How to apply for a Social Security Number

Applications for an SSN must be submitted in person to the Social Security Office. If you need an interpreter, you may arrange for one by either calling the Social Security Office’s toll free number: 1-800-772-1213 between 7 am to 7 pm eastern time or by going to the following website:

Find a convenient Social Security Office

You may submit your application at any Social Security Office that is convenient to you.

Collect the Following Documents

There is no fee for applying for a SSN. However, you must present original documents to establish your identity, immigration status, eligibility to work in the U.S. and your address. Notarized photocopies are not accepted and the originals will be returned to you once they are reviewed by the interviewer.

You should bring the following documents with you:

  • A birth certificate or passport to prove your age and identity
  • I-94
  • F-1 status authorized for CPT must present page 3 of the I-20 where CPT is authorized
  • F-1 students authorized for OPT must present and unexpired EAD
  • F-1 students who will engage in on-campus employment must present two letters:
    1. Signed letter from KCKCC confirming your status and the location of your employment; and
    2. Letter from the hiring department on campus confirming the job offer and the nature of the on-campus employment.

You must wait at least 10 days after entry into the U.S. and 48 hours after “activation” by the International Office to apply for the Social Security card.

About the SS-5 Form

Take some time to read and follow the SS-5 Form instructions carefully. It is easy to understand. You can review the form on line at

  • Complete and sign the application using BLUE or BLACK ink.
  • Box one: insert your name, middle initial (if you have one) and last name. This name needs to match the name on your passport and your immigration documents. This will also be the name that appears on the card once it is issued. Differences in names on the application and/or your official documents can delay your process.
  • Box two: insert the mailing address where you want to receive the card.

How long will it take to get a Social Security number?

Since you are not a non-citizen, the SSA must verify the documents with the Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) before issuing the card. This can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 45 days.

Some extra information about the SSN:

  • If you already have a SSN, you do not need to apply for a new one. The number is unique and is assigned to you for the rest of your life.
  • If you lose your card, you can visit any Social Security Office to apply for a new card.
  • Social Security Numbers from a country other than the U.S. have no value in the U.S.
  • An identification number that has been assigned to you by KCKCC does not function as a SSN.
  • If your passport is less than one year old, we recommended carrying another form of identification (such as an I.D. card from your home country) that is older than one year to establish your identity. The SSA will not issue a card if your passport is about to expire.
  • A SSN does not provide any type of health insurance or health care benefits.
  • We recommended not visiting the office on Mondays or Tuesdays, the busiest days.

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