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Social Security Numbers (SSN)

Anyone who plans to work (on- or off-campus) will need a Social Security number for payment and tax purposes. Social Security Numbers are only granted to those with work authorization.

Applying for a Social Security Number
  • You must wait at least 3 days after your arrival in the U.S. to apply for a number; this applies any time you go abroad and return to the U.S.
  • Your immigration record must be registered by the Reves Center for you to apply for a number. If you are new to W&M, check with the Reves Center to make sure it is registered. The Reves Center automatically registers the records of those who attend the Reves Center Social Security trip.
  • There is no fee to apply for the number.
  • It usually takes about 2 weeks for your card to arrive in the mail.
  • Social Security Application Forms (pdf) must be submitted in person at the Social Security Office.  The closest office is in Newport News. The Reves Center will arrange a bus trip to the Social Security Office at the beginning of each semester.
  • The following documents are required to apply for a Social Security Number. All documents must be originals. No notarized copies are accepted.
  • Once you receive your Social Security Number, keep it in safe place.  This number will be valid for the rest of your life, and it can be very difficult (and sometimes impossible) to find it out if you lose your card.
F-1 Students with On-campus Employment

(Students must already have a job offer, and may apply for a SSN no earlier than 30 days before the start date of your on-campus job.)

  • SSN Application Form (pdf)
  • Passport
  • I-20
  • I-94 Record. Print this at the Customs & Border Protection website.  If you have difficulty accessing this, contact the Reves Center.  If you last entered the U.S. in May 2013 or prior, use the paper I-94 card in your passport instead.
  • Employer letter (doc)
    • Print out this template, have it signed by your employer, and bring it to the Reves Center.  We will then prepare a DSO letter for you, which will be ready for pick up in 2 business days.
  • DSO Letter
    • A letter from the Reves Center confirming your F-1 status and on campus employment offer. You will need to bring the completed Employer Letter for us to issue a DSO Letter.
F-1 Students with CPT

(Students may apply for a SSN no earlier than 30 days before the start date on their CPT.)

  • SSN Application Form (pdf)
  • Passport
  • I-20 with CPT authorization on page 3
  • I-94 Record. Print this at the Customs & Border Protection website.  If you have difficulty accessing this, contact the Reves Center.  If you last entered the U.S. in May 2013 or prior, use the paper I-94 card in your passport instead.
F-1 Students with OPT

(Students may apply for a SSN no earlier than the start date of their EAD.)

  • SSN Application Form (pdf)
  • Passport
  • I-20
  • I-94 Record. Print this at the Customs & Border Protection website.  If you have difficulty accessing this, contact the Reves Center.  If you last entered the U.S. in May 2013 or prior, use the paper I-94 card in your passport instead.
  • EAD (OPT card)
J-1 Students
  • SSN Application Form (pdf)
  • Passport
  • DS-2019
  • I-94 Record. Print this at the Customs & Border Protection website.  If you have difficulty accessing this, contact the Reves Center.  If you last entered the U.S. in May 2013 or prior, use the paper I-94 card in your passport instead.
    • A letter from the Reves Center that verifies your immigration and enrollment status.When requesting the letter, please bring your passport and I-94 information. Note: If you are on a Musskie, AMIDEAST, or Fulbright DS-2019, you will need a letter from your sponsor, not from us.
J-1 Scholars and J-1 Student Interns
  • SSN Application Form (pdf)
  • Passport
  • DS-2019
  • I-94 Record. Print this at the Customs & Border Protection website.  If you have difficulty accessing this, contact the Reves Center.  If you last entered the U.S. in May 2013 or prior, use the paper I-94 card in your passport instead.
  • Your Invitation letter/contract (this also applies to Language House Tutors) with original signature.
H-1B Employees
  • SSN Application Form (pdf)
  • Passport
  • I-797 Approval Form
  • I-94 Record. Print this at the Customs & Border Protection website.  If you have difficulty accessing this, contact the Reves Center.  If you last entered the U.S. in May 2013 or prior, use the paper I-94 card in your passport instead.  This record may also have come as part of your I-797.
  • Your employment contract
J-2 Dependents (must have work authorization)
  • SSN Application Form
  • Passport
  • DS-2019
  • I-94 Record. Print this at the Customs & Border Protection website.  If you have difficulty accessing this, contact the Reves Center.  If you last entered the U.S. in May 2013 or prior, use the paper I-94 card in your passport instead.
  • EAD: J-2 Work Authorization Card

F-2 and H-4 Dependents are not eligible for a Social Security Number because they are not eligible for work authorization.

For additional information, contact:

Social Security Administration (Newport News Office)
11706 Jefferson Ave, Newport News, VA 23606
(800) 772-1213 or (757) 873-3914
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday - Friday; 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Wednesdays, except holidays.  These hours sometimes change, so check the hours on their website or by calling them before you go.

You will typically have to wait in line (typically 1 hour or more), so allow waiting time.

The Social Security Office has metal detectors, so you may want to leave bags and backpacks at home.

Directions by Car

It takes about 30 minutes by car to reach the Social Security office. Take I-64 East. Exit 258A onto J Clyde Morris and turn right onto Jefferson Avenue at the Casey Chevrolet. The office is located at 11706 Jefferson Ave. It is between the East Coast Gas station and the Extend Stay motel.

If you do not have a car, but  have a foreign or domestic driver's license, renting a zip car is an option, as these cars can be rented by the hour or by the day.  To rent a zip car, you need to have had a driver's license for at least a year, and if you have a foreign license, you also need to obtain a copy of your driving records, translated in English.  Zip car has more information on their website regarding eligibility for driving with a foreign license.

Directions by Bus

You will have to use the Williamsburg Area Transport Bus System as well as the Hampton Roads Transit Bus System. The route is complicated because you are using two bus systems so call ahead and ask for a trip itinerary. 

You can also use the "Get Directions" option in Google Maps, where you can search for directions using public transit. 

The trip will take about 2 hours each way.

Help! I can't get a Social Security Number!