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How to Get a Social Security Number

Social Security Elibility and Application Process for Non-American Citizens

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How to Get a Social Security Number

Social Security Card

Copyright Getty Images Tom Grill
If you are a non-American citizen interested in working in the USA will need a social security number to be employed in the United States. Here's information on eligiblity for a social security number and how to get a social security card for foreign workers.

Eligibility for a Social Security Number

Only noncitizens who are authorized to work in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can get a Social Security number (SSN). Social Security numbers are used to report wages to the government and to determine a person’s eligibility for Social Security benefits. A Social Security number is needed to work and to collect Social Security benefits.

How to Get a Social Security Card (SSN)

If you are age 18 or older you can apply for a social security number in your home country when you apply for an immigrant visas with the U.S. Department of State. The US government will use the same information that you give to apply for an immigrant visa to apply for an SSN. Your social security card will arive at your mailing address about three weeks after you arrive in the US.

If you are not an immigrant or did not apply for a Social Security number when you applied for an immigrant visa, you must have your papers from DHS showing your immigration status and authorization to work in the United States. Then you should apply for a Social Security number and card by visiting a Social Security office in the US. Applying for a SSN is free.

Information Required to Get a Social Security Card

  • Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
  • Two original documents proving your identity and immigration status, work eligibility, and age.

As far as documentation, for example, For example, a work permit can be used as proof of both your identity and work-authorized immigration status. Your birth certificate or passport may serve as proof of age. However, you need two seperate documents to prove eligibility for a SNN.

Original documents are required to obtain a social security card. Photocopies are not accepted.

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