There are two types of federal ID numbers: The U.S. "Social Security Number (SSN)," and the U.S. "Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)."
Note: Foreign nationals and units at Cornell also may contact the below offices with specific questions about U.S. Federal ID numbers:
Yes. The U.S. taxing authorities (Internal Revenue Service) will not accept a tax return that lacks a number, and most foreign students and scholars are required to file a return. Moreover, your administrative life in the U.S. will be far easier once you have obtained this number.
Note: A number that begins with '999' is a number assigned by Cornell; this is not a U.S. tax identification or social security number.
The U.S. Social Security Administration has strict eligibility requirements for obtaining an SSN. Individuals with green cards or H-1 visas are eligible for an SSN (see information below on F-1 and J-1). All other foreign nationals, including spouses and dependent children, should obtain an ITIN.