As a permanent resident, you are eligible for a Social Security number, which is a number assigned to you by the U.S. government. It helps the government keep track of your earnings and the benefits you can receive. Your Social Security number is also used by financial institutions and other agencies, such as schools, to identify you. You may be asked for your Social Security number when you rent an apartment or buy a home.
Social Security is a U.S. government program that provides benefits for certain retired workers and their families, certain disabled workers and their families, and certain family members of deceased workers. The government department in charge of Social Security is called the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Find the Social Security office closest to you by:
● Looking on the SSA website, socialsecurity.gov. The website also has limited information available in several other languages.
If your English is not the best, the Social Security office can provide an interpreter free of charge to help you apply for a Social Security number. When you call the Social Security office, tell the person who answers the phone that you do not speak English. They will find an interpreter to help. You can also get assistance from an interpreter when you visit the Social Security office. The Social Security Administration website contains helpful information for people new to the United States. The “Other Languages” section of the website has information about Social Security in several languages.
You do not need to fill out an application or go to a Social Security office to get a Social Security number if all of the following conditions apply to you:
● You asked for a Social Security number or card when you applied for an immigrant visa;
● You applied for an immigrant visa in October 2002 or later; and
● You were 18 years old or older when you came to the United States.
In this situation, the Departments of State and Homeland Security sent the required information to assign you a Social Security number to the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA will assign you a Social Security number and mail your Social Security card to the same U.S. mailing address where USCIS sends your Permanent Resident Card. You should get your Social Security card within three weeks after you arrive in the United States. If you do not receive your card within three weeks after arriving in the United States, contact the SSA immediately. Also, contact the SSA if you change your mailing address after you arrive but before you receive your Social Security card.
You must go to a Social Security office to get a Social Security number if any of the following conditions apply to you:
● You did not ask for a Social Security number or card when you applied for an immigrant visa;
● You applied for your immigrant visa before October 2002; or
● You were under age 18 when you came to the United States.
A Social Security representative will help you apply for a Social Security number. Bring the following documents with you when you go to the Social Security office to apply:
● A birth certificate or other document, such as your passport, showing when and where you were born.
● A document showing your immigration status, including your permission to work in the United States. This can be your Permanent Resident Card or passport with an immigration stamp or visa label.
The SSA will send your Social Security number to you in the mail. You should receive your Social Security card about two weeks after the SSA has all documents needed for your application. If SSA needs to verify any of your documents, it may take longer to receive your Social Security number.