International Students and Social Security Numbers
Do I need to have a SSN in order to start a new job?
The Internal Revenue Service allows for certain delays in obtaining SSNs. USCIS has temporarily relaxed the I-9 requirements due to the COVID-19 emergency. You should check with your employer’s Human Resources contact regarding their practices. You may also refer to the Handbook for Employers M-274.
How can I apply for a SSN if all the Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are closed due to COVID-19?
You should call your local SSA office and make every effort to secure an in-person appointment to apply for a SSN as soon as one is available.
Be advised that it is risky for you to mail in your original documents with your application for a SSN as there is no guarantee that the original documents will be returned to you.
During the COVID-19 emergency, some local SSA offices may allow you to apply by mail for an emergency/essential worker position and may issue a SSN if the employer makes a strong case to support the application. If the application is approved, the original documents and a receipt will be mailed back via USPS without any tracking information.
If the SSA determines that the applicant either does not qualify or qualifies but does not meet the criteria for an emergency/essential hire, the original documents and a denial letter will be mailed back via USPS without any tracking information.
What should I do if I am out of the U.S. and participating in a co–op remotely for a U.S. employer who will be paying me?
You should check with your employer’s Human Resources contact regarding their practices.
Who should I contact if I have questions?
Please feel free to contact the following offices depending on your inquiry:
- Your co–op advisor;
- The Office of Global Services (OGS) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Please review the Co-op Employer Handbook for more information on co-ops.
- The office of Student Employment if you will be a student employee at Northeastern University.