Hiring J-1 Foreign Workers. Social Security Regulations.
Is it legal to employ J-1 international workers who do not have social security number and card?
Many workers will arrive at your firm without having applied for a Social Security number. It is legal to hire them as long as they apply for the number within seven days of beginning work. After applying for a Social Security number at the nearest Social Security Administration, they are required by law to show you a receipt, stating that they have applied. Generally, it takes a few weeks to get a Social Security card by mail. This fact sheet from Social Security Administration addresses employer responsibilities when hiring foreign students who have applied for and are waiting to receive a Social Security number and card.
What are an employer's responsibilities when hiring foreign workers who don't have Social Security numbers?
Please advise workers that they are required to apply for a Social Security number and card. If a worker applied for but has not yet received a Social Security number, you should get the following information as complete as possible: The J-1 worker's full name, address, date of birth, place of birth, father's full name, mother's full maiden name, gender and the date he or she applied for a Social Security number.
What causes delays when foreign workers apply for Social Security numbers?
When foreign workers apply for Social Security numbers, SSA verifies their documents directly with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Most applications are verified immediately, but there can be delays. Social Security understands that this process may affect companies who hire foreign workers, but direct verification from DHS is vital to ensuring the integrity of the Social Security number.
What if the worker doesn't have a Social Security number when wage reports (Forms W-2) are due to Social Security?
Paper Filers: If the worker applied for a card but didn't receive the number in time for filing, enter "Applied For" in Box a. (Reference: IRS Instructions for Forms W-2/W-3)
Magnetic Tape/Diskette or Electronic Filers: If the worker applied for a card but didn't receive the number in time for filing, enter all zeros in the field for the Social Security number. (Reference:SSA's Magnetic Media Reporting and Electronic Filing Format)
Remember to instruct the worker to tell you the number and the exact name printed on the card, when he or she receives it.
My foreign worker received his or her Social Security number after I filed my wage report. What do I do?
When you receive the worker's Social Security number, file Form W-2c (Corrected Wage and Tax Statement), to show the worker's number. See Social Security Administration instructions on filing W-2s.
What if I have any other questions?
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