Social Security Number (SSN)

IMPORTANT: It has been reported to us that the Social Security Administration Offices have begun providing SSN interview services without an appointment. However, visitors without an appointment may have to wait longer in line. It has also been reported that appointment slots are more readily available at this time. Note that wait times for appointment slots might be be longer again at the beginning of the Fall and Spring terms. We still recommend that you call the closest SSA office first to find out the process for applying for an SSN. It’s possible that you will need to leave information to receive a callback. You can then make a choice about whether you want to walk in or schedule an appointment.    
The two closest SSA offices to George Mason’s Fairfax campus are listed below. SSA office locations can also be found here.    

Reston Social Security Administration Office

Address 1: SUITE 100
10800 PARKRIDGE BLVD
RESTON, VA 20191
Office: 1-866-829-3158
TTY: 1-800-325-0778
Fax: 1-833-950-2605

Alexandria Social Security Administration Office

Address: Suite 200
5510 Cherokee Ave
ALEXANDRIA, VA 22312
Office: 1-800-772-1213
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 documentation 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.
• Effective 1/1/2022, George Mason's International Tax Office will require new international employees to apply for the SSN before completing I-9 forms. The receipt from the SSA stating that the employee successfully applied for the number will be required.

On-campus Employment


Graduate Assistants and Student Wage

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

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: See the New Employee Guide for a detailed checklist of the remaining steps you need to complete.

Off Campus Employment


Academic Training
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Optional Practical Training (OPT)

If you do not have an 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 https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/

  • Click on Get Most Recent I-94 (blue box at the bottom of the page) 
  • Enter your information in the Enter Your Travel Info section and click NEXT 
  • Print your I-94 

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

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

  • Passport
  • Visa
  • I-94
  • Job Offer Letter
  • Enrollment Verification form
  • DS-2019 with Academic Training endorsement or CPT I-20 or OPT I-20 and EAD card  

Important: You should NOT visit the SSA until OIPS has approved your Academic Training or CPT. If you are an OPT applicant, you should not go to the SSA office before you receive your EAD Card.

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

Step 7:Contact the International Tax Office (Merten Hall). 

  • After you have applied for a SSN, contact the International Tax Office to complete your hiring paperwork and I-9 form. See here for their appointment availability or call them at 703-993-5223.  Bring the same documents you submitted to the SSA office and: 
    • Receipt form SSA office 
    • Acceptable documents as proof of identity and work eligibility (See pg. 9 of the I-9 form. (For example, passport, I-94, I797/I-94, I-20 or DS-2019 forms, and/or Employment Authorization cards may be used for this purpose). 
  • After your social security card has arrived in the mail, contact  the International Tax Office again to update your I-9 and tax documents.