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Social Security Number

As of April 7th, 2022, the SSA offices are now open. You should expect extremely high volumes of customers and very long wait lines for the next few weeks. It is possible that not all customers who waited in line will be served the same day. In the event that this happens, the SSA will do its best to accommodate those customers with priority the next day or schedule an appointment within 5 business days. Customers requesting a first time SSN or replacement SSN will no longer be able to make an appointment. They will be seen on a first come first served basis.

If you already have an appointment, SSA will honor it.

 

The Mountain View office serves: Mountain View, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Sunnyvale
701 N. Shoreline Blvd.
1st floor
Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone: 877-319-0161
Fax: 833-950-3371(primary)
Fax: 833-950-3370 (secondary)

The Redwood City office serves: East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City. Anything north of Redwood city on the peninsula belongs to San Mateo office, and there are three offices in SF that serves SF and Daly City
SOCIAL SECURITY
601 ALLERTON ST
2ND FLOOR
REDWOOD CITY, CA 94063
Phone: 888-860-5582
Fax: 833-571-0638

The Fremont office serves: Fremont and Milpitas
3100 MOWRY AVE
SUITE 100
FREMONT, CA 94538
Phone: 888-632-7073

Fax: 833-950-3665

The Downtown San Jose office serves: Cupertino, Campbell, Los Gatos, Downtown SJ, Santa Clara
280 S FIRST ST
ROOM 244
SAN JOSE, CA 95113
Phone: 866-331-2235
Fax: 833-902-2630

 

What is a Social Security number (SSN)?

  • A Social Security number (SSN) is used by employers and employees for the purpose of reporting individual employee earnings for tax purposes only.
  • The SSN is valid for life, so you only need to apply once.

Who is eligible for a Social Security number (SSN)?

  • F-1 students who have on-campus employment, or are receiving fellowships which requires employment or RA/TAships, or working off-campus on OPT or CPT
  • J-1 students, who have a letter of permission to work from their sponsor. This could be Stanford or an outside organization, i.e. Fulbright.
  • If you are a new F-1 or J-1 student wait 30 days after the I-20/DS-2019 program start date before applying for an SSN.  
  • All J-1 Scholars
  • J-2 spouses with work permission (EAD card)
  • Employees in H-1B, TN or O-1 status

If you are not eligible for a social security number, you may apply for an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

Please go in person to apply for your Social Security number. Though the SSN application allows for mailing, we do not recommend it as you would need to mail in your original passport.

Location of Social Security offices

Mountain View:

701 N. Shoreline Blvd. Ist floor, Mountain View, CA 94043
Phone: 1-800-772-1213

Redwood City:

601 Allerton Street, Second floor, Redwood City, CA 94063
Phone: 1-800-772-1213

Find more information and office hours.

The social security office will NOT issue you an SSN if your appointment is more than 30 days before your employment start date

F-1 Students

Required documents:

  1. A completed Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security Card
  2. Passport, copy of current electronic I-94 arrival record, and current I-20
  3. Evidence of SSN eligibility:
    1. EAD card ( if on OPT)
    2. I-20 showing unexpired CPT or OPT endorsement for off campus employment
    3. For on campus employment, 2 letters are needed:
      1. A letter from the on-campus employer addressed to the Social Security Administration. The signature on the letter MUST be a wet signature.  No electronic signatures are accepted.
        A sample letter is available here (pdf).
        OR PhD students with a fellowship must have a letter from their department indicating employment stipulations.
      2. A letter from Bechtel confirming your status. You must upload your employment or PhD fellowship letter as part of the request.
        * If you are a new F-1 student wait 30 days after the I-20 program start date before requesting a letter from Bechtel.

J-1 Students

Required documents:

  1. A completed Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security number.
  2. Passport, copy of current electronic I-94 arrival record, and current DS-2019
  3. Evidence of SSN eligibility:
    ​1. For off-campus employment, current DS-2019 showing unexpired Academic Training endorsement AND job offer letter from the off-campus employer.
    2. For on campus employment*, 2 letters are needed:
    1. A letter from the on-campus employer addressed to the Social Security Administration
      A sample letter is available here (pdf).
      OR PhD students with a fellowship must have a letter from their department indicating employment stipulations.
    2. A letter from Bechtel confirming your status. You must upload your employment or PhD fellowship letter as part of the request.
      ** If you are a new J-1 student wait 30 days after the I-20 program start date before requesting a letter from Bechtel.

*J-1 On-Campus Employment Authorization
Obtain employment authorization from your J-1 visa sponsor (DS-2019 issuing entity). Stanford-sponsored J-1 students can request J-1 On-Campus employment authorization from Bechtel Connect. NOTE: You must receive this on-campus employment authorization from Bechtel BEFORE you start to work AND BEFORE you apply for the letter from Bechtel.

J-1 Scholars including Visiting Student Researchers and Postdocs

You should not apply earlier than 16 days after your SEVIS record has been validated. Your SEVIS record can only be validated after you have arrived in the U.S. and after you have submitted your Arrival Confirmation webform.

Those holding a J-1 visa in the "research scholar" or "short term scholar" categories are eligible for an SSN and do not require a letter from the International Center to make their application. We strongly recommend that you apply for an SSN even if you do not expect any payment that may require one. If your fees are being paid by Stanford, you will need an SSN to file taxes. There have been numerous instances where J-1 scholars discover they require an SSN to file tax forms after the completion of their program. Unfortunately at that point, they are no longer eligible for an SSN nor does there seem to be an alternative. 

Required documents:

  1. A completed Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security number.
  2. Passport, copy of current electronic I-94 arrival record, and current DS-2019

J-2 Dependents

Required Documents:

  1. A completed Form SS-5: Application for a Social Security number.
  2. Immigration documents: valid passport, electronic I-94 arrival record, and your DS-2019
  3. Employment Authorization Card