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Eligibility for a Social Security Number

International students, scholars, and employees are able to obtain a US Social Security Number or replacement SSN card according to their immigration status.

If you are eligible for the SSN and have the necessary documents, please see our SSN application process page.

SSN Eligibility 


F-1 and J-1 students are eligible once they secure an on-campus job or obtain authorization for off-campus employment.

To apply for the SSN, students must be able to document eligibility. Please contact ISO for further details.

Scholars and Employees

J-1 scholars (in a non-student category) and employees (H-1B, TN, O-1, etc.) are automatically eligible to apply for the SSN. This is because of the employment-based nature of their immigration status.

No additional documents from ISO are required to apply.


Dependents are usually eligible for an SSN only when they require one for authorized employment purposes. Therefore, most dependent spouses are not eligible for an SSN (including F-2, H-4, O-3, and TD) since they do not have any work permissions in the United States.

Spouses in J-2 status are only eligible to apply for an SSN after receiving an Employment Authorization Document for work permission from United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Dependent children are not eligible for the SSN, unless they are born in the United States as citizens.

Dependent spouses may apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service, if needed.

SSN Ineligibility

If you do not meet eligibility requirements for an SSN, the Social Security Administration cannot assign a new number to you and cannot replace a lost or damaged card, even if you already have an SSN.

If you need to document your ineligibility or would like to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), see our answers to frequently asked questions.