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Social Security

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Content: SSN | SSN Eligibility | SSN Application Procedures | Standard Documents | Work Eligibility Documents | Where to Apply

Social Security Number (SSN)

A U.S. Social Security number is a unique, nine-digit number issued by the U.S. Social Security Administration. It facilitates the reporting wages to the government and is required in the order to work in the United States. This number also serves as a national identification number for taxation and other purposes.

Important Note: Do not carry your Social Security Number with you. Once you receive your card - store in a secure location and only provide when it is absolutely required. This is to protect your identity and prevent identity theft. 

SSN Eligibility

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F-1 Student - must have a job offer to apply for a SSN

F-2 Dependent - may not work and therefore do not qualify for a SSN. For DMV and other agencies that 'need' a SSN for application processing - you will need to obtain a 'letter of ineligilbility' from the Social Security Administration.

J-1 Student - must have employment authorization from the office of International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) - who is your J-1 sponsor.

J-1 Scholars - automatically eligible for SSN

J-2 Dependents - may apply for SSN's only if they secure work permission - and have an 'Employment Authorization Document' - from USCIS.

H-1B Employees - automatically eligible for SSN

H-4 Dependents - may not work and therefore do not qualify for a SSN. For DMV & other agencies that 'need' a SSN for application processing - you will need to obtain a 'letter of ineligibility' from the Social Security Administration.

SSN Application Procedures

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International students & scholars must wait 7 – 10 days from their date of entry into the United States before applying for a SSN. You may begin working while your application is pending with the Social Security Administration (SSA). Please note that you may need to obtain a letter indicating that your application is pending for payroll purposes. Follow the procedures depending on upon the type of nonimmigrant status you hold. Note - it is important that the name on your social security application match the name you have on your I-20/DS-2019/I-797 - passport - I94 - and University records. 

Standard Documents

  • Valid Passport
  • Valid I-94 card or printed page of electronic I-94
  • I-20/DS-2019/I-797

Work Eligibility - with supporting documentation based on your status

F-1 Students - On campus employment - In addition to the standard documents shown above - you will need evidence of employment (fromyour hiring department) and verification of employment eligibility from the office of International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS).

    • Obtain an 'Employment Verification Letter' from your department and/or on campus employer. This letter must be on letterhead with an original signature and include the details provided on the sample letter. Submit this letter to ISSS for processing.
    • Wait for email from ISSS to pick up your ISSS Employment Eligibility letter - 'Employer Verification Letter' - and - SSN Application

F-1 Students - with Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card) - In most cases - students with an EAD card are on Optional Practical Training (OPT)  - however - in some circumstances, F-1 students can obtain authorization to work off campus. Students with an EAD card must submit the standard documents shown above and their EAD card. No additional letters are necessary.

F-1 Students - with Curricular Practical Training (CPT)  - Student on CPT must submit the standard documents shown above and a properly endorsed I-20 with ISSS authorization for CPT on page 2. No additional letters are necessary but an employment letter may be useful.

J-1 Students - with CU Sponsorship - In addition to the standard documents - J-1 students with Clarkson University listed in item 2 of their DS_2019 must obtain a 'J-1 employment authorization letter' from ISSS. This letter will verify your full-time enrollment and employment authorization at CU.

J-1 Students - without CU Sponsorship - In addition to the standard documents - J-1 students without Clarkson University listed in item 2 of their DS_2019 must obtain a 'J-1 employment authorization letter' from their official sponsor. 

J-2 Dependentswith Employment Authorization Document (EAD Card) - In addition to the standard documents above - J-2 dependents will need to submit their EAD card. No additional letters are necessary.

Special Note – ALL social security applicatants will obtain need a letter or receipt from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to submit with your payroll forms indicating you have applied for the SSN and your application is pending.

Where to Apply

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Students & Scholars must submit their social security application in person to the ‘Social Security Administration’ . Student & Scholars in Potsdam, NY will apply to the SSA office in Ogdensburg, NY. The drive is about 35 minutes west of Potsdam. Those outside of Potsdam should determine the SSA location closest to their residence to apply at. 

SSA Address - Ogdensburg:

Social Security Administration
101 Ford St
Ogdensburg, NY 13699

Ph: 1-866-572-1213

Office Hours – please check the local ‘social security’ office for current hours & contact information.

Directions by car:

Take US Route 11 to Canton and continue west on Route 68 to Ogdensburg.

In Ogdensburg –

  • Make a right at the light onto Route 37
  • Turn left onto Ford Street and follow to the very end
  • Turn left and proceed through the parking ot until you see ‘public parking’.
  • Take walkway to front entrance of ‘101 Ford Street’