Who is the card for

Type of card

Citizenship of the person the card is for

Corrected Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Citizen Adult

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order, or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, you also need to tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:

  • Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.
  • Cause delays when you file your taxes.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not already established your U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • U.S. passport;
  • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570);
  • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561);
  • Certificate of Report of Birth (DS-1350);
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240, CRBA).

Important

We require this documentation only if you have NOT already established U.S. citizenship with us.


Name Change

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

  • Marriage document;
  • Divorce decree;
  • Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name; or
  • Court order approving the name change.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you changed your name more than two years ago (four years ago if you are under 18 years of age), you must show us an identity document in your prior name (as shown in our records). We will accept an identity document in your old name that has expired.

If you do not have an identity document in your prior name, we may accept an unexpired identity document in your new name as long as we can properly establish your identity in our records.


Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name. We will mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your documents.

Corrected Card for a Noncitizen Adult

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:

  • Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.
  • Cause delays when you file your taxes.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permanent resident card as proof of both lawful work-authorized immigration status and identity.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show us your current U.S. immigration document, such as:

  • Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa);
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit); or
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport.

If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you also must show us your I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

If you are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must show us your DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).


Work eligibility

In general, only noncitizens who have DHS' permission to work can apply for a Social Security number. If you are a foreign worker, we only need to see your I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in your unexpired foreign passport showing a class of admission permitting work. You may need to show your I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit) from DHS.

If you submit evidence of lawful work-authorized status along with evidence of your name change, we can issue you a corrected card with your new name.

However, if we assigned you a Social Security number for non-work purposes, special rules apply. If DHS did not authorize you, we will change your name on our records but we cannot issue you a corrected card. You cannot use a Social Security number assigned for non-work purposes to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.

Student:

F-1

If you are an F-1 student and eligible to work on campus, you must provide a letter from your designated school official that:

  • Identifies you;
  • Confirms your current school status; and
  • Identifies your employer and the type of work you are, or will be, doing.

We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your job;
  • Your employment start date;
  • The number of hours you are, or will be, working; and
  • Your supervisor's name and telephone number.

If you are an F-1 student authorized to work in curricular practical training, you must provide us your Form I-20 with the employment page completed and signed by your designated school official.

If you are an F-1 student and have a work permit (I-766) from DHS, you must present it.

J-1

If you are a J-1 student, student intern or international visitor, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.


Name change

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

  • Marriage document;
  • Divorce decree;
  • Court order approving the name change; or

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you changed your name more than two years ago (four years ago if you are under 18 years of age), you must show us an identity document in your prior name (as shown in our records). We will accept an identity document in your old name that has expired.

If you do not have an identity document in your prior name, we may accept an unexpired identity document in your new name, as long as we can properly establish your identity in our records.


Identity

Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration documents. Acceptable documents include:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport, or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Note

If we issue you a new card, it will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name. We will mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your immigration documents.

Corrected Card for a U.S. Born Adult

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:

  • Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.
  • Cause delays when you file your taxes.

Important

We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.All documents must be current (not expired).

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not already established your U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport.

Important

This documentation is only required if you have NOT already established citizenship with us.


Name change

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

  • Marriage document;
  • Divorce decree;
  • Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name; or
  • Court order approving the name change.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you changed your name more than two years ago (four years ago if you are under 18 years of age), you must show us an identity document in your prior name (as shown in our records). We will accept an identity document in your old name that has expired.

If you do not have an identity document in your prior name, we may accept an unexpired identity document in your new name, as long as we can properly establish your identity in our records.


Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name. We will mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your documents.

Corrected Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Citizen Child

If you legally change your child's name because of adoption, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that your child can get a corrected card. If your child is working, also tell your child's employer. If you do not tell us when your child's name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund or your child's refund; and
  • Prevent your child's wages from being posted correctly to your child's Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your child's future Social Security benefits.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not previously established your child's U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350);
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240);
  • U.S. passport;
  • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570); or
  • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561).

Name change

If you need to change the name on your child's Social Security card, you must show us proof of your child's legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove your child's legal name change include:

  • Final adoption decree with the new name;
  • Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name; or
  • Court order approving the name change.

If the document you provide as evidence of your child's legal name change does not give us enough information to identify your child in our records or if you changed your child's name more than four years ago, you must show us an identity document in your child's prior name (as shown in our records). We will accept an identity document in your child's old name that has expired.

