How to Pay Someone Without a Social Security Number

If you only have experience hiring domestically, the chances are you or your HR team will have some questions about hiring someone on an exchange visitor visa. A common pain point is not knowing what to do if your new hire doesn’t have a Social Security Number yet. Here are some pointers to make the on boarding a smooth as possible:

Step One: Make sure their visa is valid

  • Before you put anyone on a schedule or payroll, make sure you have checked with their program sponsor. If you already did, you’re one step ahead already. You and your new hire will need to make sure to follow any instructions needed to confirm their valid stay in the US. Additionally, if they don’t have a valid visa yet, they will not be able to apply for a Social Security Number either.
    • For sponsor information on a DS-2019 form look for Box 7 DS-2019 sample
    • On an I-20, look for Box 2 for their school information School DSO Information

Step Two: Social Security Number Application

  • Check and see if your hire has a Social Security Number already. If they already have one, make sure they can find their number and also let them know they do not need to apply for another.
  • Because government records take time to update, make sure your hire doesn’t try to apply for their Social Security Number too soon. You can follow our guidelines here or those provided by their sponsor. Once they have completed their application, you can add them to payroll while the application is pending.
    • Note: If you apply for an SSN too soon, it will usually cause more problems and delay than if you wait. So make sure to act accordingly.
  • To do this, the Social Security Administration recommends you obtain the following information:
    • Full Name
    • Address
    • Date of Birth
    • Place of Birth
    • Father’s Full name
    • Mother’s Full maiden name
    • Gender
    • Date of application for their SSN

Step Three: Wrap Up

  • Don’t forget to make sure you are classifying your applicant correctly to avoid future hassles.
  • Tip: Make sure you or HR are completing all of the documents exactly as it appears on their employment forms.
  • For additional information, or if your W-2’s are already due, view the full details on the Social Security Administrations page.