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Social Security Numbers and Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers

U.S. federal law requires all individuals employed in the U.S. to have a Social Security Number (SSN). SSNs are issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and are used to track income and tax wages.  They are only issued for the purpose of tracking income from employment. The Social Security Administration will not issue an SSN for the purpose of opening a bank account or obtaining a driver's license, utilities or a credit card.

An SSN is not required to begin employment, but must be obtained immediately after being hired.

NOTE: Those students who receive taxable scholarships, grants or stipends from U.S. sources, but are not employed in the U.S. (e.g. sponsored students and student athletes), must apply for the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

F-1 and J-1 students Employed On Campus

To be eligible to apply for a Social Security Number, F-1 and J-1 students must be employed or have a promise of employment from a department on-campus.  In addition, your immigration record must have been registered by the Slutzker Center for International Services and that registration must have been downloaded in federal government databases.  It may take 10 days for the Social Security Administration to be able to view your record.  The Slutzker Center will advise you about when we believe it is appropriate to make your application.

To apply for a Social Security Number based on On Campus Employment:

  1. Obtain from your on campus employing department an  Employer Verification Form (EVF) printed on departmental letterhead with Part A completed by your employer.
  2. Take the EVF (along with documentation of your identity and your on-campus work permission (e.g. passport, I-20, I-94 print out) to Student Employment in 210 Steele Hall to complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form; Student Employment will complete Part B
  3. Bring the EVF to the Slutzker Center for completion of Part C
  4. You will receive an email from the Slutzker Center when your EVF is completed and ready for pick up and with further instructions about applying for a Social Security Number.
  5. Complete an Application for a Social Security Card - Make sure to provide a valid mailing address
  6. Take the following documents to the Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration Office is located at:

Federal Building
100 S. Clinton Street
Syracuse, NY

Hours:  Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Wednesday, 9:00 am – 12 noon
Closed:  Saturday and Sunday

If you are not in Syracuse, please check for your nearest local office with the Social Security Administration

  1. Request a RECEIPT for your application and submit a copy of with your SUID number to Payroll at payroll@syr.edu
  • When you receive your SSN card in the mail (in approximately 7-10 days), email payroll@syr.edu and tell them you received your SSN. 
  • Complete the Non-Resident Alien Information Form.  
    • To obtain access, email Payroll at payroll@syr.edu with your SUID.
    • The data collected allows SU to determine your tax withholding status.
    • Any questions you may have regarding the Non-Resident Alien Information Form should be directed to Payroll at payroll@syr.edu. The Slutzker Center will not be able to answer questions related to this form.

Useful Link - SSA: International Students and Social Security Numbers

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)

An Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is a number assigned to individuals by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  The IRS is the United States agency responsible for tracking income and collecting taxes. 

The ITIN is used as a way to identify individuals who have to file a tax return, but are not eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN) because they are not employed.

If you are an F-1/J-1 student who does NOT have a Social Security Number (SSN) and who is NOT working, but will be receiving income from a US source (scholarship, fellowship, grant, stipend), then you are eligible for an ITIN.

If you have an F-2/J-2 dependent and are from a country that allows dependents to be claimed on your income tax return, then they are also eligible for an ITIN.

When should I apply for my ITIN?

  • You can apply for your ITIN shortly after you arrive in the US, once your immigration record has been activated in the SEVIS system (i.e. after you have registered full-time at SU)
  • You can wait and file your ITIN application when you file your tax return.  Dependents (F-2/J-2) must apply for an ITIN when the primary (F-1/J-1) files their tax return.

NOTE: J-1 sponsored students (Fulbright, IIE, LASPAU, etc.) should check with their program sponsor about how and when they should apply for an ITIN

 To apply for an ITIN because you receive a scholarship, fellowship, grant, stipend:

  1. Complete IRS Form W-7 (Application for ITIN)
    • click here for detailed instructions on how to complete the form
  2. Complete IRS Form W-8BEN and submit it to Payroll (keep a copy for your records) 
    • click here for detailed instructions on how to complete the form
  3. Obtain a Certification Letter from the Slutzker Center
  • You may obtain a Certification Letter during walk-in hours (M-F, 11-3) or call 315-443-2457 to schedule an appointment with a Slutzker Center advisor

Bring the following with you to the Slutzker Center:

  1. Completed Form W-7
  2. Copy of completed Form W-8BEN
  3. Passport and visa
  4. I-20/DS-2019
  5. Printout of electronic I-94
  6. Award letter for your fellowship, scholarship, or grant

NOTE: You may apply for an ITIN without obtaining a Certification Letter from SCIS, however that requires that you mail your original passport and other supporting documentation to the IRS, and we strongly recommend against mailing your passport. 

  • The Slutzker Center will mail your ITIN application to the IRS
  • You should receive your ITIN within 6-8 weeks
  • If, after waiting 6-8 weeks, you have still not received your ITIN, you can call the IRS to find out the status of your application.
    • Call 1-800-829-1040 if you are in the United States
    • Call 267-941-1000 (not a toll-free number) if you are outside of the United States
  • Complete the Non-Resident Alien Information Form
    • This form allows Payroll to know how to properly deduct taxes from your payments
    • To obtain access to the form, email Payroll at payroll@syr.edu with your SUID number
    • Any questions about this form should be directed to Payroll

If you are filing your ITIN application with your tax return: 

  • Complete your federal tax return 
    • The Slutzker Center offers SU international students and scholars free access to specialized tax software.  For more information, visit the Tax section of our website.
  • Complete IRS Form W-7 (Application for ITIN);
    • click here for detailed instructions on how to complete the form
    • If you utilize the SPRINTAX software, it will automatically fill in Form W-7 for you
  • Complete IRS Form W-8BEN and submit it to Payroll (keep a copy for your records) 
    • click here for detailed instructions on how to complete the form
  • Obtain a Certification Letter from the Slutzker Center

You may obtain a Certification Letter during walk-in hours (M-F, 11-3) or call 315-443-2457 to schedule an appointment with a Slutzker Center advisor

Bring the following with you to the Slutzker Center:

  1. Completed Form W-7
  2. Copy of completed Form W-8BEN
  3. Passport and visa
  4. I-20/DS-2019
  5. Printout of electronic I-94
  6. Award letter for your fellowship, scholarship, or grant

NOTE: You may apply for an ITIN without obtaining a Certification Letter from SCIS, however that requires that you mail your original passport and other supporting documentation to the IRS, and we strongly recommend against mailing your passport. 

  • Assemble your application in the following order:
  1. Certification Letter
  2. Completed Form W-7
  3. Copy of completed W-8BEN
  4. Copies of passport and visa
  5. Copy of I-20/DS-2019
  6. Your completed US tax return
  • Make a copy of your application to keep for your own records
  • Mail your application to:

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

  • The IRS will process your ITIN application and then send it to the tax return processing unit
  • You should receive your ITIN within 6-8 weeks
    • If, after waiting 6-8 weeks, you have still not received your ITIN, you can call the IRS to find out the status of your application.
      • Call 1-800-829-1040 if you are in the United States
      • Call 267-941-1000 (not a toll-free number) if you are outside of the United States
  • Login and complete the Non-Resident Alien Information Form
    • This form allows Payroll to know how to properly deduct taxes from your payments using the Foreign National Information System (FNIS).
    • To obtain access to the form, email Payroll at payroll@syr.edu with your SUID number
    • Any questions about this form should be directed to Payroll