A Social Security card is issued by the Social Security Administration with a unique Social Security Number (SSN) along with your legal name (name on your passport). A Social Security Number is required for everyone who works in the U.S., including individuals with F-1, J-1, and H-1 visas. This number will be yours for life. If you have previously had a SSN, you can apply for a duplicate card. You will need the number for many purposes in the U.S. including employment and paying taxes. A Social Security card is not a work permit.
Working While Waiting for a SSN
If you have applied for the SSN you may work while the Social Security number application is being processed. There is no provision in the law that requires employers to have their employees' SSNs before hiring them. There is no provision that prohibits an employee from beginning work if he or she has not yet obtained an SSN. However, you must have employment authorization from your program sponsor or the USCIS before you begin working.
Social Security Number Safety
A SSN is only meant to be used for tax and government purposes; however, it is often used by financial institutions, businesses, and others as a unique identification number. Because the SSN is a unique ID, it is often the target of "identity theft." You should be very careful about where and to whom you give your SSN. Never carry your Social Security card or number with you. Keep it at home in a secure place.
Click here to request for SSN supporting letter from PDSO/DSO.
- Only give your SSN to someone who has a specific and legitimate need for it.
- Be very careful with any forms, applications, or other materials that may have your SSN on it.
- Never give your SSN to someone who phones you.
- Never reply to emails or websites that request a SSN.