Social Security Number Information
A social security number (SSN) is a life long nine digit number that the U.S. government issues to eligible individuals to track income and number of years worked. All U.S. employees are required to have a social security number to receive payment and to withhold taxes.
Students and scholars who have secured on-campus employment, have PhD fellowships, or have been authorized for off-campus employment may be eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).
- Eligible international students and scholars can apply for a SSN approximately 10-12 days after their initial or most recent entry to the U.S. in their current status.
- Once you obtain your social security card, you should keep it in a safe place. The SSN is a permanent number.
- Only share your SSN with individuals or organizations whom you believe are trustworthy and have a valid reason for needing your SSN.
If you are interested in applying for a driver's licence but you are not eligible for a social security number 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 a SSA office with your immigration documents to request a Denial Letter.
Obtaining an SSN
Depending on your immigration status, and the type of employment that you have been authorized for, follow the guidelines below:
Social Security Offices
Locate your nearest SSA Office using the Social Security Office Locator. According to the Social Security Administration, the Waltham and Cambridge SSA Offices are now open to walk-in appointments. It is no longer necessary to call them first to schedule an appointment or to mail them any documents (unless instructed to). It is not possible to apply for a SSN with an employment start date that is more than 30 days in the future.
If your application is accepted, you will receive a receipt confirming that you have applied for a SSN and your SSN card will arrive in the mail within 2 weeks. Please note that there might be delays in receiving your SSN.
The Waltham SSA Office is located at:
135 Beaver St., Suite 120
Waltham, MA 02452