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Social Security Card

Applying for a Social Security Card

As an international student, you are eligible for a social security card if you have an offer of employment.  This will be on-campus employment for most students.  If you have obtained authorization from the International Student Counselor for Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT), then you will also need to apply for a social security card once you have obtained an offer of employment.  A social security card is issued once. If you do not intend to do any of those work experiences, you should then apply for an ITIN (Individualized Taxpayer Identification Number).  You will need a Social Security Number or an ITIN to complete your required Income Tax Form(s) each year.  You DO NOT need a social security card to obtain a driver’s license or open a bank account.  Please refer to the informational handouts on those topics for more information.

To obtain a social security card you will need to complete a Social Security Administration application form.  The application form is available from your International Student Counselor or by visiting the Social Security Administration website at www.socialsecurity.gov.  Bring the completed form with the documents listed below to the Social Security Administration Office located in the Federal Building at 15 Henry Street, Binghamton.  Be sure to have all the required documents or your application will NOT be processed.  The office is located on the corner of State Street and Henry Street.  Paid parking is available in the Metro Center Parking Lot.  No appointment is necessary.  The office hours are Monday – Friday from 9 AM –4 PM.  The phone number is 607-773-2884.

You will not get a social security card at that time.  They must verify you in the computer system, assign you a social security number and then they will mail the card to you.  This process can take 3-4 weeks so plan ahead.

You must bring:

  • SEVIS I-20*
  • Passport*
  • I-94 card*
  • Completed Application Form
  • Letter from international student counselor noting eligibility for work/card 
  • Letter of Employment Offer (without this letter you will be denied even for replacement cards).  Be sure the letter has a SPECIFIC anticipated start date – this is required by the Social Security Administration.

*    The office representative MUST see the ORIGINAL documents.  You should prepare copies of these documents for them to keep. 

Completing the Application Form

You will need to complete all questions that apply.  For MOST international students, you will complete questions #1, 2, 3 (select: “legal alien allowed to work”), 4, 5, 6, 7, 8A, 9A, 10 (usually “no”), 14, 15, 16, and 17 (select: “self”). 

If you have any questions, please speak with the International Student Counselor.