When Can I apply for my Social Security Card? 

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When Can I apply for my Social Security Card?

As soon as you receive your work authorization card (I-765), you are permitted to apply for your Social Security Number. You will need a Social Security Number (or SSN) in order to be paid a wage inside the US, file your tax returns as well as to establish and build credit. If you already have an SSN, you don’t need to apply for a new one (click here to apply for a replacement card instead, in most cases, you can apply for the replacement card online). You can also apply for a replacement card if you don’t have your physical card and/or do not remember your SSN.

Keep in mind, your SSN will be a 9 digit number and will remain your first and continuous link with Social Security. The SSN assists the Social Security Administration in accurately recording your covered wages or self-employment earnings. Again, you will need a Social Security number in order to get a job, collect Social Security benefits and get certain other government services. You will not often need to show your Social Security card. Keep it in a safe place with your other important papers.  Do not carry your social security card with you as you would a drivers license. 

How To Apply: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Visit your nearest Social Security office and apply in person for your SSN. To find an office near you please visit: www.ssa.gov/locator

Step 2: Download form SS-5, which is the SSN application form. You can complete this form in advance which should save you time when you visit the Social Security office. You can find this form by clicking this link to the Social Security Administration’s website.

Step 3: Gather the documents required to apply for your SSN.

You will need the following documents to obtain your Social Security Card, in certain situations you will need additional documents. SSA does not accept photocopies of documents take the time to call them in advance if you are unsure about what will be required for your situation.

  • Passport (unexpired)
  • Your current visa or entry stamp, you’ll find this in your passport. When you entered the USA, the US Immigration officer would have stamped your passport. If you have since renewed your passport you will need to bring both your old passport with the stamp inside along with your new passport (unexpired).
  • I-94 card (if applicable)
  • I-797 approval receipt notice (if applicable)
  • Work authorization card (if applicable)
  • DS-2019 (if applicable)
  • Orginal marriage certificate (if applicable)