Social Security Numbers for U.S. Permanent Residents

We are pleased you intend to immigrate to the United States. Upon admission to the United States based on your immigrant visa, you will be a U.S. permanent resident. Each permanent resident needs a Social Security Number (SSN). An SSN will help you to work in the United States, to conduct business with a bank or financial institution, to pay your taxes or to be listed as a dependent on a tax return, and for other purposes.

If You Requested an SSN When You Applied for Your Visa

If you requested an SSN card as part of your visa application, U.S. Department of State (DoS), Form DS 230, “Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration” or the electronic Form DS 260, “Immigrant Visa Electronic Application”, DoS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will share with us the information needed to issue you an SSN card. Therefore, you do not need to fill out a special application or go to a Social Security office to get an SSN.

We will assign you an SSN and issue you a Social Security card after you arrive in the United States. If you already have an SSN, we will issue you a replacement SSN card. We will mail your SSN card to the U.S. mailing address where the Department of Homeland Security will send your Permanent Resident Card. You should receive your Social Security card within 3 weeks after you arrive.

IMPORTANT: Call us if you do not receive your Social Security card after 3 weeks or if you change your mailing address after arrival in the United States. If you call us, please have this letter with you. It will help us answer your questions.

If You Did Not Request an SSN When You Applied for Your Visa

You must come to a Social Security office to apply for an SSN if you did not request an SSN card as part of your visa application. When you have a permanent address, please contact us to find out where to apply for an SSN card.

When you visit a Social Security office to apply for a Social Security card, take the following papers with you:

  • Your passport with your Machine-Readable Immigrant Visa (MRIV) or Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551) if you have it; and,
  • your birth certificate and a birth certificate for each member of your family applying for a Social Security number.

If you are applying for a replacement card you will only need your passport with your MRIV or Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), if you have received it.

A Social Security representative will help you complete the application. You should receive your SSN card within 2 weeks after we have everything we need to process your application. If we need to verify any document you show us, it may take longer.

Additional Information

The information you give us for getting an SSN is confidential. This means that we do not share your information except as provided for under the law. For example, we may share information with other government agencies as permitted under the Privacy Act. For more information about this, please contact us.

In the United States, you may call the telephone number listed for the Social Security office in the local telephone directory under "United States Government" or Social Security's toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. You can also find the nearest Social Security office on the Internet at If you need to contact us before you leave for the United States, contact or visit your nearest Federal