You applied for a green card, but didn’t know about the social security number; wondering what is a social security number and how to get it?
Along with its social security number, the social security card is very important in your life if you wish to live and work in America. If you want to be employed in the US, you will need a social security number. Once you have a valid visa, you will need to apply for a social security number. To save a trip, you could apply for an SSN when you applied for your visa. We have made this guide to inform you about social security card eligibility and how to get a social security card for a foreigner.
What Is A Social Security Card?
A social security card is one of the most important documents given to US citizens, immigrants and permanent residents. Social security cards and their number are used for every day dealing with authorities and collect social benefits. If you want to be eligible for other social services, you will need a social security card.
A social security number is a nine-digit number ID. It is usually issued to green card holders, immigrants and employment-based visa holders. Social security number is different from a green card. It doesn’t allow you to live and work in the US without any Visa. It also means that you cannot get a social security number if you have not applied for an immigrant visa or green card. A social security number SSN only helps you conduct business with a bank and permits you to work and pay taxes.
For different occupational groups, social security cards are categorized. There are three types of social security cards:
- The most common type given to green card holders has the individual’s name and social security number.
- The second type of social security card is granted to non-immigrants. This card shows the person’s name, social security number and DHS authorization.
- The third type is issued to be used for tax purposes.
Importance of A Social Security Number
You might think that having a green card is a ticket to heaven. But without a social security number, you cannot enjoy your residency. You cannot get employment if you don’t have an SSN, if you plan to work, get a driver’s license, and other benefits, you direly need a social security number.
The primary purposes of a social security number are as follows:
- To check eligibility for social benefits
- Track taxes record
- Tracking entire earning and credit record
- To report wages to the government
- An SSN may also be used as a student ID
Who Is Eligible to Apply for Social Security Number?
Permanent residents of the US and temporary workers who have non-immigrant visa status can apply for social security Number. Social security Numbers and Social security cards are used to report a person’s earning and grant other social benefits. Person’s who are on a non-employment-based visa are not eligible to apply for a social security card.
How to Apply for Social Security Number?
Following are the ways in which you can apply for social security card and number
Social Security Number for Non-Immigrant Visa
You can apply for a non-immigrant visa along with a social security number if you are 18 years old. The information you will give for the non-immigrant visa will be used to issue your social security number.
After reviewing your application, you will get your social security card and SSN within three weeks.
Social Security Number for Immigrant Visa
If you applied for an immigrant visa but didn’t apply for a social security number, you’ll have to bring a valid petition and work authorization status to work in the US. After entering the US, you will have to apply for a social security number by visiting the social security office in the United States.
You have to answer yes to question 33a and 33b on the immigrant visa form DS-230. Question 33a states that you are requesting the social security administrator to issue you a social security card. Question 33b authorizes citizenship and immigration services to acquire information about you for issuing the social security card.
Don’t rush; the social security administration recommends you to wait at least ten days. Do not worry about being the procedure time taking; it is to verify your department of homeland security documents.
Can I Get A Social Security Number While Waiting for Green Card?
Yes, you can apply for a social security number while waiting for your green card. But there are certain conditions you need to meet, which are as follows:
- You must be 18 years older at the time of application.
- You must be eligible for immigration.
If you didn’t apply for your social security number while applying for a visa, you would have to visit the social security office in the US. You will have to show the following documents in order to apply for SSN while waiting for your visa:
- Your passport and your permanent resident card, if you have it, and your machine-readable immigrant visa.
- Birth certificates of you and your family members who are applying or social security card.
How Long Does It Take to Get A Social Security Number for Immigrants?
Probably three weeks. The social security administration states that it will take two weeks to reach you. You will receive your social security number within two weeks after SSA has gone through your application, and they have everything they need.
Social Security Number Update After Getting Green Card
There is no need to change or update your social security number unless you want to update your information that is available on that SSN. Life goes through changes, and so does the information. People may need to make changes to their social security card if they get divorced; that will include a change of name and marital status. Once you enter the US, you may need to update your social security card over time. You will need to change your citizenship status once you get citizenship of America.
To update your social security number after getting the green card, you will have to visit the social security administration office. They will require you to fill SS-15 form, which contains 18 items.
However, if you want to change not valid for employment social security card for employment, then you need to apply for a new social security card. Or if your card has got stolen or you have lost it, you will have to file an application for social security number replacement. If you are hesitating that it’ll be a time-consuming process, then don’t be. The social security number process has got even better. There is an online portal called My Social Security; you can request an SSN replacement.
Verifying Social Security Number
Employers and organizations can verify the social security numbers. However, that should be for wage reporting purposes only. There are two options to verify social security number, which are as follows:
- A free online service called, Social Security Number Verification Service can be used for verification. It allows registered users to verify that the name and social security numbers of employees match the social security administration’s record.
- Consent Based Social Security Number Verification Service is not a free service. It is a fee-based social security number verification service for private companies and organizations. It can provide thousands of automated verifications and can handle a large number of requests.
Social Security Number Theft; How to Avoid?
The social security card, along with its number, is very important and credential. The social security administration doesn’t share your SSN with anyone. It is very important that you keep your SSN to yourself. Make sure that you keep it in a safe place so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. You should avoid sharing your social security number on phone calls and texts.
If your social security number gets stolen, it means identity theft. People can use your identity to access your bank account and get credit cards.
Here is how you can avoid social security number theft:
- Give your social security number to only those whom you know and trust, especially on phone calls.
- Do not carry your social security number with you; it’s more likely that you’ll lose it. Keep it in a safe place.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Should I Apply for A Social Security Number?
An SSN allows you to have identification and social benefits in the US. The social security number is used to keep track of your taxes. You pay taxes so that you can have benefits when you are at the proper age. Your employers will check your identity through your social security number.
Can I Work While Waiting for My Social Security Number?
Yes, you may work and do a job while waiting for your social security number. Employers can hire you if you have an authorized letter from the social security administration stating that you’ve applied for SSN.
Why Is It Important to Keep Your Social Security Number Private?
The social security card, along with the social security number, is sensitive. You cannot disclose it to anyone and let them misuse it. It has all your tax and bank details. People can access your bank account, credit reports, etc.
Is the social Security Number the Same as the Alien Registration Number?
Social security numbers shouldn’t be confused with an alien registration number. Alien registration numbers are identification numbers that are given to non-citizens. US government uses these numbers to keep track of the immigration forms and petitions. While Social security numbers are for the social security administration to keep track of taxes and social benefits.
Why Are the Last 4-Digits of Social Security Number Important?
The last 4-digits of a social security number are very important and scammers can do damages with them. They can use these numbers to steal your money because banks usually do not ask for the whole number, they only ask last 4 digits.
What If I Have Two Social Security Numbers?
It is legal to have two social security numbers. It is possible that someone asks for social security number replacement, the social security administration cross-refers both numbers in the system. However, having two social security numbers for scams and fraud is illegal.
Can Someone Look Me Up by My Social Security Number?
Yes, it is possible to find people by their social security numbers and see all their public records.
What Do the Numbers Mean in My Social Security Number?
A social security number is a nine-digit number. Which is composed of three parts. The first three digits are called Area Number. The second set is called the Group Number and the last four digits are called the Serial Number. The last four digits are the most important.
Can A Non-US Citizen Receive Social Benefits?
A non-US citizen may be eligible for enjoying social benefits if:
- They are permanent legal residents
- They have authorized work visa
What If I Lose My Social Security Number?
If you have lost your social security number, you can file a social security number replacement application at social security administration website. This question has been discussed in detail, check out the complete post for the replacement application procedure.