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SS-5: Social Security Number Application

A nonresident alien may obtain a Social Security number only if she/he is (1) engaged in a trade or business in the United States, and (2) required to file a U.S. tax return.

The IRS requires a Social Security number for nonresident aliens who receive a salary or wages as an employee of the University of Richmond.

If a worker has applied for, but has not yet received a social security number, the employer must request and keep on file the following information: worker's full name, address, date of birth, place of birth, father's full name, mother's full maiden name, gender, and date person applied for the SSN.

An alien who is eligible for employment or self-employment is also is also eligible for an SSN. The application form is a SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card). The application must be filed in person with the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The ruling is not based on eligibility to work. It is based on the requirement of the withholding agent (University of Richmond) to report to the IRS all income paid to individuals who are paid as employees or independent contractors.

A Social Security number, once assigned, is valid for life. A Social Security number digit configuration is ###-##-####.

The IRS requires a Social Security (or ITIN number) to offer a tax treaty to an individual.

When foreign workers apply for SSNs, the SSA verifies their documents directly with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) via E-Verify. Most applications are verified immediately, but there can be delays. This process is necessary because the SSA has taken extra steps to ensure the integrity of SSNs. The changes the SSA has made may cause a delay up to several weeks in the receipt of an SSN card. The employee may work while the SSN application is in process.

When to Apply

An individual should wait at least 10 days after arriving in the United States before applying for a SSN and the individual must be planning to be in the United States for 14 more days after the application for an SSN. The individual should also report first to UR before applying for an SSN. This allows the Social Security Administration time to verify the individual's immigration status with the Department of Homeland Security.

A UR employee may begin work and be paid if the I-9 paperwork has been completed in the Office of International Taxation. The individual does not need to have the SSN in hand to start work or to be paid.

An individual may not apply for an SSN until he has started working. The Social Security Administration computer systems can not "future date" an employment start date. The application process can take from two weeks to three months.

If an individual's employment start date is shown to be more than 30 days in the future from the date of SS-5 is filed, the SSA will verify with the employer that the student has been hired and that the start dates is accurate.

Once received, the individual must bring the social security card to OIT so that it can be copied and placed in the student's records and recorded in Banner with Student Employment.

The student may authorize the SSA to release his SSN to UR (as the employer). To do this the student must sign a consent form. The form, SSA-7028, allows for the SSA to receive written notice of the SSN assigned. Note: The student must complete Part B of the SSA-7028.

Situations Where SSN is Not Needed

Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, or apply for educational tests. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver's license or a credit card.

If the individual will not be in the United States long enough to receive the SSN after the application is filed, the IRS will not issue an SSN to aliens who are not in the United States at the time they are issued.

In Order to Proceed

Visit the Office of International Taxation at the University to gather together your forms and fill out the SS-5 application.

Required Forms:

  • All applicants:
    • Completed SS-5 application
    • Passport
    • I-94 with Customs & Boarder Protection entry stamp
    • If applicable, work permit from DHS (I-766 or I-688B)
    • Letter from Office of International Education stating you are eligible to work
  • F1 or M1 students only:
    • Must show I-20 Form (page 3 must be completed and signed by a designated school official.)
    • Must show evidence of that employment: job approval form
  • J1 or J2 exchange visitors only:
    • Must show Form DS-2019
    • Letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.

Apply in person at the Social Security Administration office. All applications should bring the following documents with them:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-94 Card
  • Letter from International Education
  • Letter (on UR letterhead and signed by individual's supervisor) stating that the individual has beenhired to work on campus
    • Faculty: appointment letter
    • Staff: HR letter
    • Students: Also signed by International Taxation

Request a receipt from the Social Security Administration as proof of application and send a copy of this receipt to Office of International Taxation to be kept on file.

Once the Social Security card is received, bring the original card to the Office of International Taxation so that a copy can be made for your file. Tax treaties, if applicable, will be awarded at this point.

Contact Us

Devon Slough, International Taxation Officer
(804) 287-6007
Maryland Hall, Room G-15
Monday–Friday, 8:45 a.m.–2:45 p.m.