Getting a Social Security Number
November 30, 2004
Dear Arizona Dutch Connection Club Member,
A lot of the Dutch expat population in the United States has questions about getting a Social Security Number. Below is a response we recently received from Social Security on the procedures. I thought I would share this with you. Here it is:
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Dear Mr. Asser:
Thank you for your inquiry.
We can assign a Social Security number (SSN) to a noncitizen when he or she:
(1) is admitted to the United States for permanent residence;
admitted temporarily with permission to work; or
(3) changes his or her
legal work status.
To obtain a Social Security number, an applicant must submit evidence of
age, identity, and United States (U.S.) citizenship or legal noncitizen
status. Social Security needs to see unexpired documents such as Form
I-551, I-94, I-688B, or I-766 issued by the Department of Homeland
Security's (DHS) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and they must be
submitted in person to a Social Security office to apply for an SSN. We
cannot accept a receipt showing application for the document.
Effective October 27, 2003 we do not assign an SSN when your only reason for
needing an SSN is to comply with a state statute requiring an SSN for the
issuance of a driver's license.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will assign an SSN to a noncitizen
who is not otherwise eligible for one, who is lawfully admitted to the
United States but is not authorized to work by the DHS, if one of the
following non-work purposes applies:
A federal statute or regulation requires the non-citizen to provide his or her SSN to get a particular benefit or service; or
A state or local law requires the noncitizen to provide his or her SSN to get general assistance benefits to which entitlement has been established.
To be issued an SSN for the nonwork purposes discussed above, the noncitizen must provide:
evidence of age, identity, and appropriate noncitizen status and
a letter dated and on letterhead stationery from the federal
government (or the state agency providing the benefit or service financed by federal funds). The letter must contain the following information:
The identity of the noncitizen;
The nonwork reason the SSN is needed;
The relevant statute or regulation;
The name and telephone number of an official we can contact to verify the information; and
A statement that says that the noncitizen has completed all the
requirements to receive the benefit or service except for an SSN.
For such purposes, we assign a number and issue a card with the legend ""Not
Valid for Employment."" We advise the applicants that the numbers they are
assigned are not for employment purposes and that we will notify the Bureau
of Citizenship and Immigration Services if we receive wage reports under the
Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, is the appropriate form
to request either an original Social Security number or a replacement card.
The form includes instructions for completing the application and discusses
the documents that must be submitted with it.
When requesting a Social Security number card, provide original documents or
copies certified by the issuing agency that show your age, identity, and
lawful alien status (including your permission to work in the U.S.). You
must provide at least two documents. We cannot accept uncertified or
notarized photocopies as evidence since we cannot verify their authenticity.
You may request Form SS-5 by calling our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213.
Our representatives will be glad to help you. You can also access Form SS-5 on our web site.
To read and print the form at your personal computer, you will need a copy
of the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. This software is available free of
charge from Adobe's Internet server. After you have installed and used the reader software to print the
application form, complete the form and take it or mail it, along with the
required identifying documents, to the nearest Social Security office.
Please note that if you are age 18 or older and applying for an original
card, you must apply in person. You can obtain the address and directions to the nearest Social Security
office from our web site.
We must verify your documents with DHS before we issue an SSN card. We will
issue the card within two days of receiving verification from DHS. Most of
the time, we can quickly verify your documents online with DHS. If DHS
can't verify your documents online, it may take several weeks or months to
respond to Social Security's request. For more details, please see the
answer to the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ), "How is SSA protecting
Social Security numbers?"
If you are assigned a number for non-work purposes, you can't use it to work.
If you use it to work, we may inform DHS.
If you need a number for tax purposes, but don't meet Social Security's
requirements to be assigned a number, you can apply for an Individual
Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service
To apply for an ITIN, you need to contact the IRS and ask for Form W-7
(Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number). You can
obtain Form W-7 by: