Original Card for a U.S. Born Adult (Age 12 or Older)

To apply for a Social Security number:


Important

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number card MUST appear for an interview at a Social Security office.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

Age

You must present your birth certificate if you have it or can easily obtain it. If not, we can consider other documents, such as your passport to prove age. Social Security must verify a birth record for all U.S.-born applicants or any age who apply for an original Social Security number.

Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

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Original Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Adult (Age 12 or Older)

To apply for a Social Security number:


Important

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number card MUST appear for an interview at a Social Security office.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

Age

You must present your birth certificate if you have it or can easily obtain it. If not, we can consider other documents, such as your passport, to prove age.

Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

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Original Card for a Noncitizen Adult

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. If you do not have permission to work but need a Social Security number for other purposes, see “If you do not have permission to work” for further information.

To apply for a Social Security number:


Important

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number card MUST be interviewed by Social Security.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show us the current U.S. immigration document, I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, issued to you when you arrived in the United States. If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you also must show us your I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. If you are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must show us your DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.

Work eligibility

For most foreign workers, we only need to see an I-94, Arrival/Departure Record showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers also must show their work permits from DHS (I-766).

Student: If you are an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor authorized to work in curricular practical training, you must provide us with a Form I-20 with the employment page (page 3) completed and signed by a designated school official. We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your job;
  • Your employment start date:
  • The number of hours you are, or will be, working; and
  • Your supervisor’s name and telephone number.

If you are an F-1 or M-1 student and are authorized to work off campus, you must provide us with the work permit you received from DHS.

If you are a J-1 student, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.

If you do not have permission to work: Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, apply for educational tests, obtain private health insurance, apply for school lunch programs or apply for subsidized housing. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver’s license.

Government benefits or services: If you do not have permission to work, you may apply for a Social Security number only if:

  • A federal law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get a particular benefit or service; or
  • A state or local law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get general assistance benefits that you already have qualified for.

If you need a number to meet these state or local requirements, you must bring us a letter from the government agency. It must be on letterhead stationery (no form letters or photocopies) and:

  • Specifically identify you as the applicant;
  • Cite the law requiring you to have a Social Security number;
  • Indicate that you meet all the agency’s requirements, except having the number; and
  • Contain an agency contact name and telephone number.

Taxes: If you need a number for tax purposes and you are not authorized to work in the United States, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Visit IRS in person or call the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676), and request Form W-7, Application For An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

If you are assigned a number for nonwork purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.

Age

You must present your birth certificate if you have it or can easily obtain it. If not, we can consider other documents, such as a passport or a document issued by DHS, to prove your age.

Identity

Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);
  • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport; or
  • Work permit from DHS (I-766).

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a DHS work permit as proof of both immigration status and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

BACK TO TOP

Original Card for a U.S. Born Child (Under Age 12)

To apply for a Social Security number:


Important

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number card MUST appear for an interview at a Social Security office.

Social Security must verify a birth record for all U.S.-born applicants who apply for an original Social Security number. An exception is made for a parent who applies for a baby’s Social Security number at the hospital when the baby is born. To verify a birth record, Social Security will contact the office that issued it.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.


Adoption

We can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

Age

You must present your child’s birth certificate if you have it or can easily obtain it. If not, we can consider other documents, such as your child’s passport to prove age.

Identity

Your child: While you can use a birth certificate to prove age or citizenship, you cannot use it as proof of identity. Social Security needs evidence that shows the child continues to exist beyond the date of birth.

We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child’s identity. An acceptable document must show your child’s name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Your child must be present unless the picture ID also shows your child's biographical information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names). We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth or parents’ names). We prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child’s:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);
  • Daycare center or school record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

BACK TO TOP

Original Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Child (Under Age 12)

To apply for a Social Security number:


Important

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number card MUST appear for an interview at a Social Security office.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.


Adoption

We can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

Age

You must present your child’s birth certificate if you have it or can easily obtain it. If not, we can consider other documents, such as your child’s passport to prove age.

Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child’s identity. An acceptable document must show your child’s name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Your child must be present unless the picture ID also shows your child's biographical information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names). We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth or parents’ names). We prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child’s:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);
  • Daycare center or school record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However,you must provide at least two separate documents.

BACK TO TOP

Original Card for a Foreign Born Adopted Child

To apply for a Social Security number:


Information

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number card MUST appear for an interview at a Social Security office.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.


