through accessVIS, the employer you indicate on the form will receive an email requesting confirmation of your employment. This is in addition to the employment offer letter they already provided.Step 3: Pick up your SSN Authorization Letter from VIS
Please allow VIS 5-7 days to process your request.
If approved, you will receive an email informing you that your SSN Authorization Letter is available for pick up.
- Applying for an SSN
Applying for a SSN
Once you have recieved your SSN Authorization Letter from VIS, you must then apply to get your actual SSN. VIS does not issue SSNs.
Before visiting the SSA office, it is required to begin the application process on the SSA website (click here).
Be sure you have the following documents on hand:
Documents Required for SSN Application On-Campus
Passport X X X Form I-94 X X X Form I-20 X X X Offer of Employment Letter X X X SSN Authorization Letter from VIS X Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card) X Completed SSN Application is required X X X
After you submit your online application, you must visit a local SSA office with your documentation within 45 calendar days.
The closest Social Security Office is located at 75 Oak Street, Patchogue, NY 11772. The phone number is (866) 771-1991.
- Directions to the SSA Office
Directions to the Patchogue SSA OfficeDirections by car
Directions by public bus
- Take Nicolls Road (Rt. 97) South to the Long Island Expressway (L.I.E.) (Rt. 495). Take the L.I.E. East (toward Riverhead) one exit to Exit 63 South (North Ocean Avenue). Take North Ocean Avenue (Rt. 83) South to Patchogue. Continue on North Ocean Avenue past Sunrise Highway (Rt. 27) for one mile to Oak Street (on your left).
- Turn left onto Oak Street and continue for one block.
- Arrive at 75 Oak Street on your Right. Main Street (Montauk Highway / Rt. 85) is one block South of Oak Street, if you come to Main Street, you have gone too far.
- Take the Suffolk County S-60 bus to Port Jefferson Village.
- Once you arrive at the Port Jefferson Ferry bus stop, ask for a transfer. Change to the S-61 bus to Patchogue. The S-61 bus will go down Route 112 to Oak Street in Patchogue.
- The Social Security Office is located one block away from the bus stop, on the same side (75 Oak Street).
For more information on using Suffolk County Transit, call (631) 852-5200, or visit: www.sct-bus.org.
- Important Reminders
- The SSA Office cannot process your SSN application if your on-campus or CPT work begins more than 30 days from your application date.
- After you submit your online application, you must visit your local SSA office with your documentation within 45 calendar days.
- You cannot request Social Security Number over the phone, and it can take several weeks to receive the card in the mail.
- Social Security fraud is a serious offense. If you are offered on-campus employment and receive a SSN without intending to honor the employment arrangement this may be considered fraud. You must contact your on-campus employer immediately if you are unable to work.