Social Security Card (SSC)

How to obtain a Social Security Number

The Social Security Card (SSC) is a very important document in the U.S. It is used to identify individuals for social security purposes. In particular, a person needs a social security card to prove their identity when contacting government authorities, employers, banks, and insurance agencies. However, the social security card is not a substitute for the primary proof of identity, such as an identity card or passport. This is because the social security card does not come with a photo of the card holder, and it also lacks personal information, such as the date of birth.

All U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders), and certain visa holders (e.g., E-1, E-2, H-1B, L-1 or O-1) are able to obtain a social security number (SSN) in the U.S. upon request. This number consists of 9 digits (XXX-YY-ZZZZ). The Social Security Number can only be requested once in a lifetime, and it permanently retains its validity. The social security number is printed on the Social Security Card, which is issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is similar in size and shape to a credit card.


Application Process

Eligible applicants are U.S. citizens and persons who have a residence permit in the form of an employment-related non-immigrant visa or permanent residency permit (Green Card).

In order to obtain a Social Security Number, an application form must be completed (Application for a Social Security Card).
Moreover, the application as well as the following accompanying documents must be submitted in the original or in certified copies:

  • Proof of age, such as, for example, a birth certificate (translated or international) or any other official document showing the date of birth
  • Proof of identity, such as a passport or driver’s license
  • Evidence of (non-)immigration status, such as a work permit

The application must be submitted in person at a competent Social Security Office in the U.S.


Loss of Social Security Card

If you have lost your Social Security Card or it was stolen, you can apply for a new card.

It is recommended that you not keep the Social Security Card on your person, but rather in a safe place, because it is a very important document and considerable harm can be done if the card falls into the wrong hands.

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