Social Security Numbers (SSNs)

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)

Social Security Numbers (SSNs)

A Social Security number (SSN) is used to report your wages to the U.S. government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. Social Security numbers can be assigned to foreign workers who are authorized to work in the United States.


Eligibility for a Social Security number and card varies, depending on your situation. If you need a Social Security number but are not eligible for one (based on the eligibility requirements listed below), you may apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

Visa Type

Eligibility Requirements

F-1 students

Eligible only if you have evidence of authorization for the following situations:

  • On-campus employment
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) with CPT endorsement on page 2 of your I-20 form
  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card
  • NOTE: F-1 students who were issued EAD cards for other reasons (for example, employment authorization due to severe economic hardship) are also eligible to apply for a Social Security number

F-2 dependents

Not eligible to receive a Social Security number.

J-1 students and scholars

Automatically eligible to apply for a Social Security number.

J-2 dependents

Eligible to apply for a Social Security number only if you are a J-2 dependent who has applied for work authorization and received your EAD.

How to Apply for an SSN

Students with On-campus Employment:

  1. Obtain job offer from a YU department.
  2. Print out the on-campus social security verification form.
  3. Student completes the top portion of the form.
  4. Immediate job supervisor completes the middle section in full.
  5. Once you have your supervisor’s signature, bring the following to the OISS:
    • On-campus social security verification form signed by your supervisor.
    • Valid YU I-20
    • Form I-94 Lawful Record of Admission to U.S.
    • A Designated School Official (DSO) will sign the verification form. 
  6.  Complete the Form SS-5, available on line at
  7. Go to Social Security in person to apply for a card. You Bring:
    • Completed SS-5
    • On-campus social security verification form
    • Passport
    • I-20
    • Form I-94 Lawful Record of Admission to U.S.
    • Apply within 14 of the signature, but no earlier than 30 days before your job start date. 
  8. It may take 10 to 14 days for card to arrive in the mail.
  9. Student takes original card to Human Resources to be paid by YU.
  10. The Social Security Card is not work authorization. Students cannot work off-campus even if they obtain a social security number. There will be a notation on the card that says: NOT AUTHORIZED FOR WORK WITHOUT DHS PERMISSION.

Students with Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  1. Obtain CPT authorization from the OISS.
  2. Take new SEVIS Form I-20, passport, and I-94 to Social Security Administration to apply for a Social Security Card
  3. It may take 10 to 14 days to get the card in the mail
  4. Take card to internship employer
  5. The Social Security Card is not work authorization. Students cannot work without permission from the Department of Homeland Security. Working illegally is a serious and deportable offense.

Students with Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  1. Starting in fall 2017, students have the option to apply for a social security number on Form I-765 as part of the OPT application.
  2. Students can still apply for a SSN in person once OPT is authorized.  Bring your OPT I-20, work authorization documents, passport, and I-94 to a SSA office to apply for a number.

Social Security Administration Card Center locations:

Bronx: 820 Concourse Village West, Bronx Card Center 2nd Floor, Bronx, NY 10451

Brooklyn: 154 Pierrepont St, 6th Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201

Queens: 155-10 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica, NY 11432

Manhattan: 123 William Street, 3rd floor, NY, NY 10038

Additional Social Security Administration card processing centers, hours, and contact information:

Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs)

If you have U.S. source income, but are not eligible for a social security number (based on the table above), you will need an ITIN in order to fill out Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms and YU Payroll forms. The most common example is a student who receives a non-service stipend that includes money for living expenses. ("Non-service stipend" means that no work is required.)

If you apply for an ITIN now and later become eligible for an SSN, this will not cause any problems. You can apply for and use your SSN at that time.

J-1 students and scholars are eligible for Social Security numbers and should not apply for ITINs.

The IRS has special rules for F and J students to apply for an ITIN through the international office. Please contact the OISS for assistance.

To apply for an ITIN, begin by completing IRS Form W-7 and follow the instructions.

Unlike an SSN application which is made in person and for which an application receipt is issued on the spot, a W-7 ITIN application is mailed to IRS.