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How to Apply for a Social Security Number

How to Apply for a Social Security Number

F-1 and J-1 students must have an on-campus job or job offer in order to apply for a Social Security Number. This rule does not apply to F-1 students with an EAD card, or on Optional or Curricular Practical Training. International students may apply for a Social Security Number no earlier than two weeks after they arrive on campus at New Paltz. The only way to receive a Social Security Number is by making a formal application in person to the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security card issued to non-resident F-1 and J-1 students may specify that it is “valid only with employment authorization.” Issuance of a Social Security card is NOT employment authorization. F-1 and J-1 students may only work on-campus for less than 20 hours during the academic year and less than 29 hours during the long summer and winter vacations. Students must be registered and matriculated in accordance with campus guidelines in order to work on campus.  

F-1 and J-1 students may NOT work off campus without employment authorization. If you have questions about applying for authorization to accept off-campus employment, please contact the International Student Programs.


You must submit an application in person at the Social Security Administration office. To apply for a Social Security number, you need to take the following documents with you:

F-1 and J-1 students working on-campus, on Curricular Practical Training (F-1) or on Academic Training (J-1):

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-94 print out
  • I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1)
  • Letter from International Student Programs verifying your status

And one of the following depending on your visa status and the type of employment:

  • On Campus Employer Letter stating place of work and work duties (for on campus employment)
  • Letter from employer and CPT authorization (for F-1 students on CPT)
  • Letter from employer and Academic Training authorization (for J-1 students on AT)

F-1 students with an EAD for OPT:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-94 print out
  • I-20
  • EAD (Employment Authorization Document)

Please bring your documents with you to the International Student Programs during walk-in hours and we will issue a letter.  Students on OPT with an EAD card do not usually require a status letter from International Student Programs.

The Social Security Administration office is located in Poughkeepsie, NY. If you do not have access to a car, you may choose to take the bus to Poughkeepsie. Office hours are between 8:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday except legal holidays. If you have any questions, you may contact the Social Security Office directly.

Social Security Administration
Vassar Main Building
332 Main Street
Poughkeepsie, NY  12601

Phone: 1-877-405-6747

Website: Social Security Administration  

Directions to the Poughkeepsie, NY Social Security Administration Office

Take the Poughkeepsie/ Ulster link bus from campus and get off at Main Street and Market Street in Poughkeepsie. To return, get on the bus at Main Street and Market Street in Poughkeepsie and that will take you back to the bus station on Main Street in New Paltz. See bus schedule*






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