Adoption

We can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

Foreign-born adopted children residing permanently in the United States automatically acquire U.S. citizenship when they meet certain requirements. However, documentation of the child’s citizenship is not automatic; parents still must apply with the DHS (for a Certificate of Citizenship) or the Department of State (for a U.S. passport) for proof of the child’s citizenship.

If you do not yet have proof of your child's citizenship, we still can assign a number based on the documentation issued to your child by DHS (I-94, Arrival/Departure Record) upon arrival in the U.S. When you receive documentation of your child's citizenship, please bring it to us and we will update your child's record. Your child will not be disadvantaged in any way because the Social Security number will not change.

Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child’s identity. An acceptable document must show your child’s name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Your child must be present unless the picture ID also shows your child's biographical information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names). We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth or parents’ names). We prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child’s:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);
  • Daycare center or school record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U. S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. However,you must provide at least two separate documents.

BACK TO TOP

Original Card for a Noncitizen Child

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. If your child does not have permission to work but needs a Social Security number for other purposes, see “If your child does not have permission to work” for further information.

To apply for a Social Security number for your child:


Important

Anyone age 12 or older requesting an original Social Security number card MUST appear for an interview at a Social Security office.

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.


Adoption

We can assign your adopted child a number before the adoption is complete, but you may want to wait. Then, you can apply for the number using your child’s new name. If you want to claim your child for tax purposes while the adoption is still pending, contact the Internal Revenue Service for Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions. For more information, see Social Security Numbers For Children (Publication No. 05-10023).

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your child’s U.S. immigration status, you must show us the current U.S. immigration document, I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, issued to your child upon arrival in the United States. If your child is an F-1 or M-1 student, we must see your child’s I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. If your child is a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, we must see your child’s DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.

Work eligibility

For most foreign workers, we only need to see an I-94, Arrival/Departure Record showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers also must show their work permits from DHS (I-766).

Student: If your child is an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor authorized to work in curricular practical training, you must provide us with a Form I-20 with the employment page (page 3) completed and signed by a designated school official. We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your child’s employer. Your child’s supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your child’s job;
  • Your child’s employment start date:
  • The number of hours your child is, or will be, working; and
  • The name and telephone number of your child's supervisor.

If your child is an F-1 or M-1 student and authorized to work off campus, you must provide us with a work permit from DHS.

If your child is a J-1 student, you must provide a letter from your child’s sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your child’s employment.

If your child does not have permission to work: Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, apply for educational tests, obtain private health insurance, apply for school lunch programs or apply for subsidized housing. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver’s license.

Government benefits or services: If your child does not have permission to work, the child may apply for a Social Security number only if:

  • A federal law requires your child to provide a Social Security number to get a particular benefit or service; or
  • A state or local law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get general assistance benefits that you already have qualified for.

If your child needs a number to meet these state or local requirements, you must bring us a letter from the government agency. It must be on letterhead stationery (no form letters or photocopies) and:

  • Specifically identify your child as the applicant;
  • Cite the law requiring your child to have a Social Security number;
  • Indicate that your child meets all the agency’s requirements, except having the number; and
  • Contain an agency contact name and telephone number.

Taxes: If you need a number for your child for tax purposes and your child is not authorized to work in the United States, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for your child from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Visit IRS in person or call the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676), and request Form W-7, Application For An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

If you are assigned a number for nonwork purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.

Age

You must present your child’s birth certificate if you have it or can easily obtain it. If not, we can consider other documents, such as your child’s passport or a document issued by DHS, to prove your child's age.

Identity

Your child: Social Security will ask to see your child’s current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);
  • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport; or
  • Work permit from DHS (I-766).

If your child does not have a current DHS document, we can accept only certain documents as proof of your child’s identity. An acceptable document must show your child’s name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Your child must be present unless the picture ID also shows your child's biographical information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names). We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth or parents’ names). We prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child’s:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);
  • Daycare center or school record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U. S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);
  • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport; or
  • Work permit from DHS (I-766).

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a DHS work permit as proof of both immigration status and identity. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.

BACK TO TOP

Replacement Card for a U.S. Born Adult

You can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you may not need to get a replacement card. Knowing your Social Security number is what is important. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

To get a replacement card:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

We will mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your documents. Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

BACK TO TOP

Replacement Card for a Foreign Born U. S. Adult

You can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

To get a replacement card:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

We will mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your documents. Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

BACK TO TOP

Replacement Card for a Noncitizen Adult

You can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. If you do not have permission to work but need a Social Security number for other purposes, see "If you do not have permission to work" for further information.

