Taxes & Social Security
Obtaining a Social Security Card
Social Security numbers generally are assigned to people who are
authorized to work in the United States in order to report their
wages to the government. Many businesses, such as banks and credit
companies, also ask for your number to access your personal
information and to confirm your identity. A Social Security Card
contains a unique 9-digit identification number that you will need
to present to your employer in order to record your wage information
with several U.S. agencies including but not limited to the Social
Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Services (IRS).
All non-immigrants (F-1, J-1, H1-B, J-2) who are authorized to work
in the U.S. & have a job or job offer for paid employment must have
a social security number. To apply for a Social Security Card you
must visit your nearest Social Security Office and present the
documents listed below.
FOR ALL APPLICANTS:
Prepare and present the following to the Social Security office:
- Letter of Employment Verification
- Tufts Students and Hiring Departments:
Evidence of Employment Letter. Fill it out
and print using a color printer. Then bring it to the I
Center for a signature.
- Tufts Employees: Offer letter from sponsoring department
- Tufts Alumni on OPT: Offer letter from your new employer
Social Security Application form
- Valid passport
- Valid visa document (F-1, Form I-20) (J-1, Form DS-2019)
(H-1B, Form I-797) (Employment Authorization Document) etc.
Normal processing of a Social Security card usually takes about 3
weeks, from the time that you submit your application at the Social
Security office. The Social Security Administration will not accept
your application unless you are presenting them with ALL of the
above-mentioned documentation. In addition, please note the
following conditions depending on your category:
- CURRENT STUDENTS (F-1 and J-1) applying for a Social Security
F-1 and J-1 students must register full time at
Tufts and must have an on-campus job offer before
applying for a Social Security card. Students who
pursue CPT are eligible to apply for a social
security number up to 30 days before the start date
of your paid internship.
- TUFTS EMPLOYEES (STUDENTS and FACULTY):
Be sure to ask the Social Security Administration
for confirmation that you have applied for a number.
Give this receipt letter to the person in your Tufts
sponsoring department that is in charge of
processing the Tufts paperwork to pay you. They will
provide the Tufts Service Center with a copy of this
letter, which will temporarily permit the Service
Center to pay you while you wait for your social
- ALUMNI ON OPT
When an OPT card is issued to an F-1 student, they
need to wait until the "Valid From" date on the card
to apply for an SSN. DHS will not be able to verify
their immigration status before that date. Employer
letters for F-1 students need to include a start
date. Social Security cannot accept offer letters
that state that a start date has not yet been
determined or that the employment is contingent upon
the student obtaining a Social Security number. When
applying for a social security number, the
employment start date must be within 30 days of the
date of application.
Protect Your Social Security Number (SSN) and Card
Protect your Social Security Number (SSN) and card from loss and
identity theft. It is not recommended to carry your SSN card with
you. Keep your card and any other document that shows your SSN in a
safe place. Keep it in a secure location and only take it with you
when you must show the card when applying for a new job, to open a
bank account or benefits from a U.S. agency. Use caution in giving
out your SSN to others, particularly during phone, mail, email and
Internet requests you did not initiate. For more information about
protecting your Social Security number from identity theft please
read this informative brochure from the Social Security
Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number.
Other General Information:
- If you are a Tufts International Student, you will be issued a
seven-digit Tufts Identification Number. This is NOT a Social Security Number;
- International Faculty & Research Scholars sometimes are issued a
temporary number by Tufts Campus Police when applying for their Tufts
Identification card. This, too, is NOT a Social Security Number;
- Faculty & Research Scholars must notify their Tufts Sponsoring
Department and the Payroll Department of their Social Security Number;
- International Students must report their Social Security Number to
the Student Services Desk in Dowling Hall, in order to be paid by
Tufts University. You must show the actual card, not a copy.
Location of the Social Security Office Closest To You:
The telephone number for all Social Security offices is
All Social Security offices are open between 9:00am
and 3:00pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and between 9:00am
and 12:00noon on Wednesday.
- From the Medford Campus, 10 Fawcett Street, Cambridge.
- From the Boston Campus, O'Neil Federal Building, 10 Causeway
- From the Grafton Campus, 51 Myrtle Street, Madison Place
Visit the Social Security website >
To open a Bank Account:
If you need to open a bank account before you obtain your
Social Security Number, explain that you are a newly-arrived
non-immigrant. They will have you complete a W-8 form which permits
you to open a bank account without a Social Security Number.
To obtain a Driver's License:
If you are not eligible for a Social Security Number and need to
obtain a driver's license, present your passport, visa document and
I-94 print out at the Social Security Administration office and
request a "Social Security Denial Letter" for you to present at the
Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Learn more >