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US Social Security Number requirement for BG check

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 12th, 2019 1:42 pm
[OP]
Newbie
May 15, 2010
5 posts
Toronto

US Social Security Number requirement for BG check

I need a social security number in the US for a background check. I am a Canadian citizen who will get a TN authorization after I get a job offer. My profession falls under NAFTA agreement.

A company is asking me to get a social security number and then they would be willing to create a job for me and hire me. How do I get a social security number without a job offer in hand and without a visa status? Is there any way?
5 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 3, 2004
5079 posts
3450 upvotes
Vancouver
You need to get a TN Visa first. When you cross the border, and get your TN Visa, you then take that to the local Social Security Administration office and they will give you a SSN. It takes a few days, up to a week, for them to assign you one. Then you can provide that to your employer.

Your employer can give you a TN visa letter but still make the job hinge on your background check. For instance, Health professionals in some states must provide urine samples to test for drugs, but this cannot be done until the person has a SSN. These agencies still hire people, give them TN visa letters, etc. If the urine sample came back positive for something then they would fire them and you would need to vacate the USA within 30 days.
Deal Addict
Jul 4, 2004
4821 posts
926 upvotes
Ottawa
To get a SSN, you have to apply for one https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf. It does actually say that theoretically you can apply for one, I suspect it might be very hard to do before you get work authorization simply because you won't be able to provide the required documents to get one.

I would talk to them again; running a background check on a brand new SSN is probably completely useless ... Ask them if they can run it with your Canadian SIN or an ITIN (which you can likely get). If they insist on the SSN, maybe check with SSA or IRS but I'm not sure you'll be able to get one based on the required documents (you'll have a Canadian Passport but I don't think you'll be able to produce the US Immigration Document (I don't think you get those as a Canadian unless you are entering with status).

Request that they provide a job offer conditional on background check. That should be enough to get your TN and then you'll be able to get a SSN and then they can run their background check.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 3, 2004
5079 posts
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Vancouver
To add further to this, if your employer isn't willing to do that, and they are demanding a SSN up front, then you are out of luck. Find an employer who is "Canadian friendly" and get your first TN Visa / SSN. Then, you can go back and apply to this other employer if you want. Once you get an SSN it sticks with you for life, but getting that first one can be tough. I have found you will have best luck with either really small employers (less than 500 employees) who are within 30 minutes to the border, or else really large corporations who operate out of both USA/Canada. But beyond that, the medium sized companies who don't operate near borders have zero clue about how anything works and good luck convincing them otherwise.
[OP]
Newbie
May 15, 2010
5 posts
Toronto
adamtheman wrote:
Jan 11th, 2019 1:38 pm
To add further to this, if your employer isn't willing to do that, and they are demanding a SSN up front, then you are out of luck. Find an employer who is "Canadian friendly" and get your first TN Visa / SSN. Then, you can go back and apply to this other employer if you want. Once you get an SSN it sticks with you for life, but getting that first one can be tough. I have found you will have best luck with either really small employers (less than 500 employees) who are within 30 minutes to the border, or else really large corporations who operate out of both USA/Canada. But beyond that, the medium sized companies who don't operate near borders have zero clue about how anything works and good luck convincing them otherwise.
Thank you.

Yes you are right. I came close to getting a permanent role in Houston but the hiring exec did not know about the TN process. I was later given feedback by the external recruiter that they were not comfortable about sponsoring anyone, even though we can argue that TN is not sponsorship especially when I can get it processed on my own. However, I have heard that companies in San Francisco Bay area are very comfortable with the TN process just because they attract a lot of talent from abroad.

However, I had heard that if one can establish a business in US then you could get a SSN number? Have you heard about it?
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 3, 2004
5079 posts
3450 upvotes
Vancouver
waleed15 wrote:
Jan 12th, 2019 12:17 pm
Thank you.

Yes you are right. I came close to getting a permanent role in Houston but the hiring exec did not know about the TN process. I was later given feedback by the external recruiter that they were not comfortable about sponsoring anyone, even though we can argue that TN is not sponsorship especially when I can get it processed on my own. However, I have heard that companies in San Francisco Bay area are very comfortable with the TN process just because they attract a lot of talent from abroad.

However, I had heard that if one can establish a business in US then you could get a SSN number? Have you heard about it?
How can you establish a business in the US if you can't legally work in the US? I had heard that if you established a business in Canada, and sell items TO THE USA, then you could get an ITIN, which is similar to an SSN but not quite the same. It allows you to file taxes. A lot of people were opening amazon accounts and applying for these so they could get US credit cards. But an SSN is a different ball game. If there was an easy way to get an SSN, then everyone would do it. And if you find one out, then let me know so I can let a lot of other people know who would love easy SSN's.

If you dig around enough you will eventually find an employer who says "TN Visa? No problem. We do tons of those". Your bigger problem may be making sure you actually qualify for the TN visa. Some categories are obviously easier than others.

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