If you do not have an identity document in your child's prior name, we may accept an unexpired identity document in your child's new name as long as we can properly establish your child's identity in our records.


Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child's identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names) and preferably a recent photograph. We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth or parents' names). We prefer to see the child's U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child's:

  • State-issued non-driver's identification card;
  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record;
  • School daycare center record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including your:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

Your child's new card will have the same number as your child's previous card, but will show a new name. We will mail your child's card as soon as we have all of your child's information and have verified your child's documents.

Corrected Card for a Noncitizen Child

If you legally change your child's name because of adoption, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security. If your child is working, also tell your child's employer. If you do not tell us when your child's name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund or your child's refund; and
  • Prevent your child's wages from being posted correctly to your child's Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your child's future Social Security benefits.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your child's U.S. immigration status, you must show us your child's current U.S. immigration document, such as:

  • Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa);
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit); or
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport.

If your child is an F-1 or M-1 student, we must see your child's I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

If your child is a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must see your child's DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).


Work eligibility

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a Social Security number. If you are a foreign worker, we only need to see an I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport, showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers must show their I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit) from DHS.

If you submit evidence of lawful work-authorized status for your child along with evidence of name change, we can issue your child a corrected card with his or her new name.

However, if we assigned your child a Social Security number for non-work purposes, special rules apply. If your child is not authorized to work by DHS, we will change your child's name on our records, but we cannot issue a corrected card. Your child cannot use a Social Security number assigned for non-work purposes to work. If your child does use it to work, we will inform DHS.

Student: If you are an F-1 student and eligible to work on campus, you must provide a letter from your designated school official that:

  • Identifies you;
  • Confirms your current school status; and
  • Identifies your employer and the type of work you are, or will be, doing.

We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your job;
  • Your employment start date;
  • The number of hours you are, or will be, working; and
  • Your supervisor's name and telephone number.

If you are an F-1 student authorized to work in curricular practical training (CPT), you must provide us your Form I-20 with the employment page completed and signed by your designated school official.

If you are an F-1 student and have a work permit (I-766) from DHS, you must present it.

If you are a J-1 student, student intern or international visitor, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.


Name change

If you need to change the name on your child's Social Security record, you must show us proof of your child's legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove your child's legal name change include:

  • Final adoption decree with the new name;
  • Court order approving the name change.

If the document you provide as evidence of your child's legal name change does not give us enough information to identify your child in our records or if you changed your child's name more than four years ago, you must show us an identity document in your child's prior name (as shown in our records). We will accept an identity document in your child's old name that has expired.

If you do not have an identity document in your child's prior name, we may accept an unexpired identity document in your child's new name, as long as we can properly establish your child's identity in our records.


Identity

Your child: Social Security will ask to see your child's current U.S. immigration document from DHS. Acceptable immigration documents include your child's:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card);
  • U.S. military identification card; or
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration document from DHS. Acceptable immigration documents include your:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa) with unexpired foreign passport;
  • I-94 or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Note

If we issue your child a new card, it will have the same number as your child's previous card, but will show a new name. We will mail your child's card as soon as we have all of your child's information and have verified your child's immigration documents.

Corrected Card for a U.S. Born Child

If you legally change your child's name because of adoption, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If your child is working, also tell your child's employer. If you do not tell us when your child's name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund or your child's refund; and
  • Prevent your child's wages from being posted correctly to your child's Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your child's future Social Security benefits.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not already established your child's U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport.

Important

This documentation is only required if your child has NOT already established citizenship with us.


Name change

If you need to change the name on your child's Social Security card, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your child's legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove your child's legal name change include:

  • Final adoption decree with the new name;
  • Court order approving the name change; or
  • Amended birth certificate with the new name.

If the document you provide as evidence of your child's legal name change does not give us enough information to identify your child in our records or if you changed your child's name more than four years ago, you must show us an identity document in your child's prior name (as shown in our records). We will accept an identity document in your child's old name that has expired.

If you do not have an identity document in your child's prior name, we may accept an unexpired identity document in your child's new name, as long as we can properly establish your child's identity in our records.


Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child's identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names) and preferably a recent photograph. We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth or parents' names). We prefer to see the child's U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child's:

  • State-issued non-driver's identification card;
  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record;
  • School daycare center record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including your:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

Your child's new card will have the same number as your child's previous card, but will show a new name. We will mail your child's card as soon as we have all of your child's information and have verified your child's documents.

Original Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Citizen Adult

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • U.S. passport;
  • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570);
  • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561);
  • Certificate of Report of Birth (DS-1350);
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240, CRBA).

Age

You must present your foreign birth certificate if you have it or can get it within 10 days. If not, we will consider other documents such as your passport or a document issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as evidence of your age.

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview. We will ask for evidence to show you do not have a Social Security number. Here are examples of documents you can use to prove a Social Security number was never assigned:

  • If you lived outside the United States for an extended period, a current or previous passport, school and/or employment records, and any other record that would show long-term residence outside the United States could be used to show you do not have a Social Security number.
  • If you have lived in the United States and you are applying for an original Social Security number, we may ask you for information about the schools you attended or we may ask you to provide copies of tax records that would show you were never assigned a Social Security number.

Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Original Card for a Noncitizen Adult

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. If you do not have permission to work but need a Social Security number for other purposes, see "If you do not have permission to work" for further information.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show us your current U.S. immigration document, such as:

  • Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa) with your unexpired foreign passport;
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit); or
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport.

If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you also must show us your I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

If you are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must show us your DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).


Work eligibility

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a Social Security number. If you are a foreign worker, we only need to see your I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers must show their I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Student: If you are an F-1 student and eligible to work on campus, you must provide a letter from your designated school official that:

  • Identifies you;
  • Confirms your current school status; and
  • Identifies your employer and the type of work you are, or will be, doing.

We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your job;
  • Your employment start date;
  • The number of hours you are, or will be, working; and
  • Your supervisor's name and telephone number.

If you are an F-1 student authorized to work in curricular practical training (CPT), you must provide us your Form I-20 with the employment page completed and signed by your designated school official.

If you are an F-1 student and have a work permit (I-766) from DHS, you must present it.

If you are a J-1 student, student intern or international visitor, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.

If you do not have permission to work: Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, apply for educational tests, obtain private health insurance, apply for school lunch programs or apply for subsidized housing. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver's license.

Government benefits or services: If you do not have permission to work, you may apply for a Social Security number only if:

  • A federal law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get a particular benefit or service; or
  • A state or local law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get general assistance benefits for which you already have qualified.

If you need a number to meet these state or local requirements, you must bring us a letter from the government agency. It must be on letterhead stationery (no form letters or photocopies) and:

  • Specifically identify you as the applicant;
  • Cite the law requiring you to have a Social Security number;
  • Indicate that you meet all the agency's requirements, except having the number; and
  • Contain an agency contact name and telephone number.

Taxes: If you need a number for tax purposes and you are not authorized to work in the United States, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Visit IRS in person or call the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676), and request Form W-7 (Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

If you are assigned a number for non-work purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.


Age

You must present your foreign birth certificate if you have it or can get it within 10 days. If not, we will consider other documents such as your passport or a document issued by DHS as evidence of your age.

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number MUST be interviewed by Social Security. We will ask for evidence to show you do not have a Social Security number. If you lived outside the United States for an extended period, a current or previous passport, school and/or employment records, and any other record that would show long-term residence outside the United States could be used to show you do not have a Social Security number.


Identity

Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a DHS work permit as proof of both immigration status and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Original Card for a U.S. Born Adult

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate or a U.S. passport.


Age

You must present your birth certificate. If one exists, you must submit it. If a birth certificate does not exist, we may be able to accept your:

  • Religious record made before the age of 5 showing your date of birth;
  • U.S. hospital record of your birth; or
  • U.S. passport.

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview. We will ask for evidence to show you do not have a Social Security number. Here are examples of documents you can use to prove a Social Security number was never assigned:

  • If you lived outside the United States for an extended period, a current or previous passport, school and/or employment records, and any other record that would show long-term residence outside the United States could be used to show you do not have a Social Security number.
  • If you have lived in the United States and you are applying for an original Social Security number, we may ask you for information about the schools you attended or we may ask you to provide copies of tax records that would show you were never assigned a Social Security number.

Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Original Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Citizen Adopted Child

Information

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Adoption

In some cases, we can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child's new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570) or Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561). Foreign-born adopted children residing permanently in the United States may automatically acquire U.S. citizenship when they meet certain requirements. We may accept the following as evidence of U.S. citizenship:

  • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561);
  • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570);
  • Machine Readable Immigrant Visa (MRIV) showing a category code of IR3 or IH3; or
  • U.S. passport.

Age

You must present your child's foreign birth certificate if you have it or can get it within 10 days. If not, we will consider other documents such as your child's passport or a document issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as evidence of your child's age.

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview. We will ask for evidence to show that your child does not have a Social Security number. Here are examples of documents you can use to prove a Social Security number was never assigned:

  • If your child lived outside the United States for an extended period, a current or previous passport, school and/or employment records, and any other record that would show long-term residence outside the United States could be used to show that your child does not have a Social Security number.
  • If your child has lived in the United States and is applying for an original Social Security number, we may ask you for information about the schools your child attended or we may ask you to provide copies of tax records that would show that your child was never assigned a Social Security number.

Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child's identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names) and preferably a recent photograph. We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth or parents' names). We prefer to see the child's U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child's:

  • State-issued non-driver's identification card;
  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record;
  • School daycare center record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Original Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Citizen Child

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350);
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240);
  • U.S. passport;
  • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561);
  • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570).

Age

You must present your child's foreign birth certificate if you have it or can get it within 10 days. If not, we will consider other documents such as your child's passport or a document issued by DHS as evidence of your child's age.

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview. We will ask for evidence so we can check our records that we have not already issued a Social Security card to your child. Here are examples of documents that we may need to see:

  • If your child lived outside the United States for an extended period,
    • a current or previous passport,
    • school and/or employment records, and
    • any other record that would show long-term residence outside the United States.
  • If your child has lived in the United States
    • information about the schools your child attended, and
    • copies of tax records.

Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child's identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names) and preferably a recent photograph. We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth or parents' names). We prefer to see the child's U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child's:

  • State-issued non-driver's identification card;
  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record;
  • School daycare center record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Original Card for a Noncitizen Child

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. If your child does not have permission to work but needs a Social Security number for other purposes, see "If your child does not have permission to work" for further information.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Adoption

In some cases, we can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child's new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your child's U.S. immigration status, you must show us your child's current U.S. immigration document, such as:

  • I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa);
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit); or
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport.

If your child is an F-1 or M-1 student, we must see your child's I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

If your child is a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must see your child's DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).


Work eligibility

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a Social Security number. For most foreign workers, we only need to see an I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers must show their I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Student: If you are an F-1 student and eligible to work on campus, you must provide a letter from your designated school official that:

  • Identifies you;
  • Confirms your current school status; and
  • Identifies your employer and the type of work you are, or will be, doing.

We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your job;
  • Your employment start date;
  • The number of hours you are, or will be, working; and
  • Your supervisor's name and telephone number.

If you are an F-1 student authorized to work in curricular practical training (CPT), you must provide us your Form I-20 with the employment page completed and signed by your designated school official.

If you are an F-1 student and have a work permit (I-766) from DHS, you must present it.

If you are a J-1 student, student intern or international visitor, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.

If your child does not have permission to work: Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, apply for educational tests, obtain private health insurance, apply for school lunch programs or apply for subsidized housing. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver's license.

Government benefits or services: If your child does not have permission to work, the child may apply for a Social Security number only if:

  • A federal law requires your child to provide a Social Security number to get a particular benefit or service; or
  • A state or local law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get general assistance benefits for which you already have qualified.

If your child needs a number to meet these state or local requirements, you must bring us a letter from the government agency. It must be on letterhead stationery (no form letters or photocopies) and:

  • Specifically identify your child as the applicant;
  • Cite the law requiring your child to have a Social Security number;
  • Indicate that your child meets all the agency's requirements, except having the number; and
  • Contain an agency contact name and telephone number.

Taxes: If you need a number for your child for tax purposes and your child is not authorized to work in the United States, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for your child from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Visit IRS in person or call the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676), and request Form W-7A (Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions).

If you are assigned a number for non-work purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.


Age

You must present your child's foreign birth certificate if you have it or can get it within 10 days. If not, we will consider other documents such as your child's passport or a document issued by DHS as evidence of your child's age.

