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Social Security Number

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.

Generally speaking, social security numbers are available to F-1s and J-1 students who are employed and J-1 scholars.

The SSN is required for all individuals who are employed in the United States. In order to issue a Social Security number, the Social Security Administration requires evidence that you are eligible to work in the U.S., that you are a full-time student, and that you have received a formal offer of on-campus employment, or have been authorized for off-campus employment through Curricular Practical Training, Optional Practical Training, or Academic Training.

A SSN is not required to obtain a driver’s license, nor should it be required to open a bank account, rent a car, purchase a cell phone, or rent an apartment. Instead, ask the company to create a business number for you. If you are required to have an SSN, please ask to speak to a manager or contact ISSS as we can write a letter explaining the government’s regulations.

Who is eligible?

  • F-1 students who have on-campus employment, or are receiving fellowships which requires employment, or working off-campus on OPT or CPT
  • J-1 students, who have a letter of permission to work from their sponsor (typically this is Western New England University).
  • All J-1 Scholars
  • J-2 spouses with work permission (EAD card)

If you are not eligible for a social security number, you may apply for an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

SSN Application Process

When Can You Apply?

Students and scholars must be physically present in the U.S. before applying for an SSN. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is required to verify legal entry into the U.S. before issuing an SSN.  Students and scholars must wait at least 10 days after entering or re-entering the US to apply in order for your admission record to be verified. 

Students and scholars must also have reported to ISSS so we can register you in SEVIS.

You can apply no more than 30 days in advance of the employment start date listed.

Social Security Number (SSN) Application Steps for F-1 and J-1 status:

  1. Collect the required forms and documentation (see below in Required Documents)
  2. Complete a Social Security Application Form SS-5
  3. Submit the application and the required documents in person at the Social Security Administration's office at 70 Bond Street, Springfield, MA 01104. Request a verification receipt of your application. If you are working on-campus, you must have this receipt BEFORE you can begin employment.
  4. Wait approximately ten business days for your Social Security card to arrive in the mail.
  5. Present the Social Security card to employer for review and complete I-9 paperwork.
  6. Store the original Social Security card in a safe place. Do not carry it with you and safeguard your number as it is often used for identity theft.

Students working on-campus at WNE may begin working once they have applied for their SSN and completed their I-9 paperwork with HR. Once you receive your SSN card in the mail, return to HR to complete your I-9 paperwork.

Required Documents

Required Documents

F-1 Students

F-1 (OPT) Students

J-1 Students

J-1 (AT) Students

J-1 Scholars

J-2 Dependents

Passport

x

x

x

x

x

x

I-94 record or passport admission stamp

x

x

x

x

x

x

I-20

x

x

 

 

 

 

DS-2019

 

 

x

x

x

x

Job Offer Letter

x

 

 

x

 

 

Enrollment 
Confirmation from ISSS

x

x

x

x

 

 

Employment Authorization

 

 

x

 

 

 

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

 

x

 

 

 

x

I-9 Paperwork

All employees of Western New England University are required to complete their I-9 paperwork with Human Resources in Rivers Memorial Hall within 3 days of beginning their employment. Below is what most international students and scholars will need to complete their paperwork:

A full list of acceptable documents for I-9 paperwork can be found here. For questions about the I-9 process, please contact Human Resources at (413)782-1549 or in Rivers Memorial Hall.