Social Security Numbers

If you're receiving any compensation for your services from an employer in the US, including Emory, apply for an SSN. Learn more below.

If you're receiving funding from Emory University without providing services, apply for an ITIN. This includes students receiving non-service stipends as graduate students, students who will be receiving non-service scholarships, etc.  

What is a Social Security Number?

Social security numbers (SSN) are assigned to people who are authorized to work (provide services for various forms of compensation) in the United States. An SSN is a 9-digit number assigned to you by the US Social Security Administration that keeps a record of your income for tax purposes.

Required documents

  • Passport
  • Immigration document (I-20, DS-2019, I-797)
  • I-94
  • Completed SS-5 form

You should also bring:

F-1 students only

  • If you're applying for an SSN based on on-campus employment, you should also bring:

    1. An offer letter from your on-campus employer or service-fellowship provider (download a template). You can apply as early as 30 days before your employment start date. The letter must include the following to be accepted by SSA:

      -Date letter was created
      -Student's full legal name (as listed in passport)
      -Name of Emory hiring department
      -Position Title
      -Work location (the full street address including city, state and zip code where you will work)
      -Start date (must be within 30 days from your SSN application date)
      -End date (cannot be beyond your I-20 end date)
      -Wage information (hourly pay or monthly/semesterly stipend)
      -Work hours per week (Note: if the employment will take place when class is in session, the number of hours per week cannot exceed 20 hours per week).  
      -Hiring manager's original signature (no electronic signatures will be accepted).

    2. A support letter from ISSS. Request a letter by completing the “Social Security Letter Request” e-form found under the F-1 Student Services in ISSS Link >>
  • If you're applying based on Curricular Practical Training, bring your original SEVIS I-20 annotated for CPT on page 2. You can apply as early as 30 days before your CPT start date listed on your I-20.

  • If you're applying based on approval for Optional Practical Training, employment with an international organization, or employment for severe economic hardship, bring your employment authorization document (EAD card). You can apply for an SSN on or after the start date on your EAD card.

J-1 students only

  • If you're applying for an SSN based on on-campus employment, bring an on-campus employment authorization letter from ISSS. Info >>

  • If you're applying based on Academic Training, bring an AT authorization letter from ISSS. Info >>

How to apply

You should bring your documents to a Social Security Administration (SSA) office. You don't need an appointment, but you might have to wait in line for several hours. We recommend you go early in the morning.

SSA office's close to Emory's campus:

  • DECATUR OFFICE: 3554 Covington Hwy, Decatur, GA 30032
  • DOWNTOWN ATLANTA OFFICE:  401 W. Peachtree Street NW, Suite 2860, Fl. 28th, Atlanta, GA 30308
  • NORCROSS OFFICE: 4365 Shackleford Road, Norcross, GA 30093

Find another SSA office >>

If your application is approved, the SSA will mail your social security card to you. This usually takes about 2 weeks.

When you get your social security card, email nonresident.tax@emory.edu to let them know you've received your SSN.

On-campus social security appointments (fall semester only)

Each fall, representatives from the SSA come to campus to help students apply for social security numbers. 

You should sign up only if you:

  1. will receive a stipend from Emory based on services you're providing;
  2. have an on-campus job; or
  3. need a social security rejection letter to apply for a Georgia driver's license or ITIN. 

Follow the steps below so that you are prepared for your appointment. 

 F-1 Students:

  • Obtain an offer letter from your on-campus employer or service fellowship provider. Provide your employer with the ISSS template letter so that the letter meets the SSA requirements.
  • Obtain an SSN Support Letter from ISSS by completing the “Social Security Letter Request” e-form found under the F-1 Student Services in ISSS Link. It is HIGHLY recommended that you submit the e-form at least 5 business days prior to your appointment.
  • Make a photocopy of both letters as well as your passport, I-20 (page 1 and 2), F-1 visa, and I-94 (print the electronic I-94 from the CBP website).

 J-1 Students:

  • Obtain an On-Campus Employment Authorization Letter from ISSS by completing the “On-Campus Employment Authorization” e-form found under the J-1 Student Services tab in ISSS Link. It is HIGHLY recommended that you submit the e-form at least 10 business days prior to your appointment.
  • Make a photocopy of the letter as well as your passport, DS-2019 (page 1), J-1 visa, and I-94 (print the electronic I-94 from the CBP website).

 Bring the following documents to your SSN appointment:

  • Original passport, visa, and I-20(F-1)/DS-2019(J-1) and I-94
  • Original offer letter and SSN Support Letter (F-1) OR original On-Campus Employment Authorization letter (J-1)
  • Copies of all your immigration documents and letters. Note: ISSS will not be able to make copies of your documents, so please make copies in advance.

FAQ

If I get a social security number, can I take any job?

No. The SSN is not work authorization in itself.


I have an ID number from Emory. Do I still need a social security number? Do I have to change my ID number?

An Emory ID number is not a social security number. You don't need to change your Emory ID number.


How long does it take to get my social security card?

You should get your social security card in about 2 weeks. You can start working before you get your card, but keep in mind that your employer can't pay you until you have an SSN. The SSA issues letters of ineligibility immediately.


What am I supposed to do with my social security card?

First memorize your social security number, then keep it in a safe place with your personal records. Don't carry it in your wallet.


I got an SSN during my last stay in the US. Do I need a new one now?

No, you should only receive 1 SSN. It's good for life.