Social Security Number & Individual Taxpayer identification Number

Social Security Number

A nine digit number known as a Social Security Number ("SSN") is required if a student or scholar will work for wages at the university. Only international students and scholars who work while in the U.S. are eligible to obtain SSNs. The Social Security Administration ("SSA") will not issue a SSN for any other purpose.

In order to apply for a SSN, you must first request a letter of eligibility from GW's International Services Office ("ISO"). Please see the ISO website for detailed information on the documents required to obtain a SSN. The closest Social Security Administration office is located at 2100 M Street NW, Washington DC. (enter on 21st Street)

With the implementation of the new rules under the Student and Exchange Visitors Information System ("SEVIS") the SSA is now required to verify that an international student who applies for a SSN is legally present in the United States and has work authorization. The SSA is allowed to review certain information in the SEVIS database. Please note that it may take up to 45 days after the initial application to receive the SSN.

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

A student who is not eligible to apply for a SSN may request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number ("ITIN") through the IRS at the time he or she files the annual federal income tax return. The ITIN is similar in format to the SSN but is only to be used for U.S. tax administration purposes. In general, students and scholars who are receiving a stipend or taxable scholarship are eligible to apply for ITINs.