Suppose I study in the US for a few years, and, during the course of my studies, obtain an SSN. Later, I go elsewhere for a few years, but then I decide to come back to the US to, say, take up a job.

Do I get a new SSN, or do I keep my SSN for lifetime like US citizens?

  • @TomasBy I don't think so: the SSN is granted by the federal Social Security Administration, and the states have no role in issuing SSNs. If someone has more than 1 SSN it should be an administrative oversight rather than something normal.
    – xuq01
    Oct 8, 2018 at 20:15
  • Most students on F1 or J1 visas are eligible for social security numbers. If you get one, it’s for life.
    – RoboKaren
    Oct 8, 2018 at 21:21
  • "you don't think so": what don't you think? I missed the earlier comment.
    – phoog
    Oct 8, 2018 at 21:45
  • @phoog The comment says that it might depend on which state you return to, which is obviously untrue because the SSA is a federal agency.
    – xuq01
    Oct 8, 2018 at 21:50
  • 2
    @TomasBy the first block of digits indicated the location of the issuing office, not necessarily the location of the person's residence. The numbers were always assigned for life.
    – phoog
    Oct 8, 2018 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


Your Social Security Number (SSN), once issued, stays with you for life, regardless of later changes in your status, and regardless of whether you are in the US or not.

  • @TomasBy under very limited circumstances that do not include residing outside of the US or returning later in a different immigration status.
    – phoog
    Oct 8, 2018 at 22:32
  • 1
    @TomasBy what is your point? The numbers are assigned for life, and there are some circumstances where exceptions are made. If someone asks whether a US passport is valid for ten years, is it necessary to add "unless it is cancelled" after saying "yes"?
    – phoog
    Oct 9, 2018 at 1:21

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