When you are admitted into the United States as a lawful permanent resident (green card holder), the Department of Homeland Security sends your information to the Social Security Administration, notifying them of your arrival and status. In general, you can expect to receive your social security card within three weeks of being admitted into the country. If you do not receive your card within three weeks, go to the nearest social security office or card center with proof of age, identity and employment authorization.
If entering as a nonimmigrant, you may submit an application for a social security number (SSN) at a social security administration (SSA) office. You must take the following documents with you to present to the social security official: a valid passport, a printout of your I-94 Arrival/Departure record, a completed form SS-5, application for a social security card and a second form of identification, such as an international driver’s license. Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm recommends that you wait at least 10 calendar days after your entry into the United States to make your appointment for an SSN so that your nonimmigrant status will be updated in the appropriate database. Currently, it takes the SSA approximately two weeks to assign a social security number. However, the SSA has recently instituted a verification system whereby the SSA must verify the individual’s immigration documents with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before it will issue a social security card. The SSA reports that it usually issues the card within two days of receiving the verification from USCIS. However, if the SSA cannot verify the immigration documents online, it may take several weeks or months to obtain the verification response from USCIS.
The Firm recommends that when you submit your SSN application, you request a copy of the uncertified SSN application for your records. You can also provide the SSA with a telephone number and the SSA will notify you telephonically of the SSN issuance before you receive your card in the mail. Another alternative is to call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 and ask for your SSN. The teleservice representative would be able to locate and provide the SSN (after verifying your identity) when the number has been issued.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact Garfinkel Immigration Law Firm by phone at 704-442-8000 or via email with any additional questions and to receive more information.