SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS FOR EXPATS: HOW TO GET YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER

IAS put together a two-part series: Social Security Numbers for Expats to help educate and instruct Expatriates who are relocating to America on how to get their Social Security Number.

The first part of the series, WHAT IS SOCIAL SECURITY & WHY DO EXPATS NEED IT?,  explained what a social security number is, and why it is necessary for Expatriates to get their social security number. Read below for the second part to the series, instructing Expats on how to get your social security number.

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PART II: HOW TO GET YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER 

Noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are eligible to apply for a Social Security number.  When you arrive to the United States, one of the first things you must do is apply for your Social Security Number (SSN). It is advised that you plan ahead before you relocate, in order to make sure you arrive to the country with the correct paperwork and documents prepared. You will need to go to your local Social Security office to apply for your Social Security number and card. You can locate your local office by going to the official Social Security website. Below is a list of the documents needed for noncitizens to apply for a SSN.

Documents Noncitizens Need to Apply for a Social Security Number:

Expats Must Show One of the Following Current U.S. immigration documents: 

  • Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa) containing your unexpired foreign passport
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit)
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport
  • ****FOR F-1 OR M-1 STUDENTS ONLY:  you will be asked to show your I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status). J-1 or J-2 exchange visitors, must bring their DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status).
Proof of Work Eligibility: 

Foreign workers are only required to show their I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport displaying an approval to work. Some foreign workers will be asked to show their I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit) from DHS.

F-1 students who work on campus must provide a letter from your designated school official. The letter must identify you, confirm your current status at school, and identify your employer and the form of work you are currently doing or will be doing. If you are currently working, evidence of employment, such as a recent pay check, will be asked of you. If you are unable to obtain a recent pay slip, a letter from your employer that describes your job, occupation start date, numbers of hours you are, or will be working, including your supervisors name and phone number, that is also dated and signed by your supervisor is to be brought to the Social Security office.

F-1 students who are certified to work in curricular practical training (CPT), must provide your Form I-20 with the employment page (page 3) filled out and signed by your school official. For F-1 students who have a work permit (Form I-766) from DHS, you must present it.

J-1 students, student interns, and international visitors, must provide the office with a letter from your sponsor. The letter should be on sponsor letterhead, including an original signature that accredits your employment.

Documents Needed for Proof of Age: 
  • You will need your foreign birth certificate. If you are unable to obtain it, the Social Security office may consider other documents such as your passport or a document issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
  • If you are 12 years old or older you must be present for a personal interview at the Social Security office.
Documents Needed for Proof of Age: 

Expats must show one of the following current Department of Homeland Security document: 

  • Form I-551 (including machine-readable immigrant visa) with unexpired foreign passport.
  • I-94 or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit) from DHS

Have questions about Social Security in the United States? Leave your question in the comments below! 

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The information shown in this article has been collected from the official Social Security website. For more information regarding how to get your social security number, visit: http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/ss5doc.htm

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