According to the administration…
To apply for a Social Security number and card:
- Complete an Application For A Social Security Card (Form SS-5); and
- Show us original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency proving:
- U.S. citizenship or immigration status [including Department of Homeland Security (DHS) permission to work in the United States];
- Age; and
Then, take or mail your completed application and documents to your local Social Security office.
Citizenship or immigration status: They 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. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current U.S. immigration documents. Acceptable documents include your:
- 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 I-688B).
International students must present further documentation. For more information, see International Students And Social Security Numbers (Publication No. 05-10181).
Age: You must present your birth certificate if you have it or can easily obtain it. If not, they can consider other documents, such as your passport to prove age.
Identity: They can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Social Security will ask to see a U.S. driver’s license, state-issued nondriver identification card or U.S. passport as proof of identity. If you do not have the specific documents they ask for, they will ask to see other documents including:
- Employee ID card;
- School ID card;
- Marriage document;
- Health insurance card (not a Medicare card);
- U.S. military ID card;
- Adoption decree; or
- Life insurance policy.
All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. They cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents. They may use one document for two purposes. For example, they may use your U.S. passport as proof of both citizenship and identity. Or, they may use your U.S. birth certificate as proof of age and citizenship. However, you must provide at least two separate documents.