Applying for a Social Security Number

Before applying for a Social Security Number, you must wait a MINIMUM of ten business days from the start date on your visa document (DS-2019, I-20, etc.), OR ten days from when you first enter the U.S. -- whichever date is later. 

In order to obtain a Social Security number/card, you must be gainfully employed in the United States. The Social Security Administration considers an individual to be employed if he or she receives a wage or stipend from a U.S. source.

Please visit Social Security Administration's webpage to find the most convenient location and the appropriate forms required for applying for a U.S. Social Security Number.

The following documents will be needed in order to obtain a Social Security number:

  • Valid passport, I-94 card (learn more about transition to electronic I-94 card), and visa stamp
  • Form DS-2019 or Form I-20
  • Lower portion of I-797 approval notice for those in H-1B status
  • For F-1 Students only, an original letter verifying that the wage, assistantship, or stipend you are receiving is being paid by a U.S. source. The OIS can issue this letter for any F-1 student who requires an SSN. You will need to stop by our office with your I-20 and letter verifying on-campus employment before we can issue a letter for SSA.
  • Letter of employment or sponsorship from UMB department for J-1 scholars
  • Completed application for a Social Security Card found on Social Security Administration's webpage

Local Social Security Offices:

  1. Social Security Administration
    Suite 200
    1010 Park Ave
    Baltimore, MD 21201
  2. Social Security Administration
    Suite 415 Rotunda Mall
    711 W. 40TH Street
    Baltimore, MD 21211

For additional questions please review the Social Security Administration Fact Sheet.

If you are NOT eligible for a Social Security Number, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Details concerning how to apply for the ITIN number can be found by clicking HERE.

Visa Status

SSN Eligibility

B1/B2 or WTNumber is NOT issued.
F-1Number issued ONLY for individuals with an EAD card and/or a letter of employment.
Must indicate the wage or stipend is from a U.S. source.
F-2Number is NOT issued.
J-1 StudentNumber is issued ONLY for individuals with a letter of employment indicating the wage or
stipend is from a U.S. source.
J-1 ScholarNumber is issued for individuals with a U.S. source of income.
J-2Number is issued ONLY with an EAD card.
H-1BNumber is issued.
H-4Number is NOT issued.
O-1Number is issued.
TNNumber is issued.

This represents the current interpretation and practice of the Social Security Administration and is subject to change without notice. Implementation of these guidelines may vary from one SSA office to another.