If you are moving to the United States temporarily to work you will need a Social Security number (SSN). It is relatively easy to obtain a Social Security number once you arrive in the United States by following the steps below:
- Gather all necessary documents – If you are a nonimmigrant visa holder and your visa permits you to work in the U.S. you will need to gather at least two original documents proving age, identity and work-authorized immigration status. Acceptable documents to prove age and identity include your unexpired foreign passport and an original or certified copy of your birth certificate. Acceptable documents to prove work-authorized immigration status include a current I-94, your passport with the visa stamp and/or your Employment Authorization Document. You can retrieve your I-94 at this website after you enter the United States.
Exchange visitors on J visas and international students on F visas will need to provide additional documentation, such as a Form I-20, DS-2019 or letter from the student’s school authorizing employment.
- Fill out the Application – Download the Application for a Social Security Card here, fill out the form and bring it with you to the Social Security office.
- Visit your local Social Security office – Make an appointment or visit the local Social Security office to present your documents. Contact information for the Social Security offices and a local office locator can be found here.
Once your documents have been verified, your new Social Security card will be mailed to you. If you are coming to the United States but do not plan to work you do not need to obtain a Social Security number. You can apply for several benefits without a SSN, including a driver’s license, health insurance and school registration.
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