To get a replacement card:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

We will mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your documents. Your replacement card will have the same name and number as your previous card.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show us the current U.S. immigration document, I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, issued to you when you arrived in the United States. If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you also must show us your I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. If you are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must show us your DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.

Work eligibility

For most foreign workers, we only need to see an I-94, Arrival/Departure Record showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers also must show their work permits from DHS (I-766).

Student: If you are an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor authorized to work in curricular practical training, you must provide us with a Form I-20 with the employment page (page 3) completed and signed by a designated school official. We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your job;
  • Your employment start date:
  • The number of hours you are, or will be, working; and
  • Your supervisor’s name and telephone number.

If you are an F-1 or M-1 student and are authorized to work off campus, you must provide us with the work permit you received from DHS.

If you are a J-1 student, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.

If you are assigned a number for nonwork purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.

If you do not have permission to work: Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, apply for educational tests, obtain private health insurance, apply for school lunch programs or apply for subsidized housing. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver’s license.

Government benefits or services: If you do not have permission to work, you may apply for a Social Security number only if:

  • A federal law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get a particular benefit or service; or
  • A state or local law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get general assistance benefits that you already have qualified for.

If you need a number to meet these state or local requirements, you must bring us a letter from the government agency. It must be on letterhead stationery (no form letters or photocopies) and:

  • Specifically identify you as the applicant;
  • Cite the law requiring you to have a Social Security number;
  • Indicate that you meet all the agency’s requirements, except having the number; and
  • Contain an agency contact name and telephone number.

Taxes: If you need a number for tax purposes and you are not authorized to work in the United States, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Visit IRS in person or call the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676), and request Form W-7, Application For An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

If you are assigned a number for nonwork purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.

Identity

Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);
  • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport; or
  • Work permit from DHS (I-766).

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a DHS work permit as proof of both immigration status and identity.

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Replacement Card for a U.S. Born Child

You can replace your child’s Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during a lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

To get a replacement card for your child, you must:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

Important

This documentation is only required if your child has NOT already established citizenship with us.

Identity

Your child: While you can use a birth certificate to prove age or citizenship, you cannot use it as proof of identity. Social Security needs evidence that shows the child continues to exist beyond the date of birth.We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child’s identity. An acceptable document must show your child’s name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Your child must be present unless the picture ID also shows your child's biographical information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names). We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth or parents’ names). We prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child’s:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);
  • Daycare center or school record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);
  • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport; or
  • Work permit card from the Department of Homeland Security (I-766 or I688B).

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

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Replacement Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Child

You can replace your child’s Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during a lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

To get a replacement card for your child, you must:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not previously established the child's citizenship with us, you will also need to submit evidence of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. consular report of birth, U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child’s identity. An acceptable document must show your child’s name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Your child must be present unless the picture ID also shows your child's biographical information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names). We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth or parents’ names). We prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child’s:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);
  • Daycare center or school record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

BACK TO TOP

Replacement Card for a Noncitizen Child

You can replace your child’s Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. You are limited to three replacement cards in a year and 10 during a lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. For example, changes in immigration status that require card updates may not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. If your child does not have permission to work but needs a Social Security number for other purposes, see “ If your child does not have permission to work” for further information.

To get a replacement card for your child, you must:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your child’s U.S. immigration status, you must show us the current U.S. immigration document, I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, issued to your child upon arrival in the United States. If your child is an F-1 or M-1 student, we must see your child’s I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. If your child is a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, we must see your child’s DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.

Work eligibility

For most foreign workers, we only need to see an I-94, Arrival/Departure Record showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers also must show their work permits from DHS (I-766).

Student: If your child is an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor authorized to work in curricular practical training, the child must provide us with a Form I-20 with the employment page (page 3) completed and signed by a designated school official. We also need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your child’s employer. Your child’s supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your child’s job;
  • Your child’s employment start date:
  • The number of hours your child is, or will be, working; and
  • The name and telephone number of your child’s supervisor.

If your child is an F-1 or M-1 student and authorized to work off campus, your child must provide us with a work permit from DHS.

If your child is a J-1 student, your child must provide a letter from the child’s sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your child’s employment.

If your child is assigned a Social Security number for nonwork purposes, the child cannot use it to work. If your child uses it to work, we will inform DHS.

If your child does not have permission to work: Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number. You do not need a number to conduct business with a bank, register for school, apply for educational tests, obtain private health insurance, apply for school lunch programs or apply for subsidized housing. You cannot get a Social Security number for the sole purpose of obtaining a driver’s license.

