TN 54 (02-24)

RM 10211.290 Information to Help F1 Foreign Students with Employer Issues

If the foreign student’s employer is pressuring the foreign student 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. Issue a notice acknowledging the foreign student’s SSN application while his documents are being verified

Issue the foreign student an acknowledgement letter, after the foreign student 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 foreign students to provide a telephone number where they 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 foreign student and advise that the SSN has been assigned. For general information about releasing information by telephone, see GN 03360.005. If the foreign student did not request release of the SSN in advance, advise the student to come into the office with 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 foreign student and the foreign student can provide it 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 foreign student’s employer requests the SSN

When a foreign student’s employer requests the SSN, provide the foreign student 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 . If the foreign student is in the field office, print out a copy for the foreign student to show to the employer. This fact sheet addresses employer responsibilities when hiring foreign workers (e.g., foreign 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 student 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 before obtaining an SSN.

The following websites contain relevant information.

1. U.S. Department of Labor

Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act | U.S. Department of Labor ( the basic requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) (including the statement that “Wages required by the FLSA are due on the regular payday for the pay period covered.”).

Worker Rights web page includes links to a variety of topics related to worker rights.

2. IRS

The IRS website has an informational Fact Sheet, Delays in Issuing SSNs to Aliens by the Social Security Administration.

3. State payday requirements

Different States have different payday requirements. A comprehensive list can be found on the Department of Labor’s web site at: State Payday Requirements | U.S. Department of Labor (

4. DHS

The Dept of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has a fact sheet titled, “Information for Students and Exchange Visitors (F1, M1, and J1 Visa Categories) Pursuing Employment in the United States”, which provides information on the SEVIS process and emphasizes the importance of “checking in” with the sponsor before beginning employment or applying for an SSN. See the exhibit of this fact sheet in RM 10211.305.

E. SSA public information materials

The following SSA public information materials are available for FOs to inform the public about SSA’s policies and evidentiary requirements for J1 exchange visitors who apply for SSNs or replacement cards.

F. References

  • GN 03360.005 Releasing Information by Telephone

  • GN 03380.000 Verification of Identity of Individuals Requesting Access to or Disclosure of Personally Identifiable Information in SSA Records – Table of Contents

  • RM 10205.210 When an Applicant Requests a Receipt for Filing an Application for an SSN Card

  • RM 10205.220 Notifying Employers of Social Security Numbers (SSN) for Wage Reporting Purposes

  • RM 10205.215 Acknowledgement Requested for an Application for an SSN Card

  • RS 01901.740 Foreign Students, Exchange Visitors and International Cultural Exchange Visitors

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RM 10211.290 - Information to Help F1 Foreign Students with Employer Issues - 02/07/2024
Batch run: 02/07/2024