I worked for a few months as a contractor (from India) for a US company. I was located in India the entire time.

While applying for a regular job in India, the Indian company is asking for my US Social Security Number.

Is it required for an individual to apply for a SSN or EIN, or something else in this case, or for US-based companies you work for remotely to give you a SSN?

If not, then how should I explain this to my new job? This was my first remote contract, so I'm worried I may be in trouble over this.

  • You mean social security number? And who is asking for it, your Indian employer or the US company? An Indian employer should be asking for your indian SSN, not a US one. You don't get a US SSN for working a remote contract job: you would need to live and work in the US to get one. May 12, 2017 at 12:45
  • @user3244085 Indian company is asking for US SSN.. I think that there is some misinformation with my new company that i went to US for contract. Telling them, that i worked from India only should solve the issue ? May 13, 2017 at 7:34

2 Answers 2


Generally speaking, no you do not need a SSN. You will not be able to even apply for a SSN since you did not mention you have a visa to work physically in the US.

The most common request for a SSN for an overseas contractor to a US company is for the W-8 forms. The IRS says these are for "non-resident aliens who do work and/or make income in the U.S. or foreign business entities who make income in the U.S".

Without these forms, the US company is obligated to withhold a percentage of your funds. On the most common W-8BEN form, you have the option of entering your SSN or ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). However this is optional, see the instructions to decide if you need to apply for an ITIN.

It sounds like there is some miscommunication with your Indian company. You should explain you do not need a SSN and that you were not working physically in the US.

  • Do note that the US company is only obligated to withold taxes on us-sourced income. Counterintutively, this is not us-sourced income in this case, because the income source is tied to the contractor location. (see irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/…). In the case of personal business services, income is only us-sourced if the work is physically performed in the USA. As such, NO witholding tax is necessary and NO W-8BEN is required. If this person were to travel to the USA and work there for a few weeks, then they'd need this paperwork.
    – user152
    May 23, 2017 at 9:47

In your case you do not need a U.S. SSN.

You can find all of the official information about U.S. SSN (Social Security Numbers) in this pdf-document published by the U.S. Social Security office.

Social Security Numbers for Noncitizens

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