Social Security


You will need to take the following documentation with you when you apply for your Social Security card:

  • DS-2019
  • I-94
  • Passport and J-1 Visa
  • Sponsor letter
  • Social Security Application – Form SS5

 Social Security FAQs

Do I have to apply for a Social Security card?

Yes.  All participants must apply for a Social Security Number in order to work, open a bank account, or file a tax return. (*participants are eligible to begin work with their receipt of application from the Social Security office)

If I already have a social security number, do I need to apply for another one?

No.  If you already have a Social Security Number, you do not need to apply for a new one.  If you do not have your physical Social Security card, or if you do not remember your number, you may visit the Social Security Administration office to replace your card for free.

When should I apply?

It is recommended by the Social Security office that you wait approximately 10 days after your arrival to the US and after notifying your sponsor of your arrival before applying for a Social Security Number.

When will I receive my social security card in the mail?

It may take 4-6 weeks to receive your Social Security card in the mail. It is very important that the address listed on your application is accurate.

How do I start work while waiting for my social security number?

After applying for a Social Security Number, the Social Security office will issue a receipt.  This is an important document which you can give to your employer to show that you have applied for a Social Security Number and are eligible to begin work. This receipt can also be shown if you are asked for a Social Security Number when you open a bank account.

Protect your money – Open a Bank Account

Keep your money safe!  Open a checking or savings bank account.  Search different bank branches in the area to find “Free Students Accounts.

DO NOT keep large sums of cash on your person or at your apartment.

DO NOT give your debit card PIN (personal identification number) to anyone, and keep your card in a safe place with you at all times!


Keep your documents safe! For identification purposes, you must have your passport or other

photo id with you at all times.

Never give your passport or documents to anyone (such as a landlord or employer) to keep.

It is illegal for anyone to take

How to Bring Your Money Home Safe