Social Security Number & ITIN
A Social Security Number (SSN) is used by employers and employees for the purpose of reporting individual employee earnings for tax purposes. The SSN is valid for life, so you only need to apply once. The temporary number assigned by Yale to new international students and scholars (e.g., 900-00-0000) is NOT a valid SSN. An SSN is also often used for a variety of unofficial purposes, such as opening phone, utility, or bank/credit card accounts, however you can do all those transactions without an SSN.
The International Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is for international students and scholars who are not eligible for an SSN.
You will need either an SSN or an ITIN to file your U.S. tax return. Once you receive your SSN, if you are a student please report this number in person to your school registrar, and if you are a faculty member or staff please report it to the Employee Service Center at 221 Whitney Avenue. Do not write your SSN in the body of an email or text message or send a copy of the SSN card. Read more about identity theft here.
Who is eligible for a SSN?
- F-1 students who have secured on campus employment, are receiving for-service fellowships, or working off-campus with OPT or CPT.
- All F-1 PhD students.
- J-1 students with letter of permission to work from sponsor (either Yale or outside organization, e.g. Fulbright)
- All J-1 scholars and anyone in H-1B, TN, or O-1 status.
- J-2 spouses with permission to work from USCIS (i.e. with an EAD card)
How to Apply for a SSN or ITIN
For specific application instructions, select your immigration status below:
- Pick up an application form (Form SS-5) from the fron desk at OISS (no need to make an appointment), as well as a letter confirming your Yale related immigration status and employment eligibility,
- Obtain written verification from employer or the for-service fellowship sponsor which includes the nature of the employment or fellowship, number of hours, and the date employment is expected to begin.
- Yale College – Written verification of employment can be requested at the Student Employment Office, 246 Church Street.
- Masters and Professional Students - Written verification can come directly from your School or from the Student Employment Office, 246 Church Street. (Note: If you are an MA student and a TA in GSAS, then please contact the Teaching Fellow Program for an employment letter)
- PhD students – All PhD students are eligible to apply for a social security number. Make a copy of your letter of admission and obtain a letter from OISS certifying your eligibility to apply
- Take these documents along with your passport, I-94 record, and your I-20 to the Social Security Administration at 150 Court Street, 4th Floor (see right margin for directions.)
On CPT or OPT
- Application form (Form SS-5) and letter from OISS confirming your Yale related immigration status and employment eligibility, both available at the OISS front desk.
- Immigration documents: valid passport, I-94 record, and your I-20 with CPT or OPT authorization.
- If you are on OPT, you will also need to present your Employment Authorization Card when you go to the Social Security Administration.
J-1 Exchange Visitor
- Pick up an application form (Form SS-5) from OISS, as well as a letter confirming your Yale related immigration status and employment eligibility,
- Take these documents along with your passport, I-94 record, and your DS-2019 form to the Social Security Administration at 150 Court Street, 4th Floor (see right margin for directions.)
- Complete an application form (Form SS-5) available at OISS or available online.
- Take the application along with your passport, Employment Authorization Card (EAD), I-94 record, and your DS-2019 form to the Social Security Administration at 150 Court Street, 4th Floor (see right margin for directions.)
Applying for an ITIN
If you are not eligible for SSN, but need to file a 1040NR tax return (you do not need an SSN or ITIN if you will only file Form 8843) then you need obtain an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number). OISS can certify documents and submit your ITIN application on your behalf. If you want to apply for ITIN:
- Please make an appointment with Ozan Say to submit your ITIN application.
- Bring your passport, I-20 (or DS-2019), your most recent I-94 record, and your financial aid or scholarship letter (if you have any) with you to the appointment.
OISS will certify your W-7 form and submit it to the IRS. It can take as long as 6-8 weeks to get an ITIN.