Social Security Number (SSN) Application Protocol

August 1, 2022

If you will be working on campus at Harvard and earning U.S. income, you will need to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) for tax purposes.

You may find full details on the application process, including the required documents to apply, here. Please note, the application will require you to go in person to a Social Security office during their walk in hours. An appointment is not needed to apply for an SSN.

Your visa status determines your eligibility and required documents for the SSN application:

  • J-1, H-1B, and O-1 Research Scholars do not need a letter from the HIO to apply for an SSN.
  • J-1 Students and J-1 Student Interns need a letter from the HIO first before applying for an SSN.
  • F-1 Students must be working on campus, or have a period of approved OPT or CPT, to qualify for an SSN. If you are working on campus at Harvard as an F-1 visa holder, you must obtain a letter from your employer using this template and a letter from the HIO prior to applying for the SSN.

Students requiring a letter from the HIO must make the request through the HIO’s SSN Letter Request Form. Please review the full application instructions on the HIO’s SSN page.

Please note, newly arriving students, scholars, and student interns MUST register with the HIO first, and receive confirmation that the registration has been completed, before beginning the SSN request process.