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Social Security Numbers (SSN) and Drivers' Licenses

Information for international students who need to acquire a social security number (SSN) or a New York State driver's license or identification card.

Social Security Number (SSN)

A Social Security number is a taxpayer identification number issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  A Social Security Number is intended to accurately record your earnings in the United States.

Application Process

Important Note: All new students have to wait at least two weeks after their arrival in the United States to apply for a Social Security Number. You must check-in with OISS and OISS must register you in SEVIS before you can submit an application to the SSA
  1. Fill out an I-9 form with the Human Resource Department or the OISS. Bring your passport and visa with you.
  2. Search for, apply for, and obtain a job on campus. To find a job, visit portal.colgate.edu. Most on-campus jobs are posted on the portal.
  3. Sign up for a trip to the SSA office in Utica and/or request an employment letter by taking this survey
  4. Fill out the SS-5 Social Security application form (For question 5, you should mark "Legal Alien Allowed To Work", and leave 9b and 10b blank unless your parents have Social Security Numbers.)
  5. Bring your employment letter, SS-5 Social Security application form, passport, visa (not applicable to Canadians), Form I-20, I-94*, and Colgate ID to the Social Security Office.
  6. Your Social Security card should arrive in 3-6 weeks
  7. Be sure to check your CU Box when waiting for your card. This is a very important document that is yours forever. Sign the card as soon as you receive it and keep track of your card and number at all times!
  8. Once you receive your Social Security card, please contact the Payroll Office at 315-228-7803 or payroll@colgate.edu to request a meeting with Ms. Patti Blinebry. When you meet with Ms. Blinebry you’ll need to bring your passport, visa, I-20, I-94, and Social Security card. Either immediately before or after you meet with Ms. Blinebry, you’ll also need to visit the Human Resource Department to give them your Social Security number.

At Colgate, you may start working on campus without a Social Security card as long as you have completed an I-9 form. However, you cannot be paid until you receive a Social Security card and complete all the above steps.

As a reminder, you are not permitted to work off campus without authorization from the Office of International Students Services and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. Working off-campus without authorization is a violation of F-1 visa status.

Social Security Website

For complete information regarding the Social Security Administration and its processes and requirements, please visit the Social Security website.

Driver's License and New York State Photo ID

If you want to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to obtain a learner’s permit (the first step in getting your driver’s license) or photo ID, you must have either a Social Security number (see above) or a letter of ineligibility to apply.

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How to Apply

You should complete the MV-44 form. (The form is also available in Spanish, Chinese, and Bengali at dmv.ny.gov.) You must present 6 points of identity. For most students this will be:
  • Passport
  • Visa (except for Canadian citizens)
  • I-94
  • I-20 (bring all old I-20s as well)
  • Social Security card or denial letter from the Social Security Administration
  • Colgate ID. 
All documents must be original and not photocopies. See this complete list of all acceptable documents.

To obtain your learner's permit, you must first pass a written test.  Before taking the test, you should review the study guide and other details. The test should take approximately 30 minutes, depending on your speed.

It is important that you bring all of your documents with you, along with the fully completed MV-44 form. The wait time at the DMV can be very lengthy, and if you do not have the necessary documents or the form completed, they will send you away.

Driving School information

There are several driving schools in the area.

Copper City Driving School

Ms. Nancy Viscosi
Phone: 315-337-6259
Copper City Driving School may able to make an arrangement to come to Colgate to provide lessons. Contact Ms. Viscosi for details.

Oneida Driving School

215 Driftwood Dr., Oneida, NY 13421
Phone: 315-363-8733

Gigliotti's Utica Driving School

9396 Roberts Rd., Sauquoit, NY 13456
Phone: 315-737-5049

The driving school information on this page is intended for general informational purposes only.  OISS is not responsible for the individual communication with these schools nor quality of the services they provide.