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Applying for a Social Security Card (SSN)

The purpose of a Social Security Number (SSN) is to help the government track of an individual's earnings in the U.S. for tax purposes. Once you are offered a job, you will need to apply for a SSN from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Eligibility for an SSN is based on the offer of paid employment, and regulations require you to provide valid employment offer letter and authorization from Visa & Immigration Services or USCIS to apply for a SSN. You must apply for an SSN in person at a local Social Security office. Provide originals and copies of the following documents to verify your age, identity, immigration status, and employment eligibility:

Documents Required for SSN Application On-Campus
Curricular Practical
Training (CPT)
Optional Practical
Training (OPT/STEM)
Passport X X X
Form I-94  X X X
Form I-20 X X X
Offer of Employment Letter X X X
SSN Authorization Letter from VIS X    
Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card)     X
Completed SSN Application is required  X X X

SSN Authorization for On-Campus Employment:

  1. Submit the SSN Authorization Request form in accessVIS, uploading a copy of your employment offer letter which outlines the terms of your employment.
  2. Upon submitting, the employer you indicate on the request form will receive an email requesting confirmation of your employment.  
  3. If approved, you will receive an email informing you that your SSN Authorization Letter is available for pick up at Visa & Immigration Services - please allow 5-7 business days for processing. 
  4. Before visiting the SSA office, it is required to begin the application process on the SSA website (click here).  Starting the process online will save you valuable time when visiting the local SSA office, which will only be to verify documentation since the application was already submitted online. 
  5. After you submit your online application, you must visit your local SSA office with your documentation within 45 calendar days.  The closest Social Security Office is located at 75 Oak Street, Patchogue, NY 11772.  The phone number is (866) 771-1991


Directions to the Social Security Office from Stony Brook University:

By Car: take Nicolls Road (Rt. 97) South to the Long Island Expressway (L.I.E.) (Rt. 495). Take the L.I.E. East (toward Riverhead) one exit to Exit 63 South (North Ocean Avenue). Take North Ocean Avenue (Rt. 83) South to Patchogue. Continue on North Ocean Avenue past Sunrise Highway (Rt. 27) for one mile to Oak Street (on your left). Cedar Grove Street and Thorne Street are just before Oak Street. Turn left onto Oak Street and continue for one block. Arrive at 75 Oak Street on your Right. Main Street (Montauk Highway / Rt. 85) is one block South of Oak Street, if you come to Main Street, you have gone too far.

By Bus: take the Suffolk County S-60 bus to Port Jefferson Village by the ferry dock. Ask for a transfer. Change to the S-61 bus to Patchogue. The S-61 bus will go down Route 112 to Oak Street in Patchogue. The Social Security Office is located one block away from the bus stop, on the same side (75 Oak Street). For more information on using Suffolk County Transit, call (631) 852-5200, or visit:

Please Note:

  • The SSA Office cannot process your SSN application if your on-campus or CPT work begins more than 30 days from your application date.
  • The SSA Office is extremely busy, so it is highly recommended that you arrive a little before the office opens. 
  • You cannot request Social Security Number over the phone, and it can take several weeks to receive the card in the mail. 
  • Social Security fraud is a serious offense. If you are offered on-campus employment and receive a SSN without intending to honor the employment arrangement this may be considered fraud. You must contact your on-campus employer immediately if you are unable to work.

Social Security Numbers are NOT Required For:

  • Banking: F and J-visa holders do not need a Social Security number to open a bank account or for most other financial transactions. The bank may ask F and J-visa holders to fill out Internal Revenue Service form W-8BEN to prove that they are exempt from the requirement of providing a Social Security number.
  • Driver's License: Although some states require that you have a Social Security number in order to obtain a driver's license, the State of New York does not have such a requirement. Click here for more information on driving in New York state.


Additional Resources: