Global Brown
International Students and Scholars

This number's primary use is to track individual's Social Security accounts. However, the number has over time become the primary individual identification number in the U.S. including for the purpose of filing income tax returns for those who have been employed in the U.S. Once you have received a SSN, by the Social Security Administration (SSA) the number is yours for life, as long as you have the appropriate employment authorization.

The SSN can ONLY be obtained once an individual has a job offer and employment authorization.

Applying for a Social Security Number

Anyone who works in the U.S. must have a Social Security card with a Social Security number. Numbers will only be issued to people who are eligible to be employed in the United States. Numbers are not issued for purposes of general identification (driver licenses, tax returns, bank accounts, phone service, etc. Bank accounts can be opened by completing IRS Form W-8, Certificate of Foreign Status.)

  • Nonimmigrants ineligible for a Social Security Card are still able to receive a Rhode Island Driver License.
  • If you have only just arrived in the U.S. to begin your academic program/or employment, please wait at least two weeks from the time of your entry to the U.S. and completion of F-1/J-1 registration, before applying for a Social Security card.
  • Typically it takes the Social Security Administration up to two weeks to access your U.S entry records.
  • Applying earlier or prior to completion of F-1/J-1 registration will not speed up the process, but may result in a notification from Social Security that your records could not be verified.

The Social Security card application form and additional information is available from available online at the Social Security Administration.

What To Bring to Social Security Administration Office

To obtain a Social Security card, present the following documents, along with a completed Social Security card application, in person to a Social Security representative. All documents submitted to the Social Security Office must match EXACTLY with the spelling of all names, date of birth, etc. of Department of Homeland Security’s records.

  • Valid Passport
  • I-94 card or printout of I-94 admission record
  • Valid Form I-20
  • Proof of employment, such as a job offer letter
  • If employment is on-campus during your academic program, you will need to submit a letter from OISSS authorizing on-campus employment
  • If employment is off-campus or at Brown after you have completed your degree, you will need to submit other valid employment authorization.
  • Valid Passport
  • I-94 card or printout of I-94 admission record
  • Valid Form DS-2019
  • Proof of employment, such as a job offer letter or paystub
  • If employment is on-campus during your academic program, you will need to submit a letter from OISSS or your J-1 sponsor authorizing on-campus employment
  • If employment is off-campus or at Brown following the completion of your degree, you will need to present documentation of authorized Academic Training employment authorization.
  • Valid Passport
  • I-94 card or printout of I-94 admission record
  • Valid Form DS-2019.
  • Brown University Appointment Letter

According to the Social Security Administration J-1 short-term scholars that will have appointments for less than 1 month will not be eligible for a Social Security Number even if they will receive pay from Brown University. Without a Social Security Number you will be subject to federal income tax withholding.

  • Valid Passport
  • I-94 card or printout of admission record
  • I-797 Approval Notice
  • Brown University Appointment Letter

Where To Apply

Social Security Administration
6th Floor
One Empire Plaza
Providence, RI 02903

Hours
Monday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed