Social Security Information

See also: On-Campus Employment Information and Offer Letter Templates

What is Your Social Security Number (SSN)?

A Social Security Number (SSN) is required for everyone who works in the U.S., even non-immigrants.  However, a Social Security card is not a work permit. A SSN is issued once per lifetime.  If you have previously had a SSN, but do not have the card or do not remember the number, you can apply for a duplicate card if you meet the eligibility requirements below.

Visa Type

Eligibility Requirements

F-1 students Eligible only if you have evidence of authorization for the following:

  • On-campus employment (including Graduate Assistantship)
  • Curricular Practical Training (CPT) with CPT endorsement on page 3 of your I-20 form
  • Valid Employment Authorization Card (EAD), with current start date, for Optional Practical Training (OPT), International Organization Training, or Economic Hardship Employment
F-2 dependents Not eligible to receive a Social Security number.
J-1 students Eligible only if you have evidence of authorization for on-campus or off-campus employment, including Academic Training.
J-1 scholars Eligible only if your J-1 category is one of the following: Professor, Research Scholar, Short-Term Scholar, and Specialist; you must receive funds from UConn.
J-2 dependents Eligible only if you are a J-2 dependent who has a valid EAD.

Those individuals who are not eligible to apply for a SSN will need to apply for Individual Taxpayer ID Numbers (ITINs), issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). ITINs can only be requested if a person is either filing a tax form or to claim a tax treaty benefit if a person’s country has a tax treaty with the U.S. For more information about ITIN, visit http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Individual-Taxpayer-Identification-Number-%28ITIN%29 .

Banking

F and J visa holders do not need a SSN to open a non-interest bearing bank account.  The bank may ask F and J visa holders to fill out an Internal Revenue Service form W-8BEN to prove that they are exempt from the requirement of providing a SSN. Visit http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/iw8ben.pdf for more information.

Driver’s License

Although the driver’s license application requires you to provide a SSN, it is not mandatory if you are not eligible to obtain one.  You will need to obtain a rejection letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) stating that you are ineligible for a SSN. Show this letter to obtain the driver’s license, etc. For more information about rules for foreign nationals to obtain a CT driver’s license, visit http://www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp/view.asp?a=805&q=244774 .

Cell phone or any other businesses

Most businesses do not need a SSN from you unless it is for credit purposes (loans, credit cards, etc.). If a business requests a SSN solely for ID purposes, you can request that the business create an ID for you.  The SSA rejection letter will help you to prove that you are not eligible for a SSN when you are asked for one by these businesses.

You may work at UConn while the SSN application is being processed.  If your employer is one other than UConn, you may want to confirm with your employer their policy on working while awaiting the SSN.  There is no provision that prohibits an employee from beginning work if he or she has not yet obtained an SSN.  However, you must have employment authorization from your program sponsor or the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before you begin working.

Your SSN is a unique identifier and should be kept safe and provided only as needed to U.S. governmental agencies or credible financial institutions. Keep your card in a safe place and guard against “Identify Theft”.  Visit http://www.consumer.gov/section/scams-and-identity-theft for more information on identify theft.

You should be very careful about where and to whom you give your SSN:

  • Never carry your Social Security card or number with you. Keep it at home in a secure place. You may find it helpful to memorize your SSN.
  • Only give your SSN to someone who has a specific and legitimate need for it.
  • Be very careful with any forms, applications or other materials that may have your SSN on it.
  • Never give your SSN to someone who phones you. You should initiate the call or meet in person.
  • Never reply to email or web sites that request a SSN.
  1. Collect required documentation (see table below “Required Documents for the SS Application”).
  2. Complete a Social Security application form SS-5 available from the Social Security website
  3. Submit your application in person at a Social Security Administration (SSA) office along with other required documents.  You must present them the original forms and complete photocopies. You may choose to apply at any of the SSA offices in CT listed below.
  4. Request a written verification receipt of your application from the SSA office.
  5. Wait for your SS card to arrive in the mail. Due to increased security procedures processing times may range from 3-6 weeks.
  6. Present your SS card to employer for review.
  7. Keep original SS card for your records.

Required Documents

F-1 Students

J-1 Students

J-1 Scholars

J-2 with valid EAD

Passport

X

X

X

X

I-94 (front & back)

X

X

X

X

I-20

X

DS-2019

X

X

X

EAD (if applicable)

X

X

Work authorization from sponsor**

X

Valid I-797/approval notice (if applicable)

 

On-campus employer’s SS letter with ISSS International Advisor Endorsement *** (if applicable)

X

 

F-1/J-1 International Student Attestation to SSN Letter Request***

X

X

Off-campus employment offer letter (if applicable)

X

X

Position offer letter or employment verification letter from your UConn hiring department

 

 X

**       To be requested to International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) or your J-1 sponsor:
If your J-1 program sponsor is not UConn (check section 2 of the DS-2019 form) you will need to contact your sponsoring agency for Work Authorization. The Work Authorization letter should verify your full-time enrollment and your eligibility to accept on-campus employment.

