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Social Security Card Application Guide

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General Information About Social Security: The Social Security system was set up in the 1930s to provide financial assistance to the disabled and elderly. Employers and employees are required to pay social security taxes to contribute to this fund. Each United States citizen and permanent resident (Green Card holder) has a unique social security number in order to maintain records of the funds being established, as well as to allocate benefits to those who are entitled to receive them.

Some temporary visitors, students and workers on non-immigrant visas are also allowed and sometimes required to obtain a Social Security number. The Social Security card is a very important document in the United States. Not only does it entitle the individual to certain benefits once retired, but employers, banks, schools and the USCIS all use the social security card as a form of identification. Social Security is a complex system that is linked to many other government and private and databases and services.

Social Security Card Eligibility Requirements: Any person seeking employment in the United States needs a Social Security number and a Social Security Card. A Social Security number is also required when filing taxes. Not everyone is eligible to receive a Social Security card. Social Security cards are usually only issued to U.S. citizens, permanent residents (Green Card holders) and individuals with permission to work in the United States. However, there are 2 types of social security cards that are issued to foreigners without work authorization, as well as foreign students and individuals on temporary visas.

These Social Security Cards contain one of the following restrictions printed on them:


Important: Individuals who are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number can apply for ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).






CLICK HERE to download the Social Security Card Application. Instructions and Application Forms Included.

The Social Security Guide:

  • Overview of the Social Security system
  • Purpose of Social Security
  • Why obtain a Social Security Number
  • Eligibility information for U.S. citizens and permanent residents (Green Card holders)
  • Eligibility information for temporary workers, students and visitors
  • The differences between the types of Social Security cards issued to foreigners
  • How to apply for a Social Security number as a part of the immigration process
  • How to apply for a Social Security number after arrival to the United States
  • Social Security number application requirements
  • Description of application process
  • Information about ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) for individuals who are not eligible for a Social Security Number
  • Contact information for the Social Security Administration and IRS
  • How to obtain free Social Security application forms


Social Security Card  

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