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Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN)

F-1 and J-1 visa holders who are employed in the United States are required to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). The SSN is a nine-digit number that is used to track individuals for taxation purposes. Individuals without work authorization are not eligible for a SSN. This includes non-employed F-1 and J-1 students; F-2 dependents; and non-employed J-2 dependents.

Prior to applying, you must complete your check-in with International Student Affairs. You must apply for the SSN directly at one of the local Social Security Offices. The closest office is at:

14 Compass Point
Martinsburg, WV 25404
(telephone 866-416-1919)

You can also use the Social Security Office Locator to find the appropriate location based on your residential address and to verify hours of operation. Plan to arrive well before closing time to insure that you will receive service that day.

Prior to visiting the Social Security office, you should review the information sheet, complete the application form available on the Social Security website and prepare the documents below: 

F-1 Visa Classification

1. F-1 On-Campus (Includes Stipends of Fellowships and Assistantships)

2. F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

3. F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT)

J-1 & J-2 Visa Classifications

1. J-1 Student On-Campus (Includes: Living Stipends of Fellowships and Assistantships)

2. J-1 Student Academic Training

3. J-2 Dependent (Please refer to J-2 Employment Authorization Procedures)