***      To be requested to International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS): On-Campus Employment Verification Letter (ISSS 105)
Your on-campus employer must use this template. Submit to ISSS the following items in order to obtain the International Advisor/DSO endorsement:

  1. Completed “On-Campus Employment Verification Letter” by your on-campus employer (sample above preferred)
  2. Completed “F-1/J-1 International Student Attestation to SSN Letter Request
  3. The full-time enrollment certification for your entire time at UConn issued by the Registrar’s Office

 

If you have any questions you may contact one of the following Social Security Administration offices that serves your area:

*Social Security Administration                           Social Security Administration
1320 Main Street                                                      960 Main Street
Willimantic, CT 06226                                            Hartford, CT 06103
Tel.: 877-405-0488                                                  Tel: 877-619-2851

Social Security Administration                              Social Security Administration
147 Litchfield Street                                                  95 Scovill Street, Suite 100B
Torrington, CT 06790                                              Waterbury, CT 06706
Tel.: 860-489-1633                                                   Tel: 203-756-7476

Social Security Administration                               Social Security Administration
2 Landmark Square, Suite 105                                2 Shaws Cove, Room 203
Stamford, CT 06901                                                  New London, CT 06320
Tel: 203-359-0030                                                    Tel: 860-443-8455

SSN Rules & Regulations

      • Social Security numbers are used to report an authorized individual’s wage to the government and to determine a person’s eligibility for Social Security benefits. However, Social Security numbers will NOT lead an individual to immigration status or automatically grant off-campus employment authorization. If it is identified that you requested a DSO/ARO Social Security letter based on any fraudulent intent, such as intent to obtain an SSN without intent to hold employment, you understand that you could be subject to University student conduct policies and your action will be reported to Community Standards for review.  This may impact your F-1/J-1 status to continue your study/research at UConn.
      • The Social Security Administration (SSA) office must verify a foreign national’s immigration status with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) before issuing a SSN.  We recommend that non-U.S. citizens wait ten days following their entry to the U.S. before going to the SSA Office to apply for the SSN. When you apply, please ensure that the SSA office gives you a receipt to verify your application status.
      • SSA guidelines require the F-1 or J-1 employment authorization to be valid for at least 14 days into the future to issue a SS number/card.
      • F and J students: you may not work more than 20 hours per week during enrolled terms, including summer term if you are completing your degree in summer.  Please make certain that your letter does not indicate more than 20 hours per week on your letter.
      • New F-1/J-1 students must physically check in with the International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) upon your arrival at UConn and submit the completed “International Student/Scholar Check-In Form (IS 901)” before applying for a SSN.  You must wait until the 11th day of your first semester to request a SS application letter from an International Advisor at ISSS to submit with your SS application to an SSA office.
      •  New J-1 visiting scholars must wait at least 10 business days after checking in with International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) and submitting the completed “International Student/Scholar Check-In Form (IS 901)” before applying for a SSN.  You may not work in a position other than what is listed in your invitation letter from UConn.
      •  All F-1/J-1 students must be enrolled on a full-time basis to be eligible for a SSN.
      • On-Campus employment (for F-1 & J-1 students)– Returning International students who apply for an SSN on the basis of on-campus employment may submit an SS application to an SSA office up to 30 days prior to the position start date on the employer’s letter.
      • Curricular Practical Training (for F-1 students)– Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization is reflected on the employment page of the SEVIS form I-20.  F-1 students who apply for an SS number on the basis of CPT must present to the SSA office the I-20 form, properly endorsed by the DSO for CPT. These students may submit an SS application to an SSA office up to 30 days prior to the CPT start date on the I-20.
      • Optional Practical Training (OPT) or off-campus employment (for F-1 students)– Optional Practical Training (OPT) and off-campus employment for economic hardship require F-1 students to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from USCIS.  F-1 students who apply for an SSN on the basis of OPT or off-campus employment must present the EAD to SSA.  These students may submit an SS application to an SSA office only after the employment start date listed on the EAD.
      •  Academic Training (for J-1 students) – For J students, please show your J recommendation letter for Academic Training as well as job offer materials to the SSA office.
      • J-2 dependents with a valid EADmay submit an SS application to an SSA office only if the EAD start date is current.

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