Social Security Card

On This Page

Social Security Offices COVID Changes

As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Social Security Administration suspended regular face-to-face service to the public in offices nationwide until further notice. Procedures for applying may vary by location and mail-in applications may not be available.

For more information please visit

About Social Security Numbers

Any student who will work in the U.S. must apply for a Social Security Number. The employer must use the SSN to report wages and taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA). F-1 students are eligible to apply for an SSN after they have received an offer of employment that meets SSA standards. 

If You Have a Social Security Number

UB's Office of the Registrar must get your correct identifying number to file certain information returns with the IRS. For students, this will be your social security number (SSN) or, if you are not eligible to obtain an SSN, your individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

After receiving your SSN, you must report it to the University using Form W-9(S). This form is also used for students who need to provide or correct their SSN or ITIN on file.

Questions on submitting your Form W-9(S)?

Contact the Office of the Registrar for assistance.

When You Do & Don't Need a Social Security Card

General Information

Social Security numbers are not general purpose ID’s. If a business representative or service provider asks you for a Social Security number, carefully consider if it's necessary.

You should not need a Social Security number to: 

  • Open a bank account
  • Rent an apartment
  • Open a utility account (e.g. electricity, gas)
  • Set up a cell phone account
  • Register your children for school
  • Conduct business with financial institutions

The only exceptions should be business providers who require a credit check before doing business with you or opening an online account for you.

When do you need a Social Security number?

> Read advice from the Social Security Administration

If You Are Not Working In The U.S.

If you are not working in the U.S., you also do not need a Social Security number to submit tax forms (e.g. Form 8843) to the Internal Revenue Service, which is the U.S. government’s tax agency. For this purpose, you should apply instead for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). For information on how to do this at UB, please contact Human Resources' International Services.

If You Are Working In The U.S.

In order to work in the U.S., you will need a Social Security Number. To obtain one, you will have to document that you are eligible to work in the U.S. 

How to Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)

Applying in Buffalo?

After submitting your e-form in UB Global, you will receive information by email from ISS with details on how to make an appointment with the Social Security Administration (SSA). At this time please do not call the SSA office directly.

Due to SSA health and safety protocols, you must be in the U.S. for at least 14 days before your can make an in-person appoitnment to submit your apllciation to the Social Security administration.

What You Need to Take to the Social Security Office

How do I request a DSO or ARO letter?

Follow the directions below to submit a request to ISS:

  • Login to UB Global using your UBIT Name and Password.
  • Find the e-form:
    • F-1 Students: Click on “F-1 Student Services” and then “Social Security DSO Letter Request.” 
    • J-1 Students: Click on “J-1 Student Services” and then “Social Security ARO Letter Request.”
  •  You must complete the entire e-form and upload a copy of your On-Campus Employment Letter. Generally this is issued by your employer's Human Resources (HR).
    • This letter must be on letterhead and is different from your offer letter.     
    • Only documents saved as a PDF or JPEG are acceptable.

Tips for Completing the Social Security Card Application Form

  • Citizenship – Check “Legal Alien Allowed to Work”
  • Mother’s Maiden Name – Please put the name your mother had before marriage (if it was different). 
  • Mother’s Social Security Number – If your mother ever lived in the U.S. and had a Social Security Number, put it here. If not, leave this blank.
  • Father’s Social Security Number – If your father ever lived in the U.S. and had a Social Security Number, put it here. If not, leave this blank.
  • Mailing Address = Your Residence in Buffalo

If you do not have a residence in Buffalo yet, it is best to wait to apply for a card when you have one. 

The U.S. Post Office will not forward your Social Security Card or deliver it to you at another person’s address. Do not use c/o addresses! 

Be sure your name is on your mailbox.

Social Security Office Information

There are two local Social Security Offices that UB international students use. One is located in downtown Buffalo and the other is located in West Seneca.

No Backpacks Allowed

Backpacks are not permitted in Social Security Offices.

Need to contact your local office?

You can look up the phone number for your local Social Security office by accessing their office locator.