Social Security Number (SSN)

IMPORTANT: During the coronavirus emergency, the Social Security office have established new rules for applications for a Social Security Number (SSN). Call the Social Security office closest to you to find out the process for applying for an SSN.  You may need to wait on hold for some time before you are able to talk to a representative.  If the representative says they will do a follow up call, it may take 1-2 days.  You should be sure to answer any unknown numbers during this time to avoid missing their call.    
Otherwise, you can try to make an appointment at the local SSA office. Appointments are scheduled based on staff availability. The local office information can be found here. Below is the information for the two offices closest to Mason:    

Fairfax Social Security Administration Office

Address 1: SUITE 105
11212 WAPLES MILL RD
FAIRFAX, VA 22030
Office: 1-866-829-3158
TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Fax: 1-833-950-2605

Alexandria Social Security Administration Office

Address: PLAZA 500 STE 190
6295 EDSALL RD
ALEXANDRIA, VA 22312
Office: 1-888-472-2402
TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Fax: 1-833-950-2294

Important

Please note the following requirements for appointments:
• Offices will make appointments only for applicants filing for original Social Security Numbers (SSNs). (Visitors previously issued an SSN can call to request a printout.) Appointments are available only two weeks after visitors have entered the country, and only if exchange visitors do not display symptoms of COVID-19.
• Local offices will determine the number and availability of appointments based on office size, availability of staff, and jurisdictionally specific guidelines. The local office has discretion to determine how many applicants it can establish appointments for at a time.
• In addition, it is not advised to directly contact offices outside of the visitor’s jurisdiction. However, if an office has no availability, it would be appropriate to ask for assistance in locating an office that does.
• SSA will take the applications at least 14 days (and preferably 30 days) prior to the expiration of documents (i.e., the end of the visitors’ program).
• Once visitors secure interview appointments, they must complete the paper Form SS-5 and bring it and the required original supporting documentations to the interview. SSA staff will conduct the mandatory face-to-face interview and make copies of the original documentation. The SSA office will process the documentation and mail a receipt to the applicant. Within ten days, the SSN card should follow.
• The SSA confirmed that visitors who are awaiting appointments can submit to their employers a completed Form SS-5. Exchange visitors should submit the receipt and their SSN as they become available.

On-campus Employment


If you do not have a SSN and your first employment is an on-campus job, please follow the steps below:

More info

Step 1: Before getting started, please confirm the following:

  • You must have an “active” SEVIS record. Make sure you have already checked in at least 5 days prior at the Office of International Programs and Services at the beginning of your first semester of study at Mason so that your SEVIS record can be activated.
  • Also you must have arrived in the United States no less than 5 business days prior to applying for a social security number to allow the SAVE database to accurately reflect your arrival.

Step 2: Go to the OIPS Self-Service Center and download the On-Campus Employment Certification form (OCEC)

  • Complete section 1

Step 3: Visit Your Hiring Department

  • Obtain your job offer letter and hiring documents.
  • Have your supervisor complete section 2 of the On-Campus Employment Certification form.

Step 4: Visit the Office of International Programs and Services

  • Bring your job offer letter and On-Campus Employment Certification form in order to have an OIPS advisor sign section 3.
  • If you are an INTO Mason student or China 1-2-1 student, you must also get a signature in section 4.
  • Mason J-1 visa holders: Obtain a letter of authorization to apply for a social security number.

Note: J-1 visa holders not sponsored by Mason: It is not necessary to visit OIPS, but you should confirm with your program sponsor that you have authorization to work on campus and apply for a social security number.

Step 5: Download an Enrollment Verification

  • The enrollment verification is usually available 7 days after you register for classes.
  • Go to Patriot Web, click the “Student Services” tab and go to “Student Records”.

Step 6: Download a copy of your I-94 from www.cbp.gov

Step 7: Complete the Social Security Application form (SS-5)

  • Download this form from the Security Administration’s website www.ssa.gov

Step 8: Visit the Social Security Administration office with the following items:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-20/DS-2019
  • I-94
  • Job Offer Letter
  • On-Campus Employment Certification form
  • Enrollment Verification form

Step 9: After visiting the Social Security Administration:

Step 10: After your social security card arrives in the mail:

  • Visit the International Tax Office to update your I-9 and tax documents.

