If you have never had a Social Security card, misplaced it or have otherwise lost it, you will need to obtain a new one from the Social Security Administration. This is easy enough to do if you have a legal right to be in the United States and you have the original copies of required documents. The kinds of documents you will require for successfully acquiring a Social Security card depends on how you entered into the United States. If you are a natural born citizen of the United States, the process is much easier and less time consuming. Nonetheless, having the correct documents can mean the difference between receiving your card or being rejected.
Social Security Card Evidence of Identity
In order to prove your identity to the Social Security Administration, you will need to provide certain documents. Acceptable documents are of the type that contain a picture of yourself, your date of birth, your age and your address. A current driver’s license, a state identification card (I.D.) and a passport will all contain these kinds of information. One of these documents is sufficient for proving that you are who you say you are.
If you do not have these documents, there are others you can use. Remember that your chosen form of identification cannot be expired, but must be current. Other forms of acceptable identification include student identification cards, employee identification card, a health insurance card or a United States Military identification card. You will also need to prove that you’re a citizen of the United States.
Proof of Citizenship for Social Security Cards
In order to receive a Social Security card as a born United States citizen, you must provide citizenship documents. The most useful documents you can use for providing proof of your citizenship is your birth certificate and your passport. You only need one of these to prove your citizenship. If you have a United States passport, you can use that for providing proof of your identity and for providing proof of your U.S. citizenship.
If you were born outside of the United States, but are still a citizen, you will need one or two of the following documents:
- A United States Passport
- Certification of Report of Birth
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
Proof of Immigration Status
If you have immigrated to the United States and are not yet a United States citizen, you will need the form I-551. This is also known as the Lawful Permanent Resident Card and the Machine Readable Immigrant Visa. You can also use the I-766 card, which is also known as the Employment Authorization Document or work permit. You can also provide proof of when you came into the country with your travel records. The form I-94 is an arrival and departure form that can be used for providing proof of immigration status as well.
Right to Work in the United States
As a law, the only non-citizens that are allowed to work in the United States have been granted permission to by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). So, if you are a legal resident, but have not been granted the right to work in the United States by the DHS, there is no point in applying for a Social Security card. Although you might have been provided with a Social Security number for other purposes, it doesn’t include the right to work in the United States. This will be clearly marked on your Social Security card, should you decide to apply for one anyway. The words “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT” will be clearly shown on the front of the card.
Getting a Replacement Social Security Card
If you have a Social Security number, but you have lost your card, you will need to apply for a replacement card. Replacement cards are free of charge and all you really need is to know is your number. The Social Security Administration understands that you might lose your card on occasion, so they have provided U.S. citizens and legal residents with a lifeline. You are allowed up to three Social Security number replacement cards a year. You are allowed to have received up to ten of them in your entire lifetime, with few exceptions.