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J-1 Scholar Employment

Social Security Number

In the U.S. a Social Security Number is issued to track earnings over a worker’s lifetime. Scholars who are employed in the U.S. must apply for an SSN.  International scholars who are unemployed are ineligible for an SSN.

If you have been previously issued an SSN from a previous time in the U.S., your SSN belongs to you and you do not need to request a new number.

An SSN is not an off-campus employment authorization and an SSN is not required to open a bank account, rent an apartment, start a mobile phone contract or get a credit card.


How to apply for a SSN


The Social Security Card Administration website gives good information and a good overview of the process for applying for your SSN including the Online Social Security Number Application that must be completed prior to your visit.


Your J-1 scholar status allows you to be employed by ASU without applying to USCIS for employment authorization.


Receive your confirmation page from the online application.


When you go to the Social Security office, take your passport, your form I-94, your form DS-2019 and your completed application form (SS-5).


Scholars must go to the SSA office based on their zip code. 

Do I need a social security number to work in the United States?

Yes. You will need a Social Security Number (SSN) to allow employers to report your earnings to the U.S. government. To save you a trip to the Social Security Office you can now apply for your SSN and card (SSN card) on the same application form you will use to apply for your EAD card, Form I-765.  If USCIS approves your application to work in the U.S. and you completed the section on the application to request an SSN card, then you will receive two documents – your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as the “USCIS I-766 card” or “work permit”, and in another envelope your SSN card.  The SSN card will be mailed to the address you listed on your I-765 application. You should receive your SSN card no later than 7 business days after you receive your EAD from USCIS.

Please see How to Apply for a Social Security Number.

For more information on travel, please read through this document.