A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique number issued by the Social Security Administration of the U.S. government to eligible applicants. The SSN is used by employers for payroll and U.S. tax reporting on individual employees. Individuals use the SSN for U.S. tax filings, and it may be required to open a bank account, or to purchase a car or home. The SSN is valid for life, so individuals only apply once.
If you receive compensation while in the U.S. for such things as employment, scholarship, stipend or loans, you may need an SSN for federal income tax filing and related tax compliance. Employers who compensate individuals also must use the employee’s SSN for their own federal tax compliance and confirmation that the individual has the appropriate authorization to accept payment in the United States.
Any individual allowed to work in the U.S. according to their immigration status is eligible to apply for an SSN. J-1, H-1B, TN and O-1 status individuals are all automatically eligible to apply for SSNs. F-1 Students with an offer of employment are eligible to apply for a Social Security number. Individuals in J-2 status (dependents of J-1) who have applied for and received an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) work card may also apply for a Social Security number.