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview. We will ask for evidence to show that your child does not have a Social Security number. If your child lived outside the United States for an extended period, a current or previous passport, school and/or employment records, and any other record that would show long-term residence outside the United States could be used to show that your child does not have a Social Security number.


Identity

Your child: Social Security will ask to see your child's current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

If your child does not have a current DHS document, we can accept only certain documents as proof of your child's identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names) and preferably a recent photograph. We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth or parents' names). We prefer to see the child's U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child's:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record;
  • School daycare center record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U. S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a DHS work permit as proof of both immigration status and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Original Card for a U.S. Born Child

Important

Social Security must verify a birth record for all U.S.-born applicants who apply for an original Social Security number. An exception is made for a parent who applies for a baby's Social Security number at the hospital when the baby is born. To verify a birth record, Social Security will contact the office that issued it.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

Adoption

In some cases, we can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child's new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport.


Age

If your child has or can obtain a U.S.-State-Issued birth certificate that recorded his or her birth before age 5, you must submit it. If not, we can consider other documents, such as your child's passport, to prove his or her age.

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number must appear in person for an interview. We will ask for evidence to show that your child does not have a Social Security number. Here are examples of documents you can use to prove a Social Security number was never assigned:

  • If your child lived outside the United States for an extended period, a current or previous passport, school and/or employment records, and any other record that would show long-term residence outside the United States could be used to show that your child does not have a Social Security number.
  • If your child has lived in the United States and is applying for an original Social Security number, we may ask you for information about the schools your child attended or we may ask you to provide copies of tax records that would show that your child was never assigned a Social Security number.

Identity

Your child: While you can use a birth certificate to prove age or citizenship, you cannot use it as proof of identity. Social Security needs evidence that shows the child continues to exist beyond the date of birth.

We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child's identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names) and preferably a recent photograph. We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth or parents' names). We prefer to see the child's U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child's:

  • State-issued non-driver's identification card;
  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record;
  • School daycare center record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

Replacement Card for a Foreign Born U. S. Citizen Adult

You can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you may not need to get a replacement card. Knowing your Social Security number is what's important. You are limited to three (3) replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes do not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not already established your U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • U.S. passport;
  • Certificate of Naturalization (N-550/N-570);
  • Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561);
  • Certificate of Report of Birth (DS-1350);
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240, CRBA).

Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

Replacement Card for a Noncitizen Adult

You can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you may not need to get a replacement card, knowing your Social Security number is what's important. You are limited to three (3) replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. If you do not have permission to work but need a Social Security number for other purposes, see "If you do not have permission to work" for further information.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show us your current U.S. immigration document, such as:

  • Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa);
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit); or
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport.

If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you also must show us your I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

If you are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must show us your DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).


Work eligibility

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a Social Security number. If you are a foreign worker, we only need to see an I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers must show their I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Student: If you are an F-1 student and eligible to work on campus, you must provide a letter from your designated school official that:

  • Identifies you;
  • Confirms your current school status; and
  • Identifies your employer and the type of work you are, or will be, doing.

We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your job;
  • Your employment start date;
  • The number of hours you are, or will be, working; and
  • Your supervisor's name and telephone number.

If you are an F-1 student authorized to work in curricular practical training (CPT), you must provide us your Form I-20 with the employment page completed and signed by your designated school official.

If you are an F-1 student and have a work permit (I-766) from DHS, you must present it.

If you are a J-1 student, student intern or international visitor, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.

If you do not have permission to work: Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, apply for educational tests, obtain private health insurance, apply for school lunch programs or apply for subsidized housing. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver's license.

Government benefits or services: If you do not have permission to work, you may apply for a Social Security number only if:

  • A federal law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get a particular benefit or service; or
  • A state or local law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get general assistance benefits for which you already have qualified.

If you need a number to meet these state or local requirements, you must bring us a letter from the government agency. It must be on letterhead stationery (no form letters or photocopies) and:

  • Specifically identify you as the applicant;
  • Cite the law requiring you to have a Social Security number;
  • Indicate that you meet all the agency's requirements, except having the number; and
  • Contain an agency contact name and telephone number.

