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Social Security Card

Social Security Card

The Social Security Card is being issued by the United States Social Security Administration. The cards basically indicate the name of the individual and the social security number.

In some cases it bears a legend “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT” or “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION”, contingent to the citizenship and status of the individual. Nevertheless, the most important content of the card is the Social Security Number or SSN which serves as a number assigned by the U.S. government to the owner thereof.


The objective of having this is for the government to keep track on the earnings and benefits given to every individual residing in the United States. Moreover, it is used by schools, banks and other agencies as proof of identification.


There are two ways to apply for a Social Security number and card.

First, the person may apply in the home country through the U.S. Embassy designated. He only needs to submit along with the other required documents a duly accomplished Form DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration. Please be reminded to answer “yes” in Questions 33a and 33b on the Form DS-230. The embassy will submit the information in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If the applicant is consequently admitted into the U.S., the DHS will forward the collected information to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the latter will send the Social Security Card in the mailing address in the U.S.

Secondly, an application may be submitted in the Social Security Office in the U.S. If one prefers the second one, it is advisable to wait for at least 10 days after arrival in U.S. before filing the documents required. For the reason that only at this point will the documents of the applicant be are available in the DHS data system for verification.

He will only need to bring the following papers to the local Security Office:

  • Completed Application for Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
  • At least two original Documents proving: Identity and Immigration Status, Work Eligibility and Age

After the information and documents submitted are verified, the SSN and card will be mailed to the mailing address of the applicant in the U.S.

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