All residents and fellows must obtain a Social Security card, which contains a number unique to the applicant. This number will be required for employment, opening a bank account, obtaining credit, etc. The application process itself should not be started until at least 10 business days after a J-1 physician’s arrival has been validated by ECFMG in SEVIS. Applying before that time may actually increase the delay in obtaining a Social Security Number.
In order to apply for a Social Security card, the following documents must be submitted:
- Form SS-5 (application for Social Security number),
- VISA with a current I-94 form,
- DS-2019 for J-1 exchange visitors,
- Original copy of residency/fellowship contract.
Forms must be completed and submitted in person with the appropriate supporting documents at the local Social Security office. It will take between 30-60 days to process and receive the official Social Security card with your Social Security Number.
When the card is received, it should be presented to the employing hospital and to the GME Office. For security reasons, a Social Security Number should not be disclosed to anyone other than those having legitimate need for it, and then only the number should be reported. The card itself rarely needs to be displayed.