What is a Social Security Number?

A Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number issued by the U.S. government to keep track of earnings and determine the correct rate of tax withholding. It is required by all employers in order to pay employees for any work they do. 

Like most foreign nationals, F-1 international students do not have a Social Security number because they were not born in the U.S. However, F-1 international students who have received the appropriate authorization to work in the United States are eligible to apply for a SSN. A Social Security number does not provide legal authorization to work in the U.S. Once issued, the SSN remains valid for life, even if you leave the U.S. for an extended period and then return.

For more information on Social Security numbers, please see the Frequently Asked Questions in this section.

*Please be advised that individuals without a Social Security number (SSN) are not authorized to work in any capacity at MassArt until a SSN is provided to the Office of Human Resources. The Office of Human Resources is located in the Tower Building, Room 806 and can also be contacted by emailing hr@massart.edu. It is the student’s responsibility to give the SSN to the Human Resources Office as soon as it is received in order to avoid any delays in starting on-campus work or receiving payment.

When Can I Apply for a Social Security Number?

F-1 International Students are legally able to apply for an SSN under one of the following circumstances:

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