Taxes: If you need a number for tax purposes and you are not authorized to work in the United States, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Visit IRS in person or call the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676), and request Form W-7 (Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

If you are assigned a number for non-work purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.


Identity

Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a DHS work permit as proof of both immigration status and identity.

Replacement Card for a U.S. Born Adult

You can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you may not need to get a replacement card. Knowing your Social Security number is what is important. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not already established your U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport.


Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

Replacement Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Child

You can replace your child's Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. However you may not need to get a replacement card, knowing your child’s Social Security number is what's important. You are limited to three (3) replacement cards in a year and 10 during a lifetime. Legal name changes do not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not previously reported the child's U.S. citizenship to us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • Certification of Report of Birth (DS-1350);
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (FS-240, CRBA);
  • U.S. passport or Certificate of Citizenship (N-560/N-561).

Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child's identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names), and preferably a recent photograph. We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth, or parents' names). We prefer to see the child's U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child's:

  • State issued non-driver's identification card;
  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record;
  • School daycare center record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

Replacement Card for a Noncitizen Child

You can replace your child's Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during a lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. If your child does not have permission to work but needs a Social Security number for other purposes, see "If your child does not have permission to work for further information.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your child's U.S. immigration status, you must show us your child's current U.S. immigration document, such as:

  • I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa);
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit); or
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport.

If your child is an F-1 or M-1 student, we must see your child's I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status).

If your child is a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must see your child's DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).


Work eligibility

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a Social Security number. For children with work-authorization, we only need to see an I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport showing a class of admission permitting work. Some children must show their I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Student: If you are an F-1 student and eligible to work on campus, you must provide a letter from your designated school official that:

  • Identifies you;
  • Confirms your current school status; and
  • Identifies your employer and the type of work you are, or will be, doing.

We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your job;
  • Your employment start date;
  • The number of hours you are, or will be, working; and
  • Your supervisor's name and telephone number.

If you are an F-1 student authorized to work in curricular practical training (CPT), you must provide us your Form I-20 with the employment page completed and signed by your designated school official.

If you are an F-1 student and have a work permit (I-766) from DHS, you must present it.

If you are a J-1 student, student intern or international visitor, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.

If your child does not have permission to work: Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, apply for educational tests, obtain private health insurance, apply for school lunch programs or apply for subsidized housing. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver's license.

Government benefits or services: If your child does not have permission to work, the child may apply for a Social Security number only if:

  • A federal law requires your child to provide a Social Security number to get a particular benefit or service; or
  • A state or local law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get general assistance benefits for which you already have qualified.

If your child needs a number to meet these state or local requirements, you must bring us a letter from the government agency. It must be on letterhead stationery (no form letters or photocopies) and:

  • Specifically identify your child as the applicant;
  • Cite the law requiring your child to have a Social Security number;
  • Indicate that your child meets all the agency's requirements, except having the number; and
  • Contain an agency contact name and telephone number.

Taxes: If you need a number for your child for tax purposes and your child is not authorized to work in the United States, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for your child from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Visit IRS in person or call the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676), and request Form W-7A (Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions).

If you are assigned a number for non-work purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.


Identity

Your child: Social Security will ask to see your child's current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

If your child does not have a current DHS document, we can accept only certain documents as proof of your child's identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names) and preferably a recent photograph. We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth or parents' names). If that document is not available, we may accept the child's:

  • State-issued non-driver's identification card;
  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record;
  • School daycare center record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport;
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a DHS work permit as proof of both immigration status and identity.

Replacement Card for a U.S. Born Child

You can replace your child's Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during a lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

Important

You must present original documents or copies certified by the agency that issued them. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies. All documents must be current (not expired). We cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not already established the child's U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport.

Important

This documentation is only required if your child has NOT already established citizenship with us.


Identity

Your child: While you can use a birth certificate to prove age or citizenship, you cannot use it as proof of identity. Social Security needs evidence that shows the child continues to exist beyond the date of birth. We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child's identity. An acceptable document must show your child's name, identifying information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents' names) and preferably a recent photograph. We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child's name and age, date of birth or parents' names). We prefer to see the child's U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child's:

  • State Issued non-drivers identification card;
  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record;
  • School daycare center record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver's license;
  • State-issued non-driver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee identification card;
  • School identification card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military identification card.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.