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Social Security Numbers for New Nonresident Alien Employees

The Office of Homeland Security has implemented new regulations for nonresident aliens obtaining Social Security numbers (SSN). As a result, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has changed their procedures for issuing Social Security numbers. SSA must now verify the authenticity of documents presented by nonimmigrants with information in the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) database. INS estimates that there will be a 10-day lag between the time the person enters the U.S. and their information being uploaded to the database. Because of possible “mismatches” in the database, SSA has stated that it could take as much as 3 months to issue a new Social Security card.

New employee records will be entered into HR/Payroll without a Social Security number when the foreign national provides a receipt from SSA showing they have applied for a number. A copy of the application (SS-5) should also be obtained from SSA if the foreign employee will be applying for an income tax treaty. The receipt and SS-5 copy should be included with the processing paperwork that the foreign student or scholar presents to Sandra Crawshaw in the Office of International Students and Scholars.

Employee records created without the Social Security number must be updated in HR/Payroll as soon as the SSN is received. Failure to provide a Social Security number will affect the W-2 tax reporting and could result in fines and penalties for the University. You should instruct your new international employee to report their Social Security number immediately upon receipt to Sandra Crawshaw.

Posted September 2002