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.
All local Social Security offices are currently closed to the public for in-person service due to COVID-19. However, the SSA may be able to offer an in-office appointment for a new card request based on available staff and office operating status. You can apply for an SSN at any SSA office. Please visit the Social Security Administration COVID-19 website for the most up-to-date information.
Applying for a Social Security Number
- You can only apply for a Social Security Number once you have arrived in the U.S.
- Your immigration record must be registered by the Reves Center for you to apply for a number, if you are in F-1 or J-1 status. If you are new to W&M, check with the Reves Center to make sure it is registered; returning students and scholars who were at W&M the previous semester have already been registered. New students and scholars must complete the immigration check-in and have it approved before applying. 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 - 3 weeks for your card to arrive in the mail. If you applied at the Newport News Social Security Office, and do not receive your card within 3 weeks, contact [[ehbailey, Emily Bailey]].
- 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 a 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.
Documents needed when Applying
F-1 Students working at W&M or VIMS
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.
F-1 Students with CPT
Students may apply for a SSN no earlier than 30 days before the start date on their CPT.
F-1 Students with OPT or an EAD card
Students may apply for a SSN no earlier than the start date of their EAD.
J-1 Scholars and J-1 Student Interns
J-2 Dependents (must have work authorization)
F-2 and H-4 Dependents are not eligible for a Social Security Number because they are not eligible for work authorization.
Social Security Administration
11706 Jefferson Ave, Newport News, VA 23606
(800) 772-1213 or (757) 873-3914
9am to 3pm, Monday - Friday; 9am to 12pm, Wednesdays, except holidays. These hours sometimes change, so check the hours on their website or by calling before you go.
There are other Social Security offices located all over the U.S.; it is fine to apply at any of them. 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 Transit 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.
Google Maps also has an option to search for routes using public transportation.
The trip will take about 2 hours each way.