Application Process


The Social Security Administration office must verify a foreign national’s immigration status with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) before issuing an SSN. We recommend that non-U.S. citizens wait ten days following their initial entry into the U.S. before going to the Social Security Office to apply for an SSN. When you apply be sure to get a receipt from the office, verifying that you have applied.

Required Documents

To apply, you must submit originals and complete copies of the following documents to a Social Security Administration office in person:

  • Current Form I-20  for F-1 students
  • Current Form DS-2019 for J-1
  • Valid I-797 Notice of Approval for H-1B and O-1 visa holders
  • Valid passport (copy of passport ID page and renewal page if appropriate)
  • Valid or expired visa stamp, if you have one. Canadians are visa exempt.
  • Current, valid I-94 record of arrival
    • If you entered the U.S. by land or sea, the I-94 white card is usually stapled to your passport.
    • If you entered the U.S. by air, your arrival will be processed electronically by Customs and Border Protection. After you enter the U.S., access and print your electronic I-94 record.
  • Social Security card application

Additional Documents

  • For J-1 Exchange Visitors sponsored by Dartmouth College: Letter of authorization from OVIS verifying eligibility for on-campus or off-campus employment, and the job currently offered or held.  Request the authorization letter.
  • For F-1 students who are working at Dartmouth College: a letter from your immediate supervisor, on department letterhead, verifying your on-campus employment, signed by both your employment supervisor and your OVIS advisor.

This F-1 student letter template is available online (F-1 General and F-1 PhD). Please have your supervisor download it, print it out on department letterhead, complete and sign it in blue ink. You must then bring it to OVIS for certification by your OVIS advisor.

If you are an F-1 student and will be working pursuant to Curricular Practical Training (CPT) at a third party employer, you must obtain a letter of employment from that employer.

SSA guidelines require the F-1 or J-1 employment authorization to be valid for at least 14 days into the future to issue a SSN card.

F-1 and J-1 students: you may not work more than 20 hours per week during enrolled terms. Please make certain that your letter does not indicate more than 20 hours per week.

  • For J-2 dependents: Employment Authorization Document (temporary work card)
  • For H-1B, TN and O-1 status holders: Letter of appointment or employment offer

OVIS recommends carrying a set of photocopies of all documents with the application.

When to Apply

Any individual allowed to work in the U.S. according to their immigration status is eligible to apply for a SSN.

  • F-1 students working on-campus and students working on CPT (Curricular Practical Training) can apply for a SSN no more than 30 days before the start date of their job.
  • F-1 students on OPT (Optional Practical Training), working off-campus, cannot apply for a SSN until the start date on their EAD card.

Where to Apply

There is no local Social Security Administration office in Hanover. OVIS hosts bus trips to the Concord Social Security office during the fall and winter terms. Participation is limited.

Concord, NH
70 Commercial Street, Suite 100, Concord, NH 03301

Keene, NH
9 Elm Street, Keene, NH 03431
(603) 352-3487 or (800) 772-1213

Greyhound Bus Lines leaves out of White River Junction, Vermont, for Keene.

Littleton, NH
177 Main Street, Littleton, NH 03561
(603) 444-2945 or (800) 772-1213