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Social Security Number

Social Security

About the Social Security Number  

Various companies/agencies may ask for your Social Security Number. The US does not have a national ID number, so the SSN has become a de-facto national ID. That being said, any company/agency can generally provide you with the service you are trying to obtain without an SSN. Some agencies will require you to pay an initial refundable deposit or pay in full up front in lieu of presenting an SSN. 

If you encounter someone who insists that you provide an SSN (cable, TV, electricity, cell phone contract, etc.), you should ask to speak to a manager. An SSN is not required to obtain a driver’s license in North Carolina. 

You should protect your SSN. Do not provide it to a company that is not considered to be a legitimate corporate entity. 


Regardless of whether you will be employed in any capacity while you are in the U.S., anyone in the J-1 Research Scholar, Professor, and Short Term Scholar category is eligible to receive a Social Security number (SSN). Those in a J-1 student category are not eligible to apply for an SSN unless they have authorized employment.

It is generally recommended that you wait at least 10 days after your date of arrival to visit the Social Security Administration office to apply for the SSN. 

You must complete all check-in steps with the Office of International Services before you apply for an SSN. Your SEVIS record must be activated before you will be able to successfully apply for the number. 

How to Apply

Applying for the SSN is free, but the application process will require a few hours. You will need to present the following documents when you go to the Social Security Administration:

Once you receive an SSN, you should protect it. Do not provide it to a company that is not considered to be a legitimate corporate entity. 

Social Security Administration of Winston-Salem

1370 Lockland Ave.
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Hours: 9 am-3 pm, Monday-Friday
Phone: 1-877-402-0828

Quick Reference

Pamela Melton
Program Manager


M-F, 10 am - 5 pm
Office of International Services
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Medical Center Blvd.
Winston-Salem, NC 27407
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Last Updated: 08-10-2016
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Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.

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