Employment is highly regulated and strictly enforced for J-1 visa holders.  Individuals who are discovered working illegally will be required to leave the United States.


  If you have questions regarding employment,
visit ISS BEFORE you begin working. 

A Responsible Officer in ISS can authorize professors and research scholars to engage in occasional lectures, seminars, or consultations at locations not listed on the Form DS-2019, if the activities are related to the objective of the exchange visitor's program participation.

J-2 visa holders cannot work without prior permission from  US Immigration Services. Click here for information about the application process for J-2 Employment Authorization.  

 Social Security Number

What is a Social Security Number (SSN)?

  • A SSN is a tax identification number. A SSN is only required if you will be receiving payment, honorarium, or a stipend from a U.S. based employer.  It is used by employers for payroll.  It is also used for credit reporting, which is why some businesses use it on account applications.
  • In general, only non-citizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a SSN. 

How do I get a SSN?

  • International students and scholars must have a job in the US to be eligible to apply for a SSN.

Documents for a SSN application?

  • You need the SSN Application.
  • Your passport,  I-94 (entry record) and form I-20 or DS-2019.
  • A letter from your employer stating you are employed.
  • A letter from ISS stating that you are maintaining status and are eligible to work.

When you apply for the SSN, you will receive a receipt.  You will give the receipt to your employer, which will allow you to work until your SSN arrives (3-4 weeks).

Contact ISS if you have any questions about employment.

Missoula Social Security Office Information:

Address: 3701 American Way
Missoula, MT 59808
Phone Number: 1-866-931-9029


Monday- 9-4pm
Tuesday- 9-4pm
Wednesday- 9-12pm
Thursday- 9-4pm
Friday- 9-4pm
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: Closed