Social Security Numbers

Social Security numbers are generally assigned to people who are authorized to work in the United States. Social Security numbers are used to report your wages to the government and to determine eligibility for Social Security benefits. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the International Student Advisor.

What do I have to do to work in the United States?
How do I apply for a Social Security number?
Where do I apply for a Social Security number in Tacoma?
Do I need a Social Security number before I start working?

What do I have to do to work in the United States?

If you want to get a job on campus, you should contact the International Student Advisor Sally Sprenger. Sally can tell you if you are eligible to work on campus and give you information about available jobs. Also, Puget Sound may approve certain limited off-campus employment, as permitted under Department of Homeland Security regulations. If Puget Sound has authorized you to work either on or off campus, and you meet Social Security’s eligibility requirements, you can get a Social Security number.

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How do I apply for a Social Security number?

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. We suggest you wait until you are in the United States for at least 10 days before you apply for a Social Security number. Also, you should report to Sally Sprenger prior to applying for a number.

To apply for a Social Security number:

  • Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and
  • Prepare original documents proving your:
    • Immigration status;
    • Work eligibility;
    • Age; and
    • Identity.
  • Take your completed application and original documents to a Social Security office in Tacoma.

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Where do I apply for a Social Security number in Tacoma?

Address:
SOCIAL SECURITY
SUITE A
2608 S 47TH ST
TACOMA, WA 98409

Phone numbers:
National Toll-Free: 1-800-772-1213
TTY:                     1-800-325-0778

MONDAY - FRIDAY: 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Except Federal Holidays

Helpful tips

You can contact the local office in advance to ask for the best days or times to come in and set up an appointment if possible.

It is best to show up early and get in line. If you do not have an appointment, you may have to wait for a while depends on how busy the office is.

If any problem arises and you have to come back there to resolve it, you should ask the security officer for the best days or times to return to minimize your wait.

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Do I need a Social Security number before I start working?

You are not required to have a Social Security number before you start work. However, the Internal Revenue Service requires employers to report wages using a Social Security number. While you wait for your Social Security number, your employer can use a letter from Social Security stating that you applied for a number. Your employer may use your immigration documents as proof of your authorization to work in the United States.

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