Applying for a Social Security Number

After registering with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), all participants must apply for and receive a Social Security number by visiting their local Social Security office. Your camp will help you get to the Social Security office and set up an appointment. After you apply, it will take between four to six weeks to receive your Social Security card. You will need the number printed on this card to get paid, open a bank account, and file your tax return.

More information and application instructions can be found below.

APPLYING FOR A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER

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If You Already Have a Social Security Number

If you already have a Social Security number, you do not need to apply for another one. However, if you do not have your Social Security card or do not remember your number, you can visit any Social Security office to replace your card for free.

To find a Social Security office near you, please visit www.ssa.gov/locator.

If You Don’t Have a Social Security Number

You will need to apply for one at your local Social Security office (talk to your camp director for help with transportation). The Social Security Administration recommends that you wait 10 days after your arrival in the U.S. AND be registered in SEVIS for at least two days before applying for your Social Security number. This will ensure that your Social Security number is issued as quickly as possible.

To find a Social Security office near you, please visit www.ssa.gov/locator.

WHAT TO BRING TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE

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When apply for your social Security number at your local Social Security office, you should bring the following with you:

  • Your passport, which includes your J-1 visa and your U.S. entry stamp (please note that this stamp replaces the paper I-94)
  • Your copy of the Dear Social Security Officer letter (this will be emailed to your or provided by CIEE at Meet & Greet)
  • SS-5 Application for a Social Security Card


Please note: When you apply for a Social Security number, remember to list your camp address so your card can be mailed to you. Also remember to keep the application receipt given to you by the Social Security office. This is an important document that shows your camp you applied for a Social Security number and are eligible to work.

AFTER YOU APPLY

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Check the status of your application in seven to ten days by visiting your local Social Security office or by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. This step ensures your Social Security application is being processed without delay.

Please note: Your Social Security number may already be available when you check the status of your application. If so, ask your local Social Security office or the Social Security Administration to provide you with the number. Your card will arrive in the mail at the address you provided on your application.

RECEIVING YOUR CARD

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You can expect to receive your Social Security number in four to six weeks. However, if your Social Security card does not arrive by the time you have finished your camp placement, you should visit your local Social Security office and update your mailing address to your permanent address in your home country. That way you can receive your card once you return home.

Please note: If you are not able to update your address at your local Social Security office, you can ask your camp to forward your Social Security card to your permanent address in your home country.