Government benefits or services: If your child does not have permission to work, the child may apply for a Social Security number only if:

  • A federal law requires your child to provide a Social Security number to get a particular benefit or service; or
  • A state or local law requires you to provide your Social Security number to get general assistance benefits that you already have qualified for.

If your child needs a number to meet these state or local requirements, you must bring us a letter from the government agency. It must be on letterhead stationery (no form letters or photocopies) and:

  • Specifically identify your child as the applicant;
  • Cite the law requiring your child to have a Social Security number;
  • Indicate that your child meets all the agency’s requirements, except having the number; and
  • Contain an agency contact name and telephone number.

Taxes: If you need a number for your child for tax purposes and your child is not authorized to work in the United States, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for your child from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Visit IRS in person or call the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676), and request Form W-7, Application For An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number.

If you are assigned a number for nonwork purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.

Identity

Your child: Social Security will ask to see your child’s current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);
  • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport; or
  • Work permit from DHS (I-766).

If your child does not have a current DHS document, we can accept only certain documents as proof of your child’s identity. An acceptable document must show your child’s name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Your child must be present unless the picture ID also shows your child's biographical information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names). We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth or parents’ names). We prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child’s:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);
  • Daycare center or school record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U. S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa with your unexpired foreign passport);
  • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport; or
  • Work permit from the DHS (I-766).

Note

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a DHS work permit as proof of both immigration status and identity.

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Corrected Card for a U.S. Born Adult

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund; and
  • Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.

To change your name on your Social Security card:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not already established your U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • U.S. birth certificate; or
  • U.S. passport.

Important

This documentation is only required if you have NOT already established citizenship with us.

Name change

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

  • Marriage document;
  • Divorce decree; or
  • Court order for a name change.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you legally changed your name more than two years ago, you must provide Social Security with additional documentation of your identity.

Marriage, divorce or annulment: In addition to showing us a legal document proving your marriage, divorce or annulment, you must provide an identity document. That document must show your old name, as well as other identifying information or a recent photograph. (We can accept an expired document as evidence of your old name.)

Other name change: In addition to showing us a legal document citing your new name, such as a court order, you must provide us with two identity documents, including:

  • One identity document in your old name (which can be expired); and
  • One identity document in your new legal name, which must be current (unexpired).

Both of these documents must show identifying information or a recent photograph.

Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name. We will mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your documents.

BACK TO TOP

Corrected Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Adult

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund; and
  • Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.

To change your name on your Social Security card:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you were born outside the United States and have not previously established your citizenship with us, we need to see proof of your U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • U.S. consular report of birth;
  • U.S. passport;
  • Certificate of Naturalization; or
  • Certificate of Citizenship.

Important

This documentation is only required if you have NOT already established citizenship with us.

Name change

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

  • Marriage document;
  • Divorce decree;
  • Certificate of Naturalization showing a new name; or
  • Court order for a name change.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you changed your name more than two years ago, you must provide Social Security with additional documentation of your identity.

Marriage, divorce or annulment: In addition to showing us a legal document proving your marriage, divorce or annulment, you must provide an identity document. That document must show your old name, as well as other identifying information or a recent photograph. (We can accept an expired document as evidence of your old name.)

Other name change: In addition to showing us a legal document citing your new name, such as a court order or Certificate of Naturalization, you must provide us with two identity documents, including:

  • One identity document in your old name (which can be expired); and
  • One identity document in your new legal name, which must be current (unexpired).

Both of these documents must show identifying information or a recent photograph.

Identity

We can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name. We will mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your documents.

BACK TO TOP

Corrected Card for a Noncitizen Adult

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell us when your name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund; and
  • Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.

To change your name on your Social Security record:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permanent resident card as proof of both lawful work-authorized immigration status and identity.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show us the current U.S. immigration document, such as the I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, issued to you when you arrived in the United States or I-551, Permanent Resident Card (includes machine-readable immigrant visa). If you are an F-1 or M-1 student, you also must show us your I-20, Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status. If you are a J-1 or J-2 exchange visitor, you must show us your DS-2019, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status.

Work eligibility

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a Social Security number. For most foreign workers, we only need to see an I-94, Arrival/Departure Record showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers also must show their work permits from DHS (I-766).

Generally, if you submit evidence of lawful work-authorized status along with evidence of your name change, we can issue you a corrected card with your new name.

