For a list of scheduled employment and immigration workshops, click here.

What is a Social Security Number?

A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique number issued by the U.S. government.

Who needs an SSN?

Anyone who earns income in the U.S.

Who is Eligible for an SSN?

You are eligible for an SSN if you have a job offer.

*International students CANNOT apply for their SSN more than 30 days before their employment start date

*You must be physically in the US in order to begin the SSN process

How can I Apply for an SSN?

On-Campus Employment (No Assistantship):

  1. Get a job offer letter on RISD letterhead* from your supervisor             *We cannot accept the letter if it is not on RISD letterhead

  2. Complete a Social Security Letter Request Form. Once the form is completed and submitted online, OISS will create an "Immigration Status Verification Letter" for you. Please allow 3-5 business days for processing.

  3. OISS will send you an email to notify you when the original “Immigration Status Verification Letter” is ready for pick-up.

  4. Bring all the documents on the Social Security Checklist with you to apply for your Social Security Number (SSN) at the Social Security Administration (SSA) office in downtown Providence. Please make sure to ask for a receipt!

  5. You will wait 2-4 weeks to receive your SSN Card and you CANNOT work during this time! You MUST have your Social Security Card BEFORE you start working!

  6. Once you receive your SSN, notify your supervisor that you are ready to be hired in the Workday system. Students will need to complete the first part of their I-9 electronically in the Workday System and then will receive instructions to make an appointment at the Student Employment Office to finalize their I-9 and any tax documents. 

Graduates with Assistantships:

  1. ​Following the Admissions process your Department makes an offer for an assistantship and sends you an "Assistantship Award Letter" with your acceptance materials.

  2. Prior to or when you arrive in Providence, discuss with your Graduate Program Director what specific assistantship position you will fill.

  3. You will receive an email from Margaret Lewis, Director, Academic Administration regarding the steps that you need to complete to be employed.

  4. Complete Steps 2-6 from the On-Campus Employment (No Assistantship) section above. 

Off-Campus Employment:

  1. Get a job offer letter from your employer

  2. Apply for CPT or OPT work authorization through OISS

  3. If it is a paid position and you do not have a SSN, notify OISS that you will need to apply for a SSN, and we will email you a list of documents you must have. 

  4. Take the required documents to apply for your Social Security Number (SSN) at the nearest Social Security Administration (SSA) office. Please make sure to ask for a receipt!

  5. You will wait 2-4 weeks to receive your SSN Card and follow your company's procedures for employment paperwork.