Obtaining A SSN
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Obtaining a Social Security Card


The following questions and answers are taken directly from the Social Security Administration website and are provided to assist you in applying for a Social Security number. You will need your Social Security Card for identification purposes and to record the earnings you make as an au pair for tax purposes. Keep this, and all valuable documentation, in a safe place! If you have any questions about obtaining your Social Security Card please contact your local Area Director who will be happy to help!


What is a Social Security number (SSN) and card? Do I need to get an SSN?
A Social Security number (SSN) is a type of identification number used for Social Security. It is a nine-digit number resembling "123-00-1234" which is issued to identify an individual by the United States Federal Government. A SSN is intended to accurately record the earnings of the individual to whom it is issued. SSN’s also function as a general identification number in many situations. The identification number (SSN) assigned to the individual is then issued to the individual on a card. This card is referred to as the "Social Security card."

As a visitor, you will likely need a SSN to work in the United States, and to receive such things as a drivers’ license and Bank Account.
Recent provisions in US law have changed the rules for assigning a SSN and issuing a Social Security card. Review the New Rules for Getting A Social Security Number and Card.

How do I apply for a Social Security number?
To apply for a Social Security number (SSN), you should:
Wait at least 10 days from your arrival date in the United States before applying for your SSN. Doing this helps ensure that the Social Security Administration (SSA) can verify your immigration information with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

1. Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5)
2. You must take the completed application and original documents (listed below) to the nearest SSA office:
Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, with visa stamp
Original Form DS-2019

Things to remember when completing the Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5):

Fill in your name exactly as it is shown on your Form I-94 and passport. The name on your passport, Form I-94 and Form DS-2019 (if applicable) should all be the same.
Check "Legal Alien Allowed to Work"
Enter your date of birth in the following manner: month, day, year (MM/DD/YYYY).
Enter your mother's birth surname (maiden name).

How do I locate the nearest Social Security Administration office?
To locate the Social Security office nearest you, use the Social Security Office Locator and enter your zip code.


What documents do I need to provide to Social Security Administration (SSA) officials to prove my immigration status?
To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show the original copies of:
1. current Form I-94,
2. Arrival/ Departure Record, issued to you when you arrived in the United States;
3. your passport;
4. Your Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status (Form DS-2019).

How long will it take to get a Social Security number?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) must verify your documents with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before a Social Security number (SSN) can be assigned to you. After receiving the verification from DHS, a SSN will be issued to you and the Social Security card (containing the assigned SSN) will be mailed to the address provided on the application (Form SS-5). Most of the time, documents can be verified quickly with DHS, online. If the documents cannot be verified online, it may take DHS several weeks to respond to the request. The SSA works closely with DHS to reduce these delays.


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