In order to be issued a social security card, your data must appear in a database the SSA office uses to verify your legal non-immigrant status.
- It generally takes 12-15 days after the Port of Entry date stamped on your I-20 or DS-2019 for the Port of Entry officials to enter your information in the database. Because of this, the SSA Office encourages you not to submit your SSN application until you have been in the U.S. at least 12-15 days.
- If you choose to submit your application early and your data is not yet in the database, your application will then be forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for further review which usually adds an additional 2-6 weeks to the normal processing of your social security application.
- If you apply for the SSN 12-15 days after arriving in the U.S., it will take approximately 6 weeks for the social security card to arrive at the mailing address on the SSN application form. Going to the SSA Office to check on the status of the application will not help, since once it is submitted, the process is not in the hands of local officials. Therefore, please DO NOT inquire about the status of an application before the end of 6 weeks.
The address you use on your SSN application is very important. An incomplete or wrong address, or one sent to a friend's house will prevent the U.S. Postal Service from delivering your social security card and it will send it back to the SSA.
use the term "c/o" as part of the address. ISS advises students to apply for an SSN only after they get a permanent address.