You are eligible to apply for a social security number if you have F-1 or J-1 student visa status AND one of the following is true:
If you are in F-1 or J-1 status and none of the above apply to you, you are not eligible for a SSN. F2 dependents are not eligible. If you are not eligible, here's what to do when businesses ask for your SSN.
If you are not eligible for the SSN, and you are receiving non-wage payments from Cornell such as fellowship or a grant, here's how to apply for an alternative tax payer ID (ITIN).
If you are an F-1 or J-1 student and you have an on-campus job or assistantship appointment, obtain a letter from ISSO stating that you have the necessary on-campus employment or assistantship appointment to be eligible for a social security number. J-2 dependents do NOT need this letter. If you have off-campus work authorization, you do NOT need ISSO letter, whether you are F-1, J-1, or J-2.
If you are an F-1 or J-1 student and you have an on-campus job or assistantship appointment, obtain either pay stubs from your current on campus appointment or a letter from your appointing department (see below). If you have off-campus work authorization, you do NOT need the paystubs or the letter from your employer. J-2 dependents do NOT need paystubs or the letter.
Hiring Department Letter (F-1 and J-1 Students on-campus employment)
After you have been in the U.S. for AT LEAST 10 days, and your job or appointment has started, take the documents listed below to the Social Security Administration Office. You will receive your Social Security card in the mail within 2-3 weeks.
In general, you will receive your social security number within 2-3 weeks.
Location: 127 W. State St., 2nd floor (in the Greenstate Building)
Phone: (866) 706-8289 (Ithaca) OR: (800) 772-1213 (National Call Center)
Hours: Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm; Wed, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm (except for Federal holidays.)
For more information on a SSN for other non-immigrant visas, visit the Social Security Administration's website.