To apply for a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN), you should:

  • Prepare the required documents, as described below
  • Take the documents to the Philadelphia Social Security Card Center
  • Submit your application (ask for a receipt that will verify your submission)
  • The Social Security Administration Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5) is available at the Philadelphia Social Security Card Center or online at : http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ss-5.html.

Philadelphia Social Security Card Center for anyone using a Philadelphia zip code (19101-19160)

  • Address: 2 Penn Center, Suite 2000B, 1500 JFK Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102
  • Hours: Monday – Friday, 9 am – 3:30 pm
  • Website: www.socialsecurity.gov


NOTE:  As soon as you receive your card in the mail in approximately 2-6 weeks, update Penn records (i.e., your department’s business administrator and the Corporate Tax Office if employed at Penn) and personal records (banks, etc.)


  • Required Documents for J-1 Scholars, H-1B, O-1, TN & E-3 Employees
  • When you go to the Philadelphia Social Security Card Center, you must present the following documents:

    • For J-1 Scholars:
      • Social Security Letter for J-1 Scholar, H-1B, O-1, TN, and E-3 , completed and signed by ISSS
      • SSA Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
      • DS-2019
      • Passport, visa (stamp), I-94 card (if issued paper I-94) or I-94 printout (if issued electronic I-94)
      • Wait 10-15 business days from the date you entered the United States before applying for your SSN.
    • For H-1B, O -1, TN, and E-3:
      • Social Security Letter for J-1 Scholar, H-1B, O-1, TN, and E-3, completed and signed by ISSS
      • SSA Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
      • Employment Offer Letter
      • Original I-797 Approval (TN and E-3 will only have I-797 if case is processed by USCIS in the US instead obtaining status upon entry to US)
      • Passport, visa (stamp), I-94 card (if issued paper I-94) or I-94 printout (if issued electronic I-94)