However, if we assigned you a Social Security number for nonwork purposes, special rules apply. If you now submit evidence of lawful work-authorized status along with evidence of your name change, we can issue you a corrected card with your new name. If you are not authorized to work by DHS, we will change your name on our records but we cannot issue you a corrected card. You cannot use a Social Security number assigned for nonwork purposes to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.

Student: If you are an F-1 student or J-1 exchange visitor authorized to work in curricular practical training, you must provide us with a Form I-20 with the employment page (page 3) completed and signed by a designated school official. If you are working in an on-campus job, we need to see evidence of that employment, such as a recent pay slip or a letter from your employer. Your supervisor must sign and date the letter. The letter must describe:

  • Your job;
  • Your employment start date;
  • The number of hours you work or will be working; and
  • The name and telephone number of your supervisor.

If you are an F-1 or M-1 student and are authorized to work off campus, you must provide us with the work permit you received from DHS.

If you are a J-1 student, you must provide a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead with an original signature that authorizes your employment.

Name change

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

  • Marriage document;
  • Divorce decree;
  • Court order for a name change; or
  • Current U.S. immigration document.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify you in our records or if you legally changed your name more than two years ago, you must provide Social Security with additional documentation of your identity.

Marriage, divorce or annulment: In addition to showing us a legal document proving your marriage, divorce or annulment, you must provide an identity document. That document must show your old name, as well as other identifying information or a recent photograph. (We can accept an expired document as evidence of your old name.)

Other name change: In addition to showing us a legal document citing your new name, such as a court order, you must provide us with two identity documents, including:

  • One identity document in your old name (which can be expired); and
  • One identity document in your new legal name, which must be current (unexpired).

Both of these documents must show identifying information or a recent photograph.

Identity

Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration documents. Acceptable documents include:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa with unexpired foreign passport);
  • I-94 with your unexpired foreign passport; or
  • Work permit from DHS (I-766).

 

Note

If we issue you a new card, it will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name. We will mail your card as soon as we have all of your information and have verified your immigration documents.

BACK TO TOP

Corrected Card for a U.S. Born Child

If you legally change your child’s name because of adoption, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If your child is working, also tell your child’s employer. If you do not tell us when your child’s name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund or your child’s refund; and
  • Prevent your child’s wages from being posted correctly to your child’s Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your child’s future Social Security benefits.

If you need to change the name on your child’s Social Security card:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your child's U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If you have not already established your child’s U.S. citizenship with us, we need to see proof of U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • U.S. birth certificate; or
  • U.S. passport.

Important

This documentation is only required if your child has NOT already established citizenship with us.

Name change

If you need to change the name on your child’s Social Security card, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your child’s legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove your child’s legal name change include:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Court order for a name change; or
  • Amended birth certificate.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify your child in our records or if you legally changed your child’s name more than two years ago, you must provide Social Security with additional documentation of your child’s identity.

In addition to showing us a legal document citing your child’s new name, such as a court order, adoption decree or amended birth certificate, your child must provide us with two identity documents, including:

  • One identity document in your child’s old name (which can be expired); and
  • One identity document in your child’s new legal name, which must be current (unexpired).

Both of these documents must show identifying information or a recent photograph.

Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child’s identity. An acceptable document must show your child’s name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Your child must be present unless the picture ID also shows your child's biographical information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names). We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth or parents’ names). We prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child’s:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);
  • Daycare center or school record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including your:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

Your child’s new card will have the same number as your child’s previous card, but will show a new name. We will mail your child’s card as soon as we have all of your child’s information and have verified your child’s documents.

BACK TO TOP

Corrected Card for a Foreign Born U.S. Child

If you legally change your child’s name because of adoption, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that your child can get a corrected card. If your child is working, also tell your child’s employer. If you do not tell us when your child’s name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund or your child’s refund; and
  • Prevent your child’s wages from being posted correctly to your child’s Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your child’s future Social Security benefits.

If you need to change the name on your child’s Social Security card:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use your child's U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity.

What original documents do I need?

Citizenship

If your child was born outside of the United States and you have not previously established your child’s citizenship with us, we need to see proof of the child’s U.S. citizenship. We can accept only certain documents as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include:

  • U.S. consular report of birth;
  • U.S. passport;
  • Certificate of Naturalization; or
  • Certificate of Citizenship.

Name change

If you need to change the name on your child’s Social Security card, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your child’s legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove your child’s legal name change include:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Certificate of Naturalization showing a new name; or
  • Court order for a name change.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify your child in our records or if you legally changed your child’s name more than two years ago, you must provide Social Security with additional documentation of your child’s identity.

