Cities and Towns in the United States > Identification > How to Apply for a Social Security Number (SNN) And Card


Every American has the right to receive particular benefits linked to paying taxes. Without a social security number, you cannot enjoy these benefits, and you risk being under the taxman’s radar if you do not have this revenue identification code. If you’re yet to get your social security number, here are the reasons you should sign up for one and subsequent steps you should take to secure this number.

What Is A Social Security Number And Why Would You Need It?

A social security number is a nine-digit code unique to every US citizen or permanent resident. This digit is essential in identifying each citizen, critical for securing job opportunities and getting access to government benefits throughout the US.

Getting Your Social Security Number And Card in The US For Adults and Children

Who Can Request A Social Security Number?

There are several categories of individuals who can request a social security number. American citizens must have this identification digit to allow them to get work opportunities and enjoy state benefits. Children can also have a right to claim a SSN, which comes in handy when you want to open a bank account, buy savings bonds, get a medical cover, or claim government services for them.

Foreigners can also apply for this provision, but the availability of this service is limited to non-citizens who the United States Department of Homeland Security has cleared to work in the US. This can include students, temporary workers, and people on non-immigrant visas.

Requirements And Documentation Needed

Social security services are strict regarding the documents you submit when applying for a social security number. Adults and children must submit different identification documents when applying for a social security number for the first time. For adults, you must submit the following:

  • US birth certificate or US passport to verify citizenship
  • • A religious record made before the age of five, US passport, or US hospital record to ascertain your age
  • US driver’s license
  • • US record of your birth
  • • State-issued non-driver identification
  • • Employee identification
  • • Health insurance card
  • • US military identification card

If you are applying for your child’s social security number, you can get it simultaneously with a birth certificate. This is a much faster way of doing this, considering you won’t have to wait for SS services to verify the birth certificate. If your child is older than 12 years, you will have to provide two of the following documents:

  • • US birth certificate
  • • School identification card
  • • A religious record made before the age of five, US passport, or US hospital record to ascertain your age
  • • Health insurance card
  • • US record of their birth

If you or your child have lived outside the US, you may need to provide a previous or current passport, school or employment records, and other documents ascertaining long-term residence outside the US.

Children older than 12 years will also mandatorily appear for an interview to prove they do not have a previous SSN.

Where And How Can You Apply?

Applications for a social security number are all made through the Social Security Services department. You can submit your application at their offices or send a virtual application. You must have a mailing address allowing them to send these details to you.

If you have never applied for a social security number and live abroad, you can access these services at the US embassy in your resident country. You must physically appear at the embassy’s social security federal benefits unit to apply for this document.

What To do If You Lost Your Card Or Was Stolen

If your card was stolen or lost, you can visit the social security services website and apply for a replacement. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the loss of your card, you can get a new SSN, or the department will give you a new card with the same credential as your lost card.

How Do You Change Or Correct Your Name On Your SSNC

When you want to change the details on your social security card, or there’s a mistake requiring correction, contacting the social security services should be your go-to action. If you apply for this service online, you will go through a comprehensive questionnaire to elaborate on your problem and what you want to be done.

If you are not conversant with internet proceedings, you can effortlessly visit their physical offices in your state and inquire about them in person. The available support team will take you through the process at your convenience.

Cost, Validity, And Processing Time

You pay nothing to get a social security number. The service is free for every US citizen and qualifying non-citizens. Once you apply for this number, it may take up to four months to process your number and card. Once the SSN has been processed, the department will mail it to the address you provided during the application.

A social security number is valid for a lifetime. It does not have an expiry date. However, you may have to get a new one if you face identity theft problems or lose yours in unclear circumstances.