COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

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. The Social Security Administration (SSA) processes applications for Social Security Numbers (SSN) from our international students and scholars who are eligible to apply.

The SSN is required for all individuals who are employed in the United States.

The SSN is valid for life, so you only need to apply once. Even if change employers or leave the U.S., this number is still your number.  If you lose your SSN Card and need to apply for a replacement card, you must prove that you are employed in the United States at the time of your application.

Eligibility for the Social Security Number (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.

  • 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 J-2 work authorization from USCIS.

  • H-1B TEMPORARY WORKERS are eligible to obtain a SSN if they are in valid H-1B status.

Social Security Number (SSN) Applicaton Process

Before applying for a SSN, new students/scholars must complete check-in with ISSS and have their SEVIS records activated. Also, anyone who entered the U.S. through a land border must be present in the U.S. for at least 10 business days before applying. 

You cannot apply for a SSN more than 30 days before your employment start date, unless otherwise noted.

1. Obtain proof of SSN eligibility* (see list below)

* Proof of SSN Eligibility

F-1 and J-1 Students with an On-Campus Employment

Obtain a letter of employment from the Student Employment Office (SEO). You will bring this letter to ISSS and request a support letter from our office. ISSS will then write a letter to confirm your status and eligibility for obtaining a SSN. Please allow at least 3-5 business days for processing.

F-1 Students with Curricular or Optional Practical Training (CPT or OPT)

Present proof of your employment authorization (CPT letter or EAD) and your current Form I-20.

J-1 Students with Academic Training

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

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

J-1 Visiting Scholars

Present your contract letter as proof of your employment authorization and your current Form DS-2019.

J-2 Dependents with Work Authorization

Present your USCIS employment authorization document (EAD), your current Form DS-2019, and your J-1's current Form DS-2019.

H-1B Temporary Workers

Present your contract letter as proof of your employment authorization and your Form I-797 Approval Notice.

2. Bring to the Social Security Office:

  • Completed and printed SSN application (Form SS-5): (for item #3 on the form, select legal alien allowed to work)
  • Valid passport with visa sticker (or stamp for Canadian citizens)
  • Form I-20 (F-1), Form DS-2019 (J-1), or Form I-797 Approval Notice (H-1B)
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record: this system has become automated for visitors entering the U.S. via airplane. To obtain your record, please visit 
  • Proof of SSN employment eligibility* (see list in item #1)

Social Security Administration (SSA) Offices

Please verify office hours by using the SSA Office Locator and entering the postal code of the location or by calling the office directly.

**Please note that offices are closed on Saturday and Sunday, and some offices may close early on Wednesday afternoons.**

When you arrive at the SSA office, service is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.  There will be an electronic kiosk where you will enter your reason for visiting and be issued a ticket.  Please wait patiently in the lounge until your ticket number is called. Once you reach the counter, you will present your documents for verification, which should not take long (5-10 minutes).


  • 128 Lakeside Ave., Suite 107, Burlington, VT 05401
    Phone: 1-877-840-5776
  • 88 Merchants Row, 330 Asa Bloomer State Office Bldg., Rutland, VT 05701
    Phone: 1-866-690-1944


  • 928 East Blanco Rd, Suite 155, Salinas, CA 93901
    Phone: 1-877-600-2857

NOTE: The building is located on East Blanco Road between American AG Credit and Fresh Express Distribution Center.  The Office is located on the first floor of the Rancho Llano Business Center Building. The office has a private entrance on the west side of the building with ample parking. ***Visitors should not enter through the main building lobby***

Receiving Your SSN

You will receive notification of your SSN in the mail.  The process usually takes 7-10 business days.  You are not required to have an SSN before you start working.  However, your employer will need this information as soon as it is received.

Student workers should take their Social Security Card to the SEO so that a copy can be made for their files and the SSN can be input in your record.

For more information, please visit

You may call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security Administration website with any questions.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

Service Building - Second Floor
84 South Service Road
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
P: 802 443-5858
F: 802 443-2063