Social Security Card and Number: The Complete Guide

Social Security Card and Number

Social Security Card and Number

Fabricated especially for the Social Security programs, a Social Security number tracks the individuals in the United States of America. The Internal Revenue Service, tax authority of the US, issues the Social Security card and numbers. Apart from proffering the specific identity to the individuals, this card is helpful in a variety of sectors. The card and the number is issued to both the temporary and permanent citizens of the country.

It works as a lubricant in facilitating your process of employment or healthcare facilities. Moreover, it is used for taxation purposes or identifying the salaries of employees in a payroll system. Social Security Administration is an independent agency of the United States, and it defines the Social Security number.

A Social Security number is a nine-digit number that has the following components.

  • 1. Area number: The area number integrates the first three digits of the Social Security number.
  • 2. Group number: The group number entails the next two digits of the Social Security number.
  • 3. Serial number: The last four digits of the Social Security number are collectively known as the serial number.

Though SSN works as primary identification, it is not a legal work or resident permit. Hence, you need a visa to work in America along with the social security Card. To maintain the security and credibility of the Social Security numbers, the administration is formulating them erratically after 2011.

The area number of the Social Security number is based on the area of the applicant. Hence it relates to the zip code of the particular area. The Western region has a higher area number than the eastern part. Before 1972, the area number entailed the address of the issuing branch. But now it incorporates the Social Security mailing address.

The administration proffers the group number in any order according to their needs. Moreover, the administration gives the serial numbers from 0001 to 9999. The same set of figures is repeated again and again. 

Getting a Social Security card for a baby is the easiest. Moreover, the type of residence also modifies the procedure of procuring the SSN.

Social Security Card Appearance

The SSA fabricates the Social Security card and entails the information on it through a card printing machine. The Social Security card is a banknote paper which has the stamp of the SSA and Social Security imprinted on it. 

Moreover, the card has the phrase “This number has been established for” on its middle. The SSN and the cardholder’s name is addressed near this statement. 

However, additional phrases on the Social Security cards of the temporary citizens are etched. They are “Valid for work only with INZ authorization” or “Not Valid for Employment.”

The back of the card addresses particular instructions and information regarding the SSN. It entails information about the Social Security Administration (SSA) or where to return the found cards, etc. Moreover, it has other numbers like the card stock sequence number or the form number on it.

The new sections of the Social Security Act demanded some changes in the design of a Social Security card after October 1983. The SSA and various other agencies incorporate the new features. 

Such agencies are the Government printing Office, Bureau of engraving and printing, and the Secret Service. Other security features entail the Intaglio printing,  Planchettes, or the blue erratic and erasable pattern.

Moreover, the words “Social Security” are edged in white ink on the card. The administration also maintains credibility on the card through some undetectable features.

Social Security: An Insight

The Social Security Card and number is critical to proffer you certain Social Security benefits. Such benefits facilitate the economic well being of the person’s future. There are umpteen Social Security benefits like survivor benefits, children benefits, disability benefits, etc. You should have an age of 65 or above to acquire these benefits.

Social Security benefits comprise a more significant source of income for the people since 1935. President Franklin Roosevelt fabricated the Social Security law on Aug 14, 1935. 

Researchers exhibit that the people procure more than 50% of their income from such benefits. Some people can also amass more than 90% of their income. They entail 21% as married individuals and 44% as bachelors.

Another study of 2018 showed that the people gained approximately 5% of the GDP as the total Social Security benefits. This depicts the importance of a valid Social Security number and card.

Hence you may need a Social Security card for your employment, social security benefits, or other Government benefits. So it is crucial to keep it in a safe place. 

Moreover, you should memorize the Social Security number. This is because there are many situations when you may not need the card, but only the number. This is in case of verifying your real ID documents. But if you need a social security replacement, then there is a separate procedure for it.

SSN Eligibility

The citizens of the US are eligible to procure the Social Security card. However, the immigrants need to have their visa or a job offer from their prospective employers for the same. The IRS can issue the card to the F-1 and J-1 students irrespective of their on-campus or off-campus work.

