Newly-arrived international students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 visa status being paid by the university (e.g. compensation, taxable scholarship, fellowship, prize or award) are advised to apply for an SSN soon as possible. The processing takes 3-4 weeks but you should only need to do it once. Be sure to report your your SSN to your school registrar if you are a student, or to the Employee Service Center (221 Whitney Avenue) if you are an employee.
Social Security Number
MARCH 18, 2020: UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OFFICES ARE CLOSED TO WALK IN TRAFFIC. YOU WILL NEED TO WAIT UNTIL THE OFFICES REOPEN TO APPLY FOR A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.
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.
International Taxpayer Identification Number
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.
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)
Applying for a SSN
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 to obtain an ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number).
Normally OISS can certify your documents and submit your ITIN application on your behalf, but due to switching remote work we are unable to process ITIN appointments at the moment. We apologize for the inconveicne this might cause and hope to resume helping you again with your ITIN applications soon.
Filing Tax Returns
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 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.