When applying for a new or replacement Social Security card, you will need to provide specific documents to prove your identity, age, and immigration status or U.S. citizenship. Only certain types of documents are accepted, however, and they must be original or certified copies, not photocopies.
Here’s what you should know about Social Security card application required documents you will need. Please note we are not associated with the SSA and they offer the forms free by dealing with them directly. We do offer assistance in completing the process from the comfort of your own home.
Replacement Social Security Card Required Documents
Replacing a lost, stolen, or damaged Social Security card is fairly easy. You will need to fill out the application form and provide one of the following forms of government-issued photo ID:
- Passport card
- Driver’s license
- State-issued ID card
If you do not have any of these, you will need to provide any type of ID showing your name along with identifying personal information such as your date of birth. Preferably, this document should also include a photograph. Acceptable forms of ID can include:
- Student ID
- Employee ID
- Military ID
- Health insurance card
You may also need to provide proof of citizenship if you have never done so before. This can be done with a U.S. birth certificate or passport. Most people do not need to provide proof of citizenship when requesting a replacement Social Security card.
Original Social Security Card Application Required Documents
The process of applying for an original Social Security card is more complicated than applying for a replacement card. Anyone who is over 12 and has never had an original Social Security number will need to request an original card. This includes noncitizens who want to work in the U.S. and new citizens.
Original Social Security card required documents will depend on whether you are a U.S. born citizen, foreign born citizen, or a noncitizen.
Required Documents for U.S. Born Citizens
You must provide at least two documents to prove your citizenship, identity, and age when applying for an original Social Security card. One document can be used to prove two of these, however. For example, a U.S. passport establishes your identity and citizenship. A birth certificate establishes citizenship and age.
The Social Security Administration requires that you provide your U.S. birth certificate to establish your age if it’s available. If you do not have a birth certificate and cannot request a certified copy through the vital records office in your state of birth, you may be able to prove your age with any of the following:
- U.S. passport or passport card
- Record of your birth in a U.S. hospital
- Religious record showing birth date if the document was made before you turned 5
To establish your identity, you must provide a current document with your name and age or birth date. The Social Security Administration prefers an ID with a photo. The most common documents used to prove identity include a U.S. driver’s license, a U.S. passport or passport card, or a state-issued ID card.
If you do not have any of these documents or you cannot get a new one within 10 days of your application, the Social Security Administration can accept other documents. Any other document proving your ID must be current with your name and personal information and a photo if possible. Common examples include:
- Current U.S. military ID card
- Health insurance card but not a Medicare card
- School ID card
- Employer-issued ID card
The Social Security Administration only accepts one of three documents to prove your citizenship: a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S. passport book, or a U.S. passport card.
Proof You Have Never Had a Social Security Card
Applicants who are at least 12 years old must appear for an interview when requesting an original Social Security number. During this interview, you will need to provide proof you have never been issued a Social Security number. The following documents can be used:
- School records or copies of tax returns showing you were never assigned a Social Security number
- School or employment records, current or expired passport, or other documents showing long-term residence outside of the U.S.
Required Documents for Foreign Born U.S. Citizens
Foreign born U.S. citizens also need to establish age, identity, and citizenship to receive an original Social Security card although this can be done with a broader range of documents.
To establish age, the Social Security Administration requires that you provide your foreign birth certificate if you can within 10 days. If you cannot, the Social Security Administration will consider other documents as evidence of age. This includes documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security or your passport.
To prove your identity, the Social Security Administration requires a current ID with your name and identifying information like your age or birth date. The SSA prefers IDs with a photo. Preferred forms of ID include a U.S. driver’s license, a state-issued ID card, a U.S. passport book, or a U.S. passport card.
If you do not have any of these documents or you cannot obtain new copies within 10 days, you can submit other documents such as an employee ID card, health insurance card, school ID card, or military ID card. Any form of ID must be current and not expired.
The Social Security Administration only accepts the following documents to prove your U.S. citizenship:
- U.S. passport book or card
- Certificate of Naturalization form N-550 or N-570. Form N-550 is issued to individuals who obtain citizenship through naturalization. N-570 is issued when the original N-550 is lost, damaged, or contains mistakes.
- Certificate of Citizenship form N-560 or N-561. This form is issued to individuals who obtain citizenship through some way other than birth or naturalization. One common way to qualify for a Certificate of Citizenship is if one or both parents are U.S. citizens which results in acquired citizenship.
- Certificate of Report of Birth form DS-1350. This form is issued to children whose parents are U.S. citizens and registered their foreign birth. The form was only used for children born between November 1990 and December 2010.
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad form FS-240. When a U.S. citizen has a child overseas, the parent can report the birth so a Consular Report of Birth Abroad can be issued to create an official record for the child to claim U.S. citizenship. This form is only issued to a child who acquired citizenship at birth, is under 18 at the time of application, and was born in 2011 or later.
Required Documents for Noncitizens
Noncitizens can qualify for an original Social Security number with permission to work in the U.S. from the Department of Homeland Security. Noncitizens have very different documents to provide to obtain a Social Security number.
Proving Immigration Status
You will need to provide one of the following immigration documents to establish your U.S. immigration status:
- I-94 Arrival/Departure Record or an admission stamp in your current foreign passport
- I-766 Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- I-551 Lawful Permanent Resident Card with an unexpired foreign passport
Proving Work Eligibility
Because only noncitizens who are authorized to work in the U.S. can typically obtain a Social Security number, you will need to provide your I-94 or admission stamp in your current passport with a class of admission permitting work. You may also be able to provide your I-766 or Employment Authorization Document.
If you are a student eligible to work on your campus, you must provide a letter from your school official identifying you, confirming your status with the school, and identifying your employer and the scope of your work. You must also submit proof of employment such as a recent pay stub or letter from your employer that is signed and dated. This letter must describe the number of hours you work, your employment start date, and your supervisor’s contact information.
The Social Security Administration requires that you provide your foreign birth certificate if you can obtain it within 10 days of your application. If you cannot, the SSA may consider additional documents as proof of your age. This includes documents issued by DHS or your foreign passport.
To establish identity, the Social Security Administration requires a current DHS document such as:
- I-766 Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as a work permit
- I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with an unexpired foreign passport or administration stamp
- I-551 Permanent Resident Card