A Social Security card is extremely important to have. It helps track your unique identity, how much money you have earned over your life, and helps you get government benefits. In order to get a Social Security card, you have to go through the application process, which doesn’t need to be difficult. Below we’ll guide you through the process of applying for a new, unique Social Security card. If you’re looking for a replacement Social Security card because yours has been stolen or lost, you will need to follow a different process.
To get a new Social Security card, follow these steps:
Step 1: Gather the Necessary Documents
In order to request a new Social Security card you will need to provide some specific documentation. All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. The Social Security administration office will not accept photocopies, notarized copies of documents or receipts showing you applied for the document.
In order to submit your application for a Social Security card, you need to provide documents to prove your age, citizenship, and identity. You have to provide at least two documents. Depending on your citizenship status, the different types of documents that will be accepted may vary.
Documentation for U.S. Citizens
For U.S. born citizens, you can either use your passport or your birth certificate. Proof of age will require either a hospital record of birth or a U.S. passport. Proof of identity will be a state issued ID, driver’s license, or your passport. If you don’t have any of these documents, you may use a card for health insurance, but that’s not Medicare, a military ID card, employee ID card, or school ID.
If you still don’t have any of these documents, you can have something current that shows your name, birth date, or age, and a recent photograph to prove identity. For children, the process is similar. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) won’t accept a birth certificate for identity and instead documents will need to be a passport, doctor or hospital record, school ID card, or something with a photo that shows identifying information and the name. Parents applying for the card will also need to show proof of identity.
Documentation for Citizens Born Abroad
For U.S. citizens that were born abroad, you can use your certification of report of birth, your U.S. passport, a certificate of citizenship, or your certificate of naturalization. To prove age, you can use your foreign passport and a document that is issued by the Department of Homeland Security that has your birth date or age listed on it. To prove your identity, you can use the same documents for citizens that were born in the U.S., which include a passport or driver’s license.
For children born abroad, the process is similar, but the SSA will also accept documents that show the name of the child, identifying information of age, birth date and parent’s names, and a recent photo. Proof of identity for the parents is also required.
Documentation for Non-Citizens
Non-citizens must show proof of their identity, immigration status, and work eligibility, which will be dependent on why and how you are in the country. Proof of immigration status may include a lawful permanent resident card, employment authorization document, or arrival/departure record. For proof of age, you need to submit your foreign birth certificate or your passport. For proof of identity, documents can include a permanent resident card, arrival/departure record, or an employment authorization document. For children, the documents are the same.
Step 2: The Application for a Social Security Card
Once you’ve gathered the right documents, it’s time to tackle the Social Security application itself. Don’t worry, it’s not difficult! To get the application filled out and submitted, do the following:
Find an SSA Office
Use our website to locate the closest Social Security office to you. Once you find an SSA office nearby, you should make note of the office’s address and phone number. Write this information somewhere that you won’t lose it.
Print the Application
Download and print the Social Security card application form.
Submit the Application
Mail your application and documents to the address of the SSA office you previously located. Remember that photocopies of documents cannot be accepted! Alternately, you may visit your nearest SSA office in person to submit your application and documents.
Step 3: The Social Security Interview
If you haven’t been assigned a Social Security number, and are 12 years of age or older, an in-person interview will need to take place. You will be asked to provide evidence that you don’t already have a Social Security number, which can be proven with school attendance records or copies of tax records that show no assigned number. Those that have lived outside the U.S. for a long period of tim will need to provide current passports, records that show residency outside the U.S., and employment or school records.
For anyone that already has a Social Security card and needs a name change, this process is slightly different, but we have a guide explaining how to change the name on your Social Security card as well.
After all of these steps have been completed, it will typically take about ten days to receive your new Social Security card in the mail. In the mean time, if you need it, it’s also possible to obtain a temporary social security card.