Social Security Information
- To Apply for a social security number (SSN), you will need to have the following:
- I-94 Form (Stapled to your VISA in customs at destination airport)
- There are two basic operations that may change the speed of your SSN being processed:
- The agent will take you to the social security office immediately upon your arrival to turn in the required paperwork. You can expect to receive your card within 6 weeks.
- The agent will take you to the social security office in 10-14 business days from arrival. You will then submit your application. If the form I-94 has been cleared, the wait time to get your SSN is about 2 weeks. If the I-94 has not cleared the wait will be up to 6 weeks.
Please note that during this process you may not leave the U.S. or it will start your process time all over again.
NOTE: Your employer cannot pay you in the United States without a Social Security Number. We recommend you are prepared with funds to cover initial expenses, and possibly your first month’s rent and security deposits for when you move into a permanent rental. Please see your relocation coordinator or hiring manager if you have any questions.
Basic Information on Social Security Process
- In order for the Social Security Office to Issue a SSN, they must first receive authorization from the INS that you have entered the country with a legal passport and VISA. This process often takes from 10-14 days after you arrive in the US. If you apply for the SSN before you are listed in the system, the social security office must then send your application and copy of passport to the INS office to receive authorization. This delays the process, which can take as long as 4-6 weeks. If you wait to apply for your SSN for the 14 days or until the social security office has received your information you can get a SSN in a few days.
- To apply for a SSN, you need your passport, VISA, and Form I-94, received when you entered the country. You may be asked for a birth certificate, although it is not required if you are not able to obtain it. We suggest that you bring all INS papers that you have, in addition to your passport.
- Any family member, spouse or child, not on a work visa, IS NOT ELIGIBLE for a SSN, and is required to get a Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) at the Internal Revenue Office. Family members will need their passport, VISA, and one other form of identification document, as well as a completed W-7 form located at the IRS FORMS.
Social Security Administration
What is a Social Security number, and do I really want or need one?
Before the industrial revolution, America was mostly a country of small farmers. But we soon became a country where more people worked for wages and fewer worked the land. This change helped make America strong, and it raised our standard of living. It also created new risks to family security and made it more difficult for families to “take care of their own” in hard times.
The Great Depression of the 1930’s dramatized the fact that many American workers were finally dependent of factors beyond their own control. The Social Security Act, signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935, helped to alleviate this situation.
In the years that followed, Social Security was broadened to include survivor’s benefits, disability benefits and health care benefits.
The Social Security system provides a minimum “floor of protection” for retired workers, and for workers and their families who face a loss of income due to disability or the death of a family wage earner.
Social Security payments are based on two underlying philosophies. First, the system is designed so that there is a clear link between how much a worker pays into the system and how much he or she will get in benefits. Basically, high wage earners get more, low wage earners get less.
At the same time the Social Security benefit formula is weighted in favor of low wage earners, who have fewer resources to save or invest during their working years. Social Security retirement benefits replace approximately 60% of the pre-retirement years. Social Security provides disability and survivors insurance to workers over their working lifetimes.
Our Social Security System has been a basic part of American life for 60 years. It has been changed frequently over the years to meet new needs of workers and beneficiaries. It will undoubtedly change in the future to meet the needs of 21st century workers and their beneficiaries.
Social Security Number
The SSA is aware of concerns about the increasing uses of the Social Security number for client identification and record keeping. Although, several other government agencies are permitted by law to use Social Security numbers, the law generally does not prohibit and use the numbers by the private sector. Banks and other financial institutions use the numbers to report interest earned on accounts to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Privacy of Records
Although we can’t prevent others from asking for your number, you should know that giving it to them does not give them access to your Social Security records. The privacy of your records is guaranteed unless 1) disclosure to another government agency is required by law or 2) the information is needed to conduct Social Security or other government health or welfare programs.
If a business or other enterprise asks you for your Social Security number, you can refuse to give it to them. However, that may mean doing without the services for which your number was requested.
Our primary message is this: be careful with your Social Security Number and protect its privacy always!
For More Information:
By calling 1-800-772-1213, you can use the automated telephone services to get recorded information and conduct some business 24 hours a day. If you cannot handle your business through our automated services, you can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call during the week after Tuesday. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.