Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York

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Applying for a Social Security Card

Applying for a Social Security Number


A Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9 digit employee indentification number issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and non-immigrants who qualify on the basis of lawful status and legal employment.


A Social Security number is used by employers and employees for the purpose of reporting on individual employee's earnings for tax purposes.  F-1 students are exempt from Social Security (FICA) withholdings from income earned through authorized employment for the first five years in F-1 status.  When you complete your W-4 form to start employment, you indicate in large letters across the top of the form that you are exempt from FICA.  International students must pay all other local, state and federal taxes unless there is an applicable treaty signed between the United States and your country of citizenship. Tax Treaty Bulletins are available in the library and the Office of Internationa Students during tax season.

Social Security numbers are often used to check your credit history for a variety of other purposes unrelated to its official purpose such as opening bank accounts, leasing an apartment or obtaining cell phone services.  While having a Social Security number is convenient for these reasons it has become harder to obtain one due to restrictions on its issuance.  A Social Security number is necessary only for reporting employment and tax information.  If you have difficulty opening a bank account or other services because you do not have a Social Security number, please contact The Office of International Students for assistance. 


The only way for a student in F-1 or J-1 status to be eligible to apply for a Social Security number is to be employed or have an offer of employment.  International students in F-1 or J-1 status are eligible to work on campus incident to status.  A Social Security number does not grant you permission to work, citizenship or permanent residency.  But you must have a Social Security number if you are working in the U.S.  Once you obtain a Social Security number it is your number forever and may be used on subsequent visits to the U.S.

If you have an on campus employment offer, come to The Office of International Students for instructions on how to apply for a Social Security number.


If you qualify for a Social Security Number you will be instructed by the Office of International Students on what to do. You can visit the Social Security Administration's Website and print out their application before you goto the Social Security Administration Office.  Click on:

It takes about 2-4 weeks to get your card in your mail after you have submitted application. But due to concerns regarding national security and identity theft, the Social Security Administration has become more strict in its application policies. Applications from all nonimmigrants, including F-1 and J-1 students, must now be verified by the Department of Homeland Security. These measures are expected to increase average processing times. 

Once you have submitted your application, you can inquire about its status by calling the Social Security Info line at 1-800-772-1213. You can ask to find out your SS number over the phone if a number is already assigned to you. Contact our office if you have any questions.

Below are the addresses of some social security offices near Fordham:
 Midtown Manhattan
237 W. 48th Street, 5th Floor
(Btw. 8th Avenue and Broadway)
New York, NY 10036
By Train: 1/C/E to 50th Street Station
Telephone: 1.800.772.1213
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm
2720 Jerome Ave
(Jerome Ave at 195th Street)
Bronx, NY 10458
By Train: 4 train to Kingsbridge Rd
Telephone: 1.800.772.1213
Hours: Monday - Friday, 9am - 4pm

Vew the map
(15 min walking distance from R-Hill Campus)

Brooklyn Social Security Administration 

625 Fulton Street
(10 Metrotech Center), 6th Floor

Train: M/N/Q/R lines to DeKalb Avenue
2/3/4/5 lines to Nevins Street
(if your residence is in Brooklyn, you must apply at this location)

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