The Social Security Number (SSN) is a 9-digit number assigned to all U.S. citizens at birth, and it can also be requested by non-citizens who have a visa or work permit.
The purpose of this number is to track the incomes of workers and entrepreneurs in the country. This way, government agencies can identify individuals through records containing their financial information.
What is the SSN used for?
The SSN is used for:
- Obtaining legal employment.
- Filing your tax return.
- Obtaining benefits in the event of an accident or disabling illness.
- Receiving monthly payments after retirement.
- Reporting your credit score.
We recommend keeping your SSN in a safe place and out of harm’s way. Also, avoid sharing it with anyone else.
Do I need an SSN to open my business or a bank account in the United States?
No, you do not need an SSN to open a business in the United States or to open a bank account.
So, if you are a non-U.S. resident, you can rest assured.
The SSN is not a work permit
The SSN is simply an identification number.
Of course, if you are granted a work permit in the United States as an immigrant, you will be asked to apply for your SSN because they need to link your identification number with the work permit.
The Social Security Number will be useful for paying into programs like Medicare or taxes. However, it is not a permit but rather a document to live legally in the United States.
What are the requirements for applying for an SSN for foreigners?
For U.S. Citizens
Although for U.S. citizens, this is a document assigned from the moment of birth, these are the basic requirements needed:
Birth certificate, ID, passport, or some other document issued by the Social Security Administration: You need one of these documents to prove that you are a legal citizen of the United States, verify your identity, and age.
For Residents with Work Permits:
1. Work Permit: If you have a work permit to work in the United States, you must show your Arrival/Departure Record (I-94) or an admission stamp into the country in your valid passport.
2. Evidence of Your Immigration Status: Present your Permanent Resident Card (I-551) along with your foreign passport, your Employment Authorization Document (I-766), or your arrival/departure record in your valid foreign passport (I-94). Any of these documents will suffice.
3. Evidence of Your Identity: You will be asked to prove your identity with any document (foreign or domestic), such as your driver’s license, ID, passport, etc.
4. Evidence of Your Age: Normally, your birth certificate is requested to verify your age.
But if you don’t have this document, you can use your passport, ID, or some other document issued by the Social Security Administration.
Now, let’s see how you can apply for your SSN as a foreigner.
Steps to Apply for an SSN for Foreigners with Work Permits
1. Gather the Required Documents
When applying, you must have all the required documents on hand, and these are the documents mentioned above in the requirements.
2. Fill Out Your Application
Once you have all the documents on hand, you can proceed to fill out the SS-5-SP form.
To do this, you need to print the form and fill in the information on page 5 in clear blue or black ink.
3. Submit Your Application
Now that you have everything, it’s time to submit the documents and your application.
To do this, call 1-800-772-1213 between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. They will give you a date for submission, and you will need to bring it to the Social Security Administration office in person.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to get an SSN?
Applying for your SSN is free. However, some of the documents you need to submit when applying may have associated costs.
How long does it take to receive my SSN card?
Generally, it takes 10 to 14 business days. This time frame starts from the moment your application is processed.
Once your Social Security card is ready, the SSA will send it to you after receiving all the required information.
Does the SSN expire?
No, the SSN does not expire.
Usually, when you obtain your card, you have a permanent and unique number.
The only way your number might change is in special cases, such as identity theft.
Can non-citizens obtain an SSN?
Yes, they can.
What needs to be taken into account is that they need to demonstrate that they have some legal work permit in the country.
You are now ready to apply for your SSN
We hope this article has been very helpful for you.
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See you in the next article.