Applying for A Social Security Card

Social Security (SS) number is needed for many reasons in the United States. You cannot open most checking accounts or get a credit card without a SS card. Also, many organizations and schools use this number to identify people.

To obtain a SS number you must complete the following steps:

  1. Locate the SS Office in your area, either online or by calling the national help line at 1-800-772-1213.
  2. Stop by your local office to get an SS card application or download a printable application.
  3. Take your completed application to your local office – you cannot mail in the application. You will also need to bring supporting documents to establish your legal immigration status in the US, prove your age, and prove your identity. Suitable documents to establish identity include:
    • Birth certificate
    • School records
    • Driver’s license
    • Marriage or divorce record
    • Military records
    • Employer ID card
    • Adoption record
    • Insurance policy
    • Passport
    • Health Insurance card (not a Medicare card), or
    • School ID card.

    You must bring original documents or certified copies of the documents. If you are an international student, you will need to work with your International Student Office to obtain the appropriate documentation for your SS application.

  4. After submitting your application, it will take a few weeks before you receive your SS card in the mail. Be sure to provide your correct address on your SS application. If you do not have a permanent address, use the address of a friend or your business address.

    Please note that the US has coordinated bilateral SS agreements with certain countries, eliminating dual SS agreements and taxes for eligible multinational and expatriate workers. You can find more information about this here.

    If you need more information on this topic, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit the Social Security Administration online at

PLEASE NOTE: Immigration law and regulations change frequently. In order to protect yourself you should make sure that you understand the laws and how they apply to you. If you have questions about your status, you should consult an expert. If you would like to be notified about recent changes to this website, or if you would like to receive Immigration Tips by email, please provide us with your email address. If you would like help from Ms. Chappell-Daly, please contact her.