Social Security and ITIN

Social Security and ITIN

Spring 2021 update: See the What Do I Need to Apply? section below for the document SSN application requirements for your U.S. immigration status. You may either mail your documents or call to secure an appointment to apply for your SSN:

Mail photocopies of all required documents to the Holyoke SSA. Do not mail your original documents for your SSN application. Make sure you include your contact information with your photocopies.

OR

Call (877) 480-4989 to schedule an appointment.

Holyoke MA SSA contact information:

200 High Street, Holyoke, MA 01040
Ph. (877) 480-4989


Social Security Number (SSN)

A Social Security Number (SSN) is used by employers and employees for the purpose of reporting individual employee earnings for tax purposes. The SSN is valid for life, so you only need to apply once. A SSN is also often used for a variety of unofficial purposes, such as opening phone, utility, or bank/credit card accounts, however you can do all those transactions without an SSN.

Social Security Denial Letter

Spring 2021 Update: Fax copies of the following documents to 833-902-2526. You should include copies of your completed SS-5 application (write “looking for denial” at the top of this application), passport, and I-20 or DS-2019.

A Social Security Denial Letter may be needed as proof of ineligibility. This may be the case for applying for a Driver’s License, you must have a SSN or a Denial Letter indicating your ineligibility.

International Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

The International Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and is for international students and scholars who are not eligible for an SSN.  


SSN Eligibility Requirements 

  • Currently present in the U.S. in a visa category that allows the request of a Social Security Number
  • Current F-1 student:
  • Current J-1 student:
    • Offer of on campus employment or approval for off campus employment signed off by the IPO. See the What Do I Need to Apply? section below.
  • If current J-1 scholar:
    • Eligible upon entry to the U.S. and validation by the International Programs Office
    • If applying at the Holyoke Social Security Office, a letter signed by IPO will be required
  • If current H-1B, TN, O-1 scholar:
    • Eligible upon entry to the U.S.

*Dependent visa holders ARE NOT eligible for a Social Security Number. The ONLY exception is for J-2 dependents who apply for the work authorization document through USCIS. This process takes 3-4 months.

*You cannot apply for a SSN abroad or online. Applications must be done in person at the nearest Social Security Office.


What Do I Need to Apply?

F-1 Student:

  • Form SS-5 (Social Security Number Application)
    • On Question 5 of the SS-5, check off “Legal Alien Allowed to Work”
  •  Employment Verification Letter on official department letterhead: once you have obtained your signed SSN letter (see this F-1 sample letter) from your UMass employer, you may request an IPO signature through this E-Form. (Login with your NETID and password, choose Amherst as your campus).
  • Most recent original I-20 (no copies)
  • Valid Passport with F-1 visa stamp and entry stamp (no copies)
    • If your entry stamp is missing or you did not receive this, print out your I-94

J-1 Exchange Visitor:

  • Form SS-5 (Social Security Number Application)
    • On Question 5 of the SS-5, check off “Legal Alien Allowed to Work”
  • If J-1 Student:
    • Employment Verification Letter on official letterhead
      • Must be signed by an advisor at the IPO. Request your SSN letter through this E-Form. (Login with your NETID and password, choose Amherst as your campus).
      • If program sponsor is NOT UMass Amherst, must obtain original letter authorizing SSN
  • If J-1 Scholar:
    • Original SSN Letter signed by IPO staff
      • If UMass is NOT the program sponsor, you must obtain original letter authorizing SSN request
  • Most recent original DS-2019 (no copies)
  • Valid Passport with J-1 visa stamp and entry stamp (no copies)
    • If your entry stamp is missing or you did not receive this, print out your I-94

J-2 Dependent:

  • If applying for Work Authorization, request the SSN on Form I-765 pg. 2

H-1B/O-1:

TN:

Visit the Social Security Administration website for current information. Use these instructions when applying in-person at a Social Security Administration Office. 

Applications usually take 3-4 weeks to process but can take as long as 2 months. If you have not received your card in the mail within 2 months of application, you will need to contact the office where you submitted your SSN application.


Where Can I Apply?

You can apply in person at a Social Security Administration Office. The closest SSA office is located in Holyoke, MA.

200 High Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
Ph. (877) 480-4989

Hours
Monday  9:00am – 4:00pm
Tuesday  9:00am – 4:00pm
Wednesday  9:00am – 12:00pm
Thursday  9:00am – 4:00pm
Friday  9:00am – 4:00pm

By Car from UMass: Take I-91 South and get off at exit 17. Take a left onto MA-141 East, toward Holyoke Center. Turn left onto Easthampton Street and continue onto Dwight Street. Turn left onto High Street. The current estimated travel time is approximately 30 minutes (one-way).

By Bus from UMass: Use the PVTA Trip Planner to get to "200 High Street, Holyoke, MA". The current shortest estimated travel time is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes (one-way).


ITIN

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number only available for certain nonresident and resident aliens, their spouses, and dependents who cannot get a Social Security Number (SSN). It is a 9-digit number, beginning with the number "9", formatted like an SSN (NNN-NN-NNNN). An ITIN may expire. If you wish to continue using the ITIN, you must renew your ITIN.

The ITIN does not:

  • entitle the recipient to social security benefits
  • indicate immigration status
  • give the right to work in the U.S.

The ITIN cannot be used in place of an SSN (if eligible for the latter) for tax and wage reporting.

How do I apply for an ITIN?

To obtain an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. The Form W-7 requires documentation substantiating foreign/alien status and true identity for each individual. Allow 7 weeks for the IRS to notify you of your ITIN application status (9 to 11 weeks if you submit the application during peak processing periods (January 15 through April 30) or if you’re filing from overseas). After processing, the IRS will issue your ITIN through the mail.


Where to Apply?

Option 1 (Not recommended. It is very easy to lose original documents.)

Mail your W-7, tax return, proof of identity, and foreign status documents to:

Internal Revenue Service
Austin Service Center
ITIN Operation
P.O. Box 149342
Austin, TX 78714-9342

You will file Form W-7 with your initial tax return to the address above. In subsequent years, when you have an ITIN, you will file your tax return as directed in the form instructions.

Option 2

Apply for an ITIN in-person using the services of an IRS-authorized Certified Acceptance Agent. This will prevent you from having to mail your proof of identity and foreign status documents.

Option 3

Make an appointment at a designated IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center. This will also prevent you from having to mail your proof of identity and foreign status documents.