How to Apply for a Social Security Card

The Social Security number is used to report the wages received by workers to the government. To access Social Security benefits, you need to have a record and your Social Security number.

How to Apply for a Social Security Number for the First Time?

The Social Security number allows you to pay your taxes, work legally, open a bank account, apply for benefits from government programs, apply for credits, and obtain your passport, so it is a necessary procedure for any resident of the United States.

Applying for a Social Security card is free, but the application process varies depending on various factors, such as immigration status.

What are the Requirements to Process my Social Security?

You can apply for a Social Security number if you are:


If you are not a United States citizen and have a work permit, you can apply for a Social Security number by doing the following:

  • When applying for an immigrant visa in the United States Department of your native country.
  • You can contact your local Social Security office if you are already in the United States.

During the process, these supporting documents will be requested:

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Application form SS-5-SP
  • Permanent resident card
  • Dates to check in/out
  • Work permit card
  • Admission stamp

International Student

Although Social Security does not assign records to exchange students since they are unnecessary, Social Security numbers are sometimes issued to students eligible to work at the university.

If you are an exchange student working on the university campus, you will need the following:

  • Application form SS-5-SP
  • Valid passport with entry stamp
  • Letter from school representative
  • Birth certificate
  • Form I-551 or Form I-766

Foreign Worker

Your Social Security number is required if you are in the United States for work because your employer will use it to report your earnings. To request it, you must verify that you have a work permit, your identity, and your age, so you will have to present these documents:

  • Application form SS-5-SP
  • Valid passport with work classification, or your permanent resident card, or Form I-94 with the work permit
  • Birth certificate

DACA Applicant

As a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicant, you can apply for a Social Security number through the Enumeration Beyond Entry program. You can get the number and card by using it on Form I-765.

If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your application, they will issue you a Social Security number, and you will receive the card within 7 to 10 business days.

Domestic Violence Survivor

As a survivor of domestic violence, it is sometimes necessary to obtain a new identity to ensure your safety. Although Social Security does not issue new records, it is possible for those who change their name and place of residence is paramount.

You will lose the previous benefits when requesting a new Social Security number since they will be registered with the first number assigned. It is also recommended that you change your name before applying for a new Social Security number. When this step is covered, go to one of the Social Security offices to fill out the statement explaining your need for a new number. In addition, you will need the following supporting documents:

  • Evidence of violence, harassment, or that your life is in danger
  • Current Social Security number
  • Citizenship or work permit
  • Your age
  • Your identity
  • Proof of name change

In addition to requesting a new number, you can block access to the old number by calling 1-800-772-1213 and pressing 7 for help in Spanish. After you order the block, no one will be able to make changes or see your personal information online or over the phone; this decision also applies to you since you can only unlock access after proving your identity.

How many Numbers Does Social Security Have?

The Social Security card has nine unique digits that identify the holder. These are located on the front of the card and are randomly assigned.

How Do I Know if my Social Security Number is Active?

You can request an online verification through your employer to determine if your Social Security number is active. This must be registered with the Integrated Enrollment Service (IRES) and access the Internet Services for Business page.

Your employer can verify up to 10 Social Security numbers per application, and the possible results are:

  • The Social Security number matches the record
  • The Social Security number matches, but the record indicates he is deceased
  • The Social Security number could not be verified

In some cases, the number could not be verified because it was never issued, the date of birth does not match, the name does not match, or another unspecified reason.

How to Request a Replacement Social Security Card?

Most of the time, having a physical Social Security card is unnecessary, especially if you know your Social Security number. However, if you need to request a replacement due to changes in your personal information, you must follow these steps:

You can call 1 800-772-1213 for help specific to your situation. Remember that if you need to receive attention in Spanish, you must press 7.

On the other hand, if your information does not require changes, you can request a duplicate Social Security card online. For this, you will need to enter your username and password and have your current driver’s license or non-driving identification on hand.

Types of Social Security Cards

Social Security issues three types of cards with names and assigned Social Security numbers.

Without Restrictions

It includes your name and number, and you do not have any restrictions to work.

It is granted to citizens of the United States and people with permanent residence.

Valid for Work

It includes your name and number, and specifies the restriction that it’s valid to work if you have authorization from the United States Department of Homeland Security.

It is granted to people with temporary permission to reside in the United States and work under the authorization of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Not Valid for Work

It includes your name, number, and the restriction that it is not valid for work.

It is granted to people who temporarily and legally reside in the United States but do not have a work permit approved by the United States Department of Homeland Security and needs a Social Security number for another purpose.

What is Social Security not Valid for Work Good for?

The Social Security card not valid for work is used to apply for Social Security benefits or other government programs. The retirement benefit is unavailable because it’s exclusive to those who worked and paid Social Security taxes.

How to Get a Social Security Card Online?

You can apply for your Social Security number online and then submit the necessary documentation to your local office. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Enter the Social Security page
  • Select “card and registration”
  • Select the option “number and card”
  • Select the option “Request a number for the first time”
  • Click on “Start request”

The online Social Security number application is only available in English. Once your application has been approved, you will receive your card by post within 14 days.

How to Apply for my Baby’s Social Security?

For children, you have two options: first, apply for their Social Security number and birth certificate, or second, wait and apply when they are older. If you choose to apply when your child is a newborn, the state agency will process the application, you will be assigned a Social Security number, and the card will be mailed to you.

On the other hand, if you expect your child to grow up, you must go to the nearest Social Security office and provide the necessary evidence of your child’s identity, age, and citizenship. In addition, you will need to prove that you’re legally responsible or related, as well as your identity. This process can take more than 12 weeks.

Adopted children can be assigned a Social Security number before the adoption process is complete or wait until it is complete and apply under their new name.