F1 Visa Students

The F1 Visa students are eligible to procure the Social Security card. However, such students fall into three categories. The first category belongs to the on-campus F1 visa students, whereas the other two types belong to the off-campus F1 visa students.

The on-campus employment makes you eligible without any further formalities for the SSN. However, the off-campus employment through the curricular practical training proffers you eligibility after specific requirements. It requires the individual to enroll for at least one year on the practice. The conditions are the same for off-campus employment through optional practical learning.

The most crucial requirement for all the candidates is to acquire their job offer from the prospective employer before attaining their Social Security card.

H1 B Visa Employees 

H1B Visa employees can quickly get the Social Security card and number. All they need to do is to solicit their employers to submit their wage information to the IRS.

J-1 Visa Students

The J1 Visa students are also eligible to amass the Social Security card and number. However, this category of students also has two types. The on-campus employment furnishes with instant eligibility to the students.

The second type is off-campus employment through Academy training. It has the same requirements of employing the candidates for at least one year full time in the practice.

J1 Scholars

The J1 scholars integrate the research scholars, professors, or short term scholars. They are specialists in their fields.

Being a J1 scholar, you can procure the SSN quickly. However, it is better to initiate your procedure after dwelling for a minimum of 10 days in the United States.

J2 Dependents

The J2 dependants refer to the dependants of an immigrant like his spouses and children. The J2 dependants can procure their Social Security card after attaining the Employment authorization document.

Social Security Card for A Newborn

Since the Social Security card is used for taxation purposes, it helps your child to avail of your income tax return benefits. Apart from this, there are umpteen reasons for which your newborn may require the Social Security number.

You can purchase saving bonds or even initiate a bank account for your newborn through a Social Security number. Moreover, with the assistance of Social Security number, your child can avail of various government services. It can help your child to reap the benefits of your insurance cover or medical plans.

Social Security Card for A Newborn: Procedure

Procuring an SSN for your baby is relatively easy. All you need to do is to prove your identity and your child’s identity to the administration. After this, you have to submit the required documents. 

However, there can be situations when the child was not born in the hospital, or the parents did not fill the birth registration form in the hospital.

In such circumstances, the parents need to visit the Social Security administrative office. They have to give the following documents either in person or through an email to the administration.

The parents need to deliver two documents that verify the identity, citizenship, and age of the child. One such form should be the birth certificate of the child. The second document can be a medical record or the hospital record of the newborn.

Apart from this, the administration also requires documents to substantiate the identity of the parents. Once you submit the documents, you can amass the Social Security card in a period of 6 to 12 weeks. However, in case if the child is greater than one year,  the period may extend. 

This is because, in such a situation, the administration fetches the statistical records of the child. It does this to substantiate the birth certificate of the child to avert any fraud.

Essential Documents for SSN

Documents for US-Born Adults

The Social Security Administration verifies specific documents to proffer you the card.

However, people need to show a shred of evidence that they do not have an SSN. The administration requires different forms from US-based adults to verify the following activities.


A US birth certificate or a US passport assesses your citizenship of the United States.


The US birth certificate works as a credible document to substantiate your age. Moreover, individuals of an age limit above 12 years have to give an interview for the same.

However, in case you do not have a birth certificate, then you can also proffer us some alternative documents.

Such documents entail a US passport, a hospital record signifying your birth in the US, or any religious history.

A religious form should have been fabricated when you were below five years of age and should exhibit your date of birth. 

No Previous Social Security Card

The administration verifies whether you already have an SSN or not. There can be situations when you had resided outside the US for a certain period. In such cases, your passport or employment records work as a Verifiable Document. 

Moreover, you can also proffer other documents that exhibit your long term residence outside the US. Such compositions also include any tax records or school records that display the same.


A document that exhibits your name, date of birth or age, and a photograph works to assess your identity. However, the information and the form must be current and not expired. Such documents are a US driver’s license or US passport or a non-driver’s identification card, which the state issues.

In case of an absence of the documents, you can request for their replacement or procure a new one. However, if you fail to get one within ten days, then you can submit some other documents.

