You must wait at least ten business days (Monday – Friday) after successfully registering with SEVIS to apply for your Social Security card.

While 10 days after SEVIS registration is the earliest you may apply for a Social Security number, you cannot apply any later than two weeks before the end date on your DS-2019 form. Therefore, if the end date on your DS form is 12/15/2013, you must apply for your Social Security number before 12/1/2013. However, we do not recommend waiting this long, because it may take up to 6 weeks to receive your Social Security card. Be sure to request a Letter of Receipt of Application to take with you before you leave the Social Security office. This is your proof to your Host Company that you applied for Social Security.

What should I do if I lose one or all of my immigration documents before I apply for a Social Security Number? What if I lose these documents after I apply?

You will not be able to apply for a Social Security Number without your passport or DS-2019 form. If your documents were stolen, you must first file a police report before replacing the documents. Apply for the necessary replacement documents below as quickly as possible:

  • To replace your passport, contact your country’s Consulate in New York or Los Angeles
  • To replace your DS-2019, contact your local Alliance Abroad Group (AAG) Outreach Coordinator

If both passport and DS-2019 are missing, apply for these documents at the same time, instead of waiting for the documents to be replaced one at a time. If you lose the documents after you apply, you should quickly pursue the same process listed above.

Typically, applications are rejected when there are name misspellings, birth-dates listed in the wrong order, incorrect ending dates or other errors made at the port of entry (airport). If your application was rejected, contact the Social Security office that rejected it to determine what documents you need to present to correct any mistakes or errors.

Please keep in mind that some Social Security offices are much busier than others. For instance, if you applied at the Social Security office in New York, you might have to wait longer than participants who applied at Social Security officers in more rural areas.  If you have not received your Social Security card after 4 weeks, please contact the local Social Security office to check the status of your application. You should also review each of your documents for possible errors in the spelling of your name, date of birth or visa type. If you find a mistake on one of your forms, contact your local Social Security office immediately to correct the mistake instead of waiting for a rejection letter.


You should have received a signed sponsor letter with your DS-2019 document.  You had to present your sponsor letter during your visa appointment at the Embassy.  If you have lost or never received a sponsor letter, contact your AAG Outreach Coordinator for assistance.  Your AAG Coordinator will make sure that you receive a new sponsor letter right away.

What should I do if I have to leave the United States at the end of my program before receiving my Social Security number? Or, what if I never completed the application process for a Social Security number?

You may be able to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the U.S. Embassy in your home country. If not, when you complete your U.S. income tax return, you should also download Form W-7 Application for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Submit your completed W-7 form and all required documents along with your income tax return to the IRS.