Document Checklist for obtaining a Social Security Number and Card

The following documents are needed to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) and card for most immigrants and migrants who are not citizens of the US, and where no special circumstances are involved:

  • A completed application form. Click here to obtain an online version of the form.
  • Unexpired foreign passport (with picture and date of birth)
  • Any ONE of the following:
    • Form I-551 (i.e. your machine-readable immigrant visa stamped in your passport); OR
    • I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record usually stapled to your passport); OR
    • Green card or Work permit card (I-766 or I-688B)

That's it!

If you are on a dependent visa (like an H4 or L4), it is highly recommended you also bring (in addition to the above):

  • the exact documents mentioned above for the primary visa holder (your spouse)
  • marriage certificate (for spouse)
  • birth certificate with parents' name (for child)

The documents required for a US citizen are different and include:

  • US birth certificate or equivalent AND
  • US passport or US Government issued photo ID
The documents required for an identity change (like a name change) vary and depend on why the name changed. They could include any of the following: a marriage certificate, a divorce decree, Certificate of Naturalization showing the new name or court order, as the case may be.

The documents required for a foreign student who wants to work on or off campus are slightly different. Click here for further information.

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