Do I Need SSN Before Applying for Job?

Social Security numbers are assigned to people who are authorized to work in USA.

SSN is used to report your wages to IRS and used as an identification number in colleges.

Few years back, all the students (F-1, M-1 and J-1) students were assigned an SSN. But, recently rules have changed and you can apply for SSN, only if you have a job. What if employer ask for SSN before applying for the job?

How to apply for SSN?

After reporting to school and assuming you have a job (Part time, RA, TA, CPT, etc) you are eligible to apply for SSN card.

  • Complete application for SSN (Form SS-5)
  • Required Documents
    • Immigration status (I-94, I-20 form)
    • Work Eligibility
    • Job offer letter
    • letter from employer (start date, number of hours, supervisor name, phone #)
    • Identification documents (passport)

Take the completed application to nearby SSN office with all original documents.

Do I need SSN before working?

SSN is not required to apply for the job or when you start your work. Usually, school will use temporary number till SSN is issued to you and use the letter from SSN office. You can find more information about SSN at www.socialsecurity.gov/employer/hiring.htm.

20 Comments

  1. Raja Tata on November 27, 2015 at 2:30 AM

    Hi,
    I want to know if one can apply for SSN in any city other than the Port of Entry. My wife got H1B with Port of Entry as Houston, can she fly to Portland directly from India (that’s where my sister lives) and apply for SSN?

    Thanks.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on November 30, 2015 at 1:58 PM

      You can apply for SSN at any SSA office in the USA.

  2. saira adnan choudhary on December 15, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Hi
    i am here on my H4 and our green card is in Process… i recently received my employment authorization card … so does that make my eligible for an SSN. i recent went to DMV to get my state ID Card ….. i showed them my passport and my employment authorization card. they were like we cant proceed unless you get your SSN.
    so am i eligible for SSN .. i was under impression that i can get an SSN once i get my green card.

    • saira adnan choudhar on December 15, 2010 at 2:54 PM

      and i dont have any job right now …. niether have i applied but will like to get my State ID …

  3. Varun Kumar on September 30, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    My question is that my friend is doing this visa violation by using his SSN….. he says that they won't come to know till he applies for green card or H1 visa. I am in doubt that is it true?

    • HSB on September 30, 2010 at 7:43 PM

      If he gets caught, he will be deported right away.

  4. shashank on September 30, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    3 times for an year .and its 12 times in a lifetime. And we are talking about duplicate copies of your SSN. One SSN for an identity.

  5. MONI on September 30, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    WHAT IS THE FULL FORM OF .RA ,TA AND CPT .

    • HSB on September 30, 2010 at 7:44 PM

      Research and Teaching Assistant; Curriculum Practical Training.

  6. xyz on September 30, 2010 at 3:17 AM

    Sir,
    I'm in H4 Visa and how to over come the SSN issues when attending interview? Please advice me on this . The reason is , i got through many interviews for contract position, but in the final state of paper work to get SOW the prime vendor is not ready to proceed with out SSN.

    • HSB on September 30, 2010 at 4:39 AM

      How did you plan to work with H4?

  7. Rajkamal on September 30, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    Hello Varun,
    As far as I know, once a SSN is given to an individual it is permanent and it WILL NOT BE CHANGED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. You should use the same SSN for every activity you do there. And if you happen to lose your SSN, you can get another one BUT SSN will be issued ONLY THREE TIMES IN A LIFETIME. If you happen to lose it more than 3 times,YOUR DOOMED. This is what I know. HSB and other users can comment on this and let me know if I am right. . . .
    Thanks
    Rajkamal

    • HSB on September 30, 2010 at 4:44 AM

      I never heard about 3 lifetime to get lost SSN Card limit.

      Only one SSN per person.

      • Rajkamal on September 30, 2010 at 4:57 AM

        Hey,
        I ran the wrong numbers. . Check out this link. . . SSN s can be replaced only three times a year and 10 times in one's lifetime. If you lose it for more than 10 times,then poooooooooh! http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10002.html#lost

  8. Varun Kumar on September 29, 2010 at 10:20 PM

    Dear HSB, I have a question and I really want you to answer it. My friend got SSN from a university that he was in. Then he changed the university and now in some other college (community college0. He is using his social to get jobs and he is working at a place (Subway restaurant) by using his social. He got his social when he was in the earlier university and he got on-campus job there. I cannot understand why he has taken such a big risk of using his SSN for off-campus job but what I really want to know that how can the US immigration can't come to know about this. He files his taxes too!!! I don't want something bad to happen with him but when I see him so over confident and working on his SSN granted by university, I really wonder about the system. I am sure one day he is gonna have some sort of trouble. Will he get into trouble?
    He says that SSN department and tax department don;t work together so they are not going to track him down.

    • Rajkamal on September 30, 2010 at 1:56 AM

      Hello Varun,
      As far as I know, once a SSN is given to an individual it is permanent and it WILL NOT BE CHANGED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. You should the same SSN for every activity you do there. And if you happen to lose your SSN, you can get another one BUT SSN will be issued ONLY THREE TIMES. If you happen to lose it more than 3 times,YOUR DOOMED. This is what I know. HSB and Other Uers can comment on this and let me know if I am right. . . .
      Thanks
      Rajkamal

      • Rajkamal on September 30, 2010 at 2:00 AM

        Hey,
        I missed this out. . . Even if your SSN is re-issued,the number on it will be the same,no changes will be made to the number. . . .
        Thanks
        Rajkamal

  9. Devesh on September 29, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    I was in US on L1 visa in 2007, I did get an SSN. If I go to USA on F1 visa now, will the same SSN work for me?

  10. Ankit on September 20, 2010 at 1:00 AM

    Hello HSB,

    Sir I want to know that if job ex helps for getting into a good university, I'm working right now and i wanna do MS. Shall I do MS now or coninue with the job for 2 to 3 years.

    Thanks & regards

    Ankit

    • HSB on September 30, 2010 at 7:45 PM

      Work experience doesn't help much with admission process.

Leave a Comment





This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

New Comments Policy
Please use the Happy Schools Forums to post your Questions. Use the Comments Section to add value or contriute to the Article, not for Q&A. Questions posted in the Comments section will be Deleted.