Applying for Social Security Number? Wait 10 days…

J-1 Applying for Social Security Number?

J-1 Interns and Trainees are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number. Most J-1s encounter no issues applying for their Social Security Numbers. However, others experience delays. Years ago, the Social Security Administration started taking extra steps to help  ensure that only those who should receive a number do so. One of those extra steps is verifying an applicant’s documents with the Department of Homeland Security. The Social Security Administration acknowledges that the changes to the way it assigns numbers and issues cards may cause a delay  in receiving a number. However, Social Security deems verification from DHS vital to the integrity of the Social Security Number.

Avoid delays.

In order to minimize any delays, the Social Security Administration recommends that J-1s wait 10 days upon arrival in the United States before they apply for the Social Security Number. J-1s must also check in with their sponsor before applying for the number. As an employer, you are allowed to employ the J-1 while the Social Security Number application is processed. More info can be found here.

4 Responses to “Applying for Social Security Number? Wait 10 days…

  • Francesca Contento
    6 years ago

    Good morning Mario and thanks for the post. I am in the Work & Travel arena of cultural exchange as well as short-term homestays.

    My biggest hurdle in trying to promote the W&T program is that alot of companies now require online applications and these require SSNs just to fill out. Corporate employers cannot make exceptions to J1 students over the American applicants and the SSN drives everything from applying to the job online, setting up payroll, background checks, etc. So the first time W&T student is at a disadvantage for employment opportunities as they cannot travel here without an offer of employment.

    Is there any discussion on how to work with companies to use a temporary or alternate number/ID so students can meet the requirements of employers and have an opportunity to work at these jobs? Does a State Dept. letter exist that instructs the employer how to use an alternate number/ID until such time as a SSN is obtained?

    Thank you!

    • Francesca, I understand the dilemma. I am not aware of a workaround or letter from the Department of State. I recommend posting your question on a LinkedIn’s “the J-1 Visa Group”. You can find it here.

  • Syed Mustafa
    6 years ago

    I was wondering if the 221g administrative processing, name check/background check happens faster for J visas. It has been three weeks since my interview, still have not heard from the consulate.

    • Syed, some J cases go through administrative processing. This can add anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to the process.