How to Apply for a Social Security Number


Most exchange visitors are eligible for a Social Security Number if their program allows for some type of work authorization (including practical training and internships).

You need to be in the US to apply for this number, and have followed your sponsors instructions on how to validate your visa.

How to save time applying for your Social Security Number

Depending on the Social Security Office you go to and the specific program you are on, the documentation and steps you need to take may differ:

  • DO NOT apply before validating with your sponsor. They will tell you how long you will need to wait before starting your application. It is typically 2-10 days from when you validate your program.
  • Locate a Social Security Administration office near you using their website.
  • Make sure to bring at least the following documents with you:
    • DS-2019 or I-20 Form, or similar document confirming your program status
    • Passport
    • I-94 Number
      • This can be found by completing the online form here.
A note on safety:
  • PLEASE KEEP your Social Security Number private. This number is unique to you and if you give it to someone or it is stolen, you could put yourself at risk. Only use it for official purposes and where required. ¬†For more details, review the Social Security Administrations pamphlet here.