Expat-Quotes

Services for expatriates around the world

YOU ARE IN

Social security Number in the USA

A Social Security Number (SSN) is vital for many everyday aspects of life in the USA. You need it to get a job, apply for a drivers license, collect Social Security benefits and receive government services. Most people memorize their number and keep their card in a safe place as it is rarely necessary to physically show the card.

How to Apply

Take (or mail) your completed application and necessary documents to your local Social Security office.

All documents submitted must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Photocopies or notarized copies of documents are not acceptable. Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S. (If you are filing an application on behalf of someone else, you also must show us evidence of your relationship to, or responsibility for, the person for whom you are filing. You must also show us proof of your identity).

If you are applying from your home country, you can fill out an application for an immigrant visa with the U.S. Department of State. In almost all cases, if you apply for a Social Security number and card with your immigrant visa application, you do not have to visit a Social Security office in the United States.

Necessary Documents

  • Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
  • U.S. citizenship (U.S. birth certificate or a U.S. passport)
  • OR documents of immigration status (acceptable documents include: Form I-551 (includes machine- readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport); I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport; or Work permit from DHS (I-766)

International Students

In general, only non-citizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a Social Security number. Students that are temporarily in the United States to attend a college, language, vocational or nonacademic school with a nonimmigrant F-1, M-1 or J-1 student classification may also need a social security card. Some colleges and schools use Social Security numbers as student identification numbers, however they can usually provide another number if you do not hold a SSN. The Social Security office recommends students wait until they have been in the USA for 10 days before applying for a Social Security number. Also, you should report to your school before applying for a number. Taking these actions will ensure we can verify your immigration status with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

F-1 or M-1 student: In addition to the required documents above, students must submit Form I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status, with the employment page (page 3) completed and signed by your school's designated official. They also must supply a letter from their sponsor. The letter should identify you, confirms your current school status, and identify your employer, employment start date, number of hours you are, or will be, working and the type of work you are, or will be, doing. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment. Evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer is also required. Your supervisor must sign and date the employment letter, and include contact information.

J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor: In addition to the required documents above, they need to supply DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status. J-1 student, student intern, or international visitor must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should identify you, confirms your current school status, and identify your employer, employment start date, number of hours you are, or will be, working and the type of work you are, or will be, doing. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment. Evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer is also required. Your supervisor must sign and date the employment letter, and include contact information.