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Can Immigrants Get a Social Security Number in the US? Do Immigrants Need Social Security Cards?

Social security is a really important piece of the immigration process for immigrants. In short — anyone who has a Work Permit (Employment Authorization), including:

📄 VAWA approved self-petitioners

📝 Asylum applicants and Asylum approved holders

🗂 Work Visa holders

📂 Applicants for Green Card

📗 Green card holders


📚😬 Students with Hardship

👨‍🎓 OPT students

Social security plays a vital role in the immigration process for many newcomers to the United States.

Who has to apply for a social security number?

Typically, US citizens and foreign nationals who are holding permanent or non-immigrant visa status and are eligible to work should apply for a social security number.

Among those eligible for Social Security Numbers (SSNs) are individuals with Work Permits (Employment Authorization), including VAWA approved self-petitioners, asylum applicants, work visa holders, applicants for Green Cards, Green Card holders, DACA recipients, students facing hardship, and OPT students.

Immigrants, including those with Work Permits (Employment Authorization), such as VAWA approved self-petitioners, asylum applicants, and work visa holders, may be eligible for a Social Security Number (SSN).

What social security card categories are available out there?

Different categories of social security cards are available for immigrants, each serving specific purposes.

The first kind of social security number has your name and your social security number on it, and has no restrictions to work in the United States. This one is available for us citizens and green card holders with no limitations.

The second kind of social security numbers has your name on it, your social number and the notation “valid for work only with DHS authorization”. This one is available for those that are living in the United States temporarily with a non-immigrant visa to work for a certain amount of years. Typically H-1B holders. They have a limit on how low they can stay, and that’s why it’s limited with DHS authorization.

The third one is your name, your social security and the notation “not valid for employment”. This is usually given for non-immigrants like students and other dependents of other visas who are allowed to live in the United States, but they’re not allowed to work. These are the only three kinds of social security cards available. Depending on what your status is here, you’re gonna be issued one.

You can apply for social security while you going through your permanent residency process.

It’s going to be all combined in one application which makes this process much easier. If you had one of those older cards, meaning that before you were not eligible to work or before you had to work only with DHS authorization.

The first type of social security number card, which contains your name and SSN with no work restrictions, is typically issued to U.S. citizens and green card holders.

How do I change my immigration/naturalization/green card status with social security?

Once you get your green card and your permanent residency, you can also apply for the social security administration to amend your card and give you a regular card without any notations. Then, it’s not gonna hurt you and you apply for a loan. Sometimes loan officers are a little bit concerned when you have a notation on your social security card.

What do I do if I lose my social security card?

If at any point you lose your social security card. It’s very important to report that and run your credit report to make sure that there’s no identity theft, that nobody’s using your number to take advantage of the system, or try to open any lines of credit or even apply for legal status under your name. That number is super important. Keep it in a safe place and never ever share it with anybody who is not required to use it.

It’s imperative for immigrants to securely manage their social security number. In case of loss, reporting it promptly is crucial to prevent identity theft and unauthorized use

Shepelsky Law Group – Immigration Experts: Contact us!

Tel: (718) 769-6352