Social Security Number

To be employed in the United States, you must have a U.S. Social Security number. This number is issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration. You must file an application with the local Social Security Office to receive this number.

Instructions for Completing the Social Security Application Form

Follow the instructions on the application form but note the following exceptions:

If you are a student, in part 16, "Mailing Address," write c/o Office of International Students and Scholars, UNH, Conant Hall 315, 10 Library Way, Durham, NH 03824-3597, if it doesn't already indicate this. Please do not use your own local mailing address.

If you are a scholar, faculty or staff member, you may use your local mailing address, your department address, or the OISS address.

In part 3, "Citizenship," check the box marked "Legal Alien Allowed to Work". (Note: neither eligibility for a social security number nor possession of a social security card gives you actual authorization to work. Students should always check with the OISS before accepting any type of employment. International scholars, faculty and staff should also consult with the OISS if they are considering accepting any additional employment. It is a serious violation of your visa status to work in the U.S. without the proper employment authorization and could be cause for revocation of your visa.

It will take approximately 2-4 weeks for your Social Security Card to arrive. If you have given the OISS as your local address, we will notify you when the card arrives.

How to Apply for a Social Security Number

Go in person to the nearest Social Security Office.

Social Security Administration
80 Daniel Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Phone: (603) 433-0716
General Information (800) 772-1213

You must present the following documents:

  • application for a social security card
  • your valid passport
  • your Form I-94 (Record of Arrival and Departure)
  • your original Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • your assistantship letter, if applicable (students) or your offer of employment and INS Form I-797 (scholars, faculty and staff)
  • certification letter from the OISS verifying your eligibility for a Social Security Number
  • valid EAD (J-2 dependents only)

Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number

Note for Canadians: A Canadian number is not interchangeable with a U.S. number. You should not list your Canadian number where a U.S. social security number is requested. Believe it or not, it does happen, and individuals can get their paychecks delayed, or have other difficulties - especially when their Canadian number matches another individual's U.S. number.