Everyone who is a legal resident in the USA is entitled to get a social security number (SSN). Whilst not mandatory if you are not working, a SSN will make life easier for you when dealing with any State or federal government agency or if dealing with institutions, like banks, credit companies or insurance.
If you are eligible for a SSN, I would thoroughly recommend getting one as soon as you can, to make the process of setting yourself up in the USA a lot easier.
For more detailed information on how non-citizens can apply for a SSN, the US Social Security Administration has a specific leaflet on the subject, detailing the information required from you and the forms that need to be filled in.
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