International students who obtain employment authorization in the U.S. are eligible to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). The SSN is used to pay and tax you correctly for your U.S. based work and is used for other financial transactions in the U.S. 

The SSN does not grant you U.S. work authorization. Your card will be marked with the conditional notation “Valid for Work only with DHS Authorization.” 

You may apply for your SSN based on either an offer of on-campus employment or approved authorization for off-campus employment. 

Certifying Your On-Campus Employment

General information regarding on-campus employment can be found here.

In order to apply for an SSN based on on-campus employment, you must first secure an on-campus employment offer.

  1. Your on-campus supervisor must complete and sign the Hiring Department Information (Part A) of the Certification of On-Campus Employment. 
    • This form must be signed and on Emerson letterhead. We can accept paper copies printed on letterhead with a handwritten signature, or emailed copies saved to PDF with a handwritten or electronic signature.
    • Your employment start date must be within 30 days of the date of the signature.
  2. Once this Certification is signed by your supervisor, please return the form to OISA so we can review and sign the DSO Section (Part B).
    • The completed form can be emailed to oisa [at] emerson.edutitle="Email the Office of International Student Affairs".
    • You may also bring the completed form to OISA during our walk-in hours or during a scheduled appointment with an OISA advisor.

Documenting your Off-Campus Employment Authorization

If you are applying for a SSN based on off-campus employment, you will need to present documentation of your US employment authorization, as follows:

Employment Type Document Needed
F-1 Curricular Practical Training (CPT) Your I-20 with CPT authorization 
F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
F-1 Employment based on Economic Hardship  Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

Applying for Your SSN

Once you have documentation of your US employment authorization, you will then make your application for an SSN at a Social Security Administration office. 

No appointment is required to make your application. This is a walk-in service. 

Go in person to the Social Security Office closest to your address of U.S. residence.

Find your nearest Social Security office here by zip code. 

If you live on the Boston campus:

Social Security Administration
Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Federal Building  
10 Causeway St, Boston, MA 02222  
Phone: 800-772-1213

Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00-4:00 
Closed Federal Holidays.

If you live on the ELA Campus:

Social Security Administration
11500 W Olympic Blvd, Suite 300
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone: 800-772-1213

Hours: Monday-Friday 9:00-4:00 
Closed Federal Holidays.

Bring the following original documents with you to your appointment

Beginning your On-Campus Work based on your SSN Appointment Receipt

Once you present your documents to the Social Security Administration, you will receive a receipt for this appointment. 

This receipt will allow you to begin your employment at Emerson College while you wait for your SSN to arrive. To begin employment based on your receipt, please email your receipt to the Office of International Student Affairs at oisa [at] emerson.edutitle="Email the Office of International Student Affairs"

It is imperative that you report your SSN to Student Employment as soon as you receive it so that we can update your student record for payment and tax purposes. 

Reporting your approved SSN card

Your Social Security Number card should arrive in the mail within about 2 weeks after your appointment to the US address listed on your application.  

One you have received your card by mail, you will need to bring the original card in person to the Student Employment Office to update your record. 


Union Bank Building, 216 Tremont St, 4th Floor


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m 

Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Please make sure to do this as soon as possible after receiving your card!

Keeping your SSN card and number confidential

Be sure to keep both your new card and number confidential.

Protecting your Social Security Number is important to prevent identity theft that can harm your financial credit in the U.S. Do not forward a picture of your SSN card by email or confirm your actual number to our office. Your new number should only be reported to through secure channels and to trusted offices where you have financial dealings (payroll, taxes, banks, credit card applications). At Emerson your number should be reported only to Student Employment, Financial Aid and Payroll through secure channels. 

Make sure to store your Social Security card securely with other important documents. The card should be signed, but should not be laminated as this invalidates the card.