As outlined in our previous entry, one of the most important things to do after being granted entry into the United States is to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). In order to avoid complications, it is recommended to wait a period of 10 days after entry, in order to let your status update in the Social Security Administration’s database. Once you have filled out your application and brought it into the local SSA office in order to do your SSN interview, they will ask for the following information to accompany your application:

  • A current, valid passport
  • Your original Form I-94 card (this is a white card that gets issued to you by a Border Patrol officer at the time you are admitted entry to the United States)
  • A completed Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card
  • A second form of identification (this can generally be any form of government-accepted ID, such as a U.S. or international driver’s license)

Generally, the time frame to receive an SSN is roughly 2 weeks. There are a few exceptions, however, since the SSA recently created a verification system which requires all SSN applications be verified between the information provided and the immigration documents currently on file with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The SSA states that, as a general rule, they currently issue out SSN cards with 2 days of getting the verification data back from the USCIS. Most of the time, this is the case, and there are no delays at all. However, if there is some problem receiving the confirmation back, even if it was just a computer network failure, the delay will be to the tune of weeks, or even months. Any SSN applicants have the right to request that the SSA provide them with an uncertified copy of the SSN application, should they want to keep it for their own personal records. In addition, applicants can also give the SSA their telephone number, and the SSA will give them a phone call and advise them that their SSN has been issued, prior to the individual receiving the card in the mail. Yet another option is for an individual to call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213, and ask for their SSN. They will have to provide some verification information, but the representatives can sometimes provide SSN information over the phone. Delays can and do exist, and they are not always for explainable reasons, but hopefully this information has eased a little of the stress related to applying for an SSN, and has helped you somewhat along the path. If you ever have any questions about SSN’s, how to obtain one, or if you have experienced any difficulty in receiving one yourself, please get in touch with a qualified immigration attorney immediately. They will be able to review the details of your particular case, and provide you with personalized legal advice.