In addition to showing us a legal document citing your child’s new name, such as a court order, adoption decree or Certificate of Naturalization, your child must provide us with two identity documents, including:

  • One identity document in your child’s old name (which can be expired); and
  • One identity document in your child’s new legal name, which must be current (unexpired).

Both of these documents must show identifying information or a recent photograph.

Identity

Your child: We can accept only certain documents as proof of your child’s identity. An acceptable document must show your child’s name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Your child must be present unless the picture ID also shows your child's biographical information (i.e., age, date of birth, or parents’ names). We generally can accept a non-photo identity document if it has enough information to identify the child (such as the child’s name and age, date of birth or parents’ names). We prefer to see the child’s U.S. passport. If that document is not available, we may accept the child’s:

  • Adoption decree;
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record;
  • Religious record (e.g., baptismal record);
  • Daycare center or school record; or
  • School identification card.

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including your:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card); or
  • U.S. military ID card.

Note

Your child’s new card will have the same number as your child’s previous card, but will show a new name. We will mail your child’s card as soon as we have all of your child’s information and have verified your child’s documents.

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Corrected Card for a Noncitizen Child

If you legally change your child’s name because of adoption, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security. If your child is working, also tell your child’s employer. If you do not tell us when your child’s name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund or your child’s refund; and
  • Prevent your child’s wages from being posted correctly to your child’s Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your child’s future Social Security benefits.

If you need to change the name on your child’s Social Security card:


Important

All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. We also cannot accept a receipt showing you applied for the document.

Get a certified copy of a document showing a birth, marriage or divorce that took place in the U.S.

We may use one document for two purposes. For example, we may use a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permanent resident card as proof of both lawful work-authorized immigration status and identity.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your child’s U.S. immigration status, you must show us the current U.S. immigration document such as the I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, issued to your child upon arrival in the United States, or I-551, Permanent Resident Card (includes machine-readable immigrant visa).

Work eligibility

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from DHS can apply for a Social Security number. For most foreign workers, we only need to see an I-94, Arrival/Departure Record showing a class of admission permitting work. Some foreign workers also must show their work permits from DHS (I-766).

Generally, if you submit evidence of lawful work-authorized status for your child along with evidence of name change, we can issue your child a corrected card with his or her new name.

However, if we assigned your child a Social Security number for nonwork purposes, special rules apply. If you now submit evidence of lawful work-authorized status for your child along with evidence of a name change, we can issue a corrected card with your child’s new name. If your child is not authorized to work by DHS, we will change your child’s name on our records, but we cannot issue a corrected card. Your child cannot use a Social Security number assigned for nonwork purposes to work. If your child does use it to work, we will inform DHS.

Name change

If you need to change the name on your child’s Social Security record, you must show us a recently issued document as proof of your child’s legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove your child’s legal name change include:

  • Final adoption decree;
  • Court order for a name change; or
  • Current U.S. immigration document.

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give us enough information to identify your child in our records or if you legally changed your child’s name more than two years ago, you must provide Social Security with additional documentation of your child’s identity.

In addition to showing us a legal document citing your child’s new name, such as a court order, your child must provide us with two identity documents, including:

  • One identity document in your child’s old name (which can be expired); and
  • One identity document in your child’s new legal name, which must be current (unexpired).

Both of these documents must show identifying information or a recent photograph.

Identity

Your child: Social Security will ask to see your child’s current U.S. immigration document from DHS and unexpired foreign passport. Acceptable immigration documents include your child’s:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa);
  • I-94; or
  • Work permit from DHS (I-766).

You: We also must see proof of your identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information (date of birth or age) and preferably a recent photograph. For example, as proof of identity Social Security must see your:

  • U.S. driver’s license;
  • State-issued nondriver identification card; or
  • U.S. passport.

If you do not have one of these specific documents or you cannot get a replacement for one of them within 10 days, we will ask to see other documents, including:

  • Employee ID card;
  • School ID card;
  • Health insurance card (not a Medicare card);
  • U.S. military ID card; or
  • Doctor, clinic or hospital record.

If you are not at U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration document from DHS and unexpired foreign passport. Acceptable immigration documents include your:

  • Form I-551 (includes machine-readable immigrant visa);
  • I-94; or
  • Work permit from DHS (I-766).

Note

If we issue your child a new card, it will have the same number as your child’s previous card, but will show a new name. We will mail your child’s card as soon as we have all of your child’s information and have verified your child’s immigration documents.