Academic Training (AT)


If you do not have a SSN and your first employment is Academic Training, please follow the steps below:

More info

Step 1: Before getting started, please confirm the following:

  • You must have an “active” SEVIS record. Make sure you have already checked in at least 5 days prior at the Office of International Programs and Services at the beginning of your first semester of study at Mason so that your SEVIS record can be activated.
  • Also you must have arrived in the United States no less than 5 business days prior to applying for a social security number to allow the SAVE database to accurately reflect your arrival.

Step 2: Visit your Employer's Hiring Department

  • Obtain your job offer letter and hiring documents.

Step 3: Download an Enrollment Verification

  • The enrollment verification is usually available 7 days after you register for classes.
  • Go to Patriot Web, click the “Student Services” tab and go to “Student Records”.

Step 4: Download a copy of your I-94 from www.cbp.gov

Step 5: Complete the Social Security Application form (SS-5)

  • Download this form from the Security Administration’s website www.ssa.gov

Step 6: Visit the Social Security Administration office with the following items:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • DS-2019 with AT endorsement
  • I-94
  • Job Offer Letter
  • Enrollment Verification form

Important: You should NOT visit the SSA until OIPS has approved your AT.

If your employer is Mason (e.g. teaching position), you will also need to complete step 7:

Step 7: Visit the International Tax Office

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)


If you do not have a SSN and your first employment is CPT, please follow the steps below:

More info

Step 1: Before getting started, please confirm the following:

  • You must have an “active” SEVIS record. Make sure you have already checked in at least 5 days prior at the Office of International Programs and Services at the beginning of your first semester of study at Mason so that your SEVIS record can be activated.
  • Also you must have arrived in the United States no less than 5 business days prior to applying for a social security number to allow the SAVE database to accurately reflect your arrival.

Step 2: Visit your employer's hiring department

  • Obtain your job offer letter and hiring documents.

Step 3: Download an Enrollment Verification

  • The enrollment verification is usually available 7 days after you register for classes.
  • Go to Patriot Web, click the “Student Services” tab and go to “Student Records”.

Step 4: Download a copy of your I-94 from www.cbp.gov

Step 5: Complete the Social Security Application form (SS-5)

  • Download this form from the Security Administration’s website www.ssa.gov

Step 6: Visit the Social Security Administration office with the following items:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • CPT I-20
  • I-94
  • Job Offer Letter
  • Enrollment Verification form

Important: You should NOT visit the SSA until OIPS has approved your CPT.

If your employer is Mason (e.g. teaching position), you will also need to complete step 7:

Step 7: Visit the International Tax Office

Optional Practical Training (OPT)


If you do not have a SSN and your first employment is OPT, please follow the steps below:

More info

Step 1: Before getting started, please confirm the following:

  • You must have an “active” SEVIS record. Make sure you have already checked in at least 5 days prior at the Office of International Programs and Services at the beginning of your first semester of study at Mason so that your SEVIS record can be activated.
  • Also you must have arrived in the United States no less than 5 business days prior to applying for a social security number to allow the SAVE database to accurately reflect your arrival.

Step 2: Visit your employer's hiring department

  • Obtain your job offer letter and hiring documents.

Step 3: Download a copy of your I-94 from www.cbp.gov

Step 4: Complete the Social Security Application form (SS-5)

  • Download this form from the Security Administration’s website www.ssa.gov

Step 5: Visit the Social Security Administration office with the following items:

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • EAD card (you should not apply for a SSN until you have received your EAD card)
  • I-20
  • I-94
  • Job Offer Letter

If your employer is Mason (e.g. teaching position), you will also need to complete step 6:

Step 6: Visit the International Tax Office

  • After you have applied for a SSN, Please visit the International Tax Office in Merten Hall, room 4422 (walk-in hours, 9am-4pm) or in Founders Hall, room 222 (Monday, 11am-4:30pm, by scheduled appointment only; please email inttax@gmu.edu to schedule appointment) to complete your hiring paperwork and your I-9 form. (Bring Job offer letter; Receipt from Social Security office; Proof of your identity and work eligibility, e.g. passport, I-94, I-20 or DS-2019 forms). Click here for I-9 instructions.
  • After your social security card has arrived in the mail, please visit the International Tax Office again to update your I-9 and tax documents.