TN 1 (02-10)

RM 10211.370 Information to Help J1 Exchange Visitors with Employer Issues

If the exchange visitor’s employer is pressuring the exchange visitor about when the SSN will be assigned so the employer can report earnings correctly or pay the exchange visitor’s wages, there are several ways to provide some information that may assist both exchange visitors and employers.

A. Acknowledging the exchange visitor’s SSN application while his documents are being verified

Issue the exchange visitor an acknowledgement letter, after the exchange visitor submits the required evidence for an SSN. This letter can be shown to the employer. For additional information, see RM 10205.215.

B. Notify a new number holder of the SSN assigned before the SSN card is received in the mail

Ask the exchange visitor to provide a telephone number where he can be reached in the future. Enter “Y” in the question, “Notify office of the SSN assigned”, on the verify and sign page in SSNAP to have the Enumeration System generate a message the workday after an SSN application is processed to notify the FO of the SSN.

When you receive the notification message, you can call the exchange visitor and advise that the SSN has been assigned. SSA cannot provide the SSN, to anyone who makes the request over the telephone. This is true even if the number holder can provide all identifying information that matches information for the exchange visitor shown on the Numident. If the exchange visitor did not request release of the SSN in advance, advise him or her to come into office with his or her evidence of identity and immigration documents and we will check to see if an SSN has been assigned. If the SSN has been assigned, the SSN can be provided to the exchange visitor. The exchange visitor can provide his or her SSN to the employer. For general information about in-person requests for access to or disclosure of information from SSA records, see GN 03380.000.

C. When the exchange visitor’s employer requests the SSN

When an exchange visitor’s employer requests the SSN, provide the exchange visitor or the employer with a copy of the fact sheet titled, “Employer Responsibilities When Hiring Foreign Workers” and refer to GN 03380.000 before disclosing any personal identifying information.

This fact sheet is accessible from SSA’s employer website or you may access it directly on http://www.ssa.gov/employer/hiring.htm . If the exchange visitor is in the field office, print out a copy for the exchange visitor to show to the employer. This fact sheet addresses employer responsibilities when hiring foreign workers (e.g., students or cultural visitors) who have applied for and are waiting to receive an SSN card.

D. Information from other federal agencies which may assist exchange visitors and employers

Employers of foreign exchange visitors are required to abide by Federal and State laws with respect to the payment of wages to employees who have completed the agreed-to amount of work. In any discussions with the exchange visitor’s employer, strongly recommend they or their payroll or HR departments check Federal and State labor laws and their own legal counsel before withholding wages from their employees.

There is no provision in the Social Security Act (the Act) that employers must have their employees’ SSNs before hiring them. Neither is there any provision in the Act that prohibits an employee from beginning work if he or she has not yet obtained an SSN.

The following websites contain relevant information.

  • DOS

    The Department of State (DOS) maintains information to assist exchange visitors at