Obtaining a Social Security Number (SSN)


This document applies to an employee on the Research Foundation (RF) payroll. U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and aliens who enter the country under an immigration category that authorizes U.S. employment are eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs). Refer to Visa Classifications that Allow Work on the Social Security Administration (SSA) Web site.

How to Apply for a SSN

To apply for a Social Security number and card, an applicant must:

  1. Complete Form SS-5
  2. Submit evidence of identity (e.g., marriage or driver's license, passport, school photo ID)
  3. Submit evidence of age (e.g., birth certificate, passport, hospital birth record), and
  4. Submit evidence of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status
  5. Then, mail or take the application and evidence in person to a local Social Security Administration (SSA) office (refer to the
    SSA Web site's Local Office Search).

    Important! All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Photocopies of documents and notarized copies are not acceptable.

Lawful Aliens:

U.S. citizens born outside the U.S. may submit a U.S. consular report of birth, a U.S. passport, a Certificate of Citizenship, or a Certificate of Naturalization. Lawful aliens must submit an unexpired document issued by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), such as Form I-551, I-94, I-688B, or I-766. The SSA will not accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

F-1 student Visa Applicants:

Effective October 13, 2004, applicants in the U.S. on an F-1 student visa must supply the following additional documents:

Obtaining the SS-5 form:

Form SS-5 is available for download at http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.html or by calling 1-800-772-1213 or by visiting a local Social Security office.


For a better understanding of Taxpayer Identification Numbers, refer to Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) Overview.

To provide information to assist the SSN applicant, refer to these publications on the Social Security Administration (SSA) Web site:

Change History



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