International Students and Scholars Office

Social Security Number Information

A Social Security number (SSN) is a lifelong nine-digit number that the U.S. government issues to eligible individuals to track income and the number of years worked. U.S. employers will request a social security number from all employees.  

Students and scholars who have secured a position at Brandeis, on-campus employment, research appointments, PhD fellowships, or have been authorized for off-campus employment may be eligible to apply for a Social Security number (SSN).

If you are not eligible for a Social Security number but you are interested in applying for a driver's license, you can request a Denial Letter from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to apply for a Massachusetts Learner's Permit/Driver's License/State ID. You must go in person, to an SSA office with your immigration documents to request a Denial Letter.

Obtaining an SSN

Depending on your immigration status and employment authorization there may be different processes to follow to apply for a Social Security number.  

Follow the appropriate guidelines below: 

Once you have gathered all of the required documents to apply for an SSN in your specific situation, you will need to go to the Social Security Administration Office to apply for your SSN in person. 

To locate the nearest SSA Office use the Social Security Office Locator. The Social Security Administration offices in Waltham and Cambridge are now open to walk-ins. No appointments are necessary.

The Waltham SSA Office is located at:

135 Beaver St., Suite 120
Waltham, MA 02452

 If your SSN application is accepted, you will receive a receipt confirming that you have applied for an SSN. For more detailed information on how to apply for an SSN, visit the Social Security Administration website.

After you apply for an SSN, your Social Security card will be sent to you by mail within 12-15 business days at the address that you indicated on your SSN Application. Once you receive your card, keep it in a safe place and be cautious about sharing it with others. Remember that once you have a Social Security number, you do not need to apply for another one.

Keep in mind that having a Social Security number does not authorize you for employment. For information on employment authorization please visit the Employment/Internship page on our website.