These documents should also meet the above requirements. So lookout for any one of the following documents-

  • 1. US military identification card.
  • 2. School identification card.
  • 3. Employee identification card.
  • 4. Health insurance card.

Documents for A Newborn

The parents of a newborn need to submit the following documents to acquire their Child’s SSN.

  • 1. They need to fill the birth registration form. It is vital to correct the “Social Security number” option to procure your child’s card.
  • 2. The form requires the Social Security numbers of both the parents. However, even the number of single-parent will work.

Documents for Non-Immigrants

The non-immigrants, like the H1B visa holders or other students, require several other documents. These documents entail.

  • 1. A valid passport.
  • 2. The F1 visa holders require an original SEVIS- I-20.
  • 3. The J1 and J2 visa holders require DS-2019.
  • 4. An I-94 arrival or departure record copy.
  • 5. Any proof of employment (a job offer letter or I-20 endorsed for CPT)
  • 6. An OIS issued Social Security letter. 

Replacement of The Social Security Card

The administration can replace your Social Security card online. However, you should pay heed to keep it safe and avert such situations. This is because the process requires time. 

To apply for a new card, you should log in to My Social Security account. But you will get the card only if you meet the following requirements.

  • 1. A US territory should not have issued your driver’s license or identification card. Such US territories include Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, the US Virgin Islands, or Puerto Rico.
  • 2. The applicant should be a citizen of the US with a minimum age of 18 years. Moreover, he or she should have a mailing address of the US like FPO, DPO, or APO. 
  • 3. The state or the District of Columbia has issued the applicant a driver’s license or an identification card.
  • 4. The applicant should solicit for a new card rather than getting some modifications in his or her old card.

However, some states are not eligible for this online program. These states include New Hampshire, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Nevada, and Minnesota. 

Replacement of A Newborns’ SSN

It can be a possibility that you lose your child Social Security card. In such situations, you will have to amass some documents. First of all, substantiate your child’s citizenship and his or her identity through a birth certificate. In case the child is not born in the US, then you will have to proffer a document that verifies his or her immigration status. 

Apart from this, the administration also verifies the parents’ identity through two documents. One such form is the driver’s passport or the Licence. The second document should entail the relationship of the parent with the child. If the child is adopted, then the custody papers are required.

After this, the parents need to fill the SS-5 form and send it to the Social Security office.

SSN for An Adopted Child

To procure SSN for an adopted child, there can be many situations.

First of all, the child may or may not be a citizen of the US. In the former case, there are two more situations.

If the child is the citizen of the US, then it is a possibility that he or she already retains the Social Security card.

However, the child may not possess a Social Security card. In such a situation, the parents need to procure an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN)

Moreover, if the process of adoption is continuing, then the parents need to fill an IRS Form W-7A. The adoption taxpayer identification number has a validity of two years.

Hence, the procedure of adoption can take a minimum of two years. After that, the parents can request an SSN through the standard method.

The second case can be a situation when the child is not a citizen of the US.

In such a case, the parents have to wait for all the legal formalities of adoption.

After that, when the child comes in the territory of the US, the parents can solicit an SSN from the local administrative office.

Timeline for Receiving SSN

In case the applicant had visited the Social Security Administrative Office, then he can amass his SSN within two weeks.

However, the period may get extended in uncertain situations. Such situations refer to times when the administration is unable to verify your USCIS or immigration certificate.

Data and Privacy

To proffer the Social Security card and number, the Social Security administration requests for specific private and confidential data from the citizens. 

The Social Security Act and its sections 205(c) and 702 proffers such permission to the administration. It is your choice to furnish the information. In case you do not advance the required documents, then you may not get the card. 

The data remains confidential with the administration.

However, the Privacy Act allows the Department to share the information with other government agencies. It maintains a record of the information in the Master files of Social Security applicants and Social Security numbers.

SSA Information

You can locate any SSA office near your house. For this, you can surf through the website of the Social Service Administration. You can also call their toll free number, i.e. 1800-772-1213.

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