Obtaining a Social Security Number

All employees paid by Boston University must have a valid Social Security Number for tax purposes.

You can be hired by Boston University and begin working without one, but immediately after you are hired, you must apply for a Social Security number from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

  • International students in F-1 status: Have your supervisor complete a Certification of F-1 Student On-Campus Employment for a Social Security Number Application. (This is not required for students in J-1 status.)
  • Go to the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) with your immigration documents (passport, I-94 card, and I-20 or DS-2019), your Boston University Terrier card, and the certification letter completed by your hiring supervisor on departmental letterhead. The ISSO will then endorse your certification.
  • Complete a Social Security Administration Application for a Social Security Number (SS-5).
  • Present the Social Security number application in person at a Social Security Administration Office, along with documentation of age and identity. Have your Certification of On-Campus Employment letter (endorsed by ISSO), as well as immigration documents (passport, I-94, and I-20 or DS-2019). Use the Social Security Administration’s Evidence Requirements form to make sure you have all the documents you need.
  • Additional information can be found on the ISSO website.

You can find local Social Security Administration offices using the SSA’s Local Office Search. It is strongly recommended that international students apply at the Boston office at 10 Causeway Street.

According to the Social Security Administration, it generally takes two to three weeks to receive a Social Security card.

Note: Students may not apply for a tax treaty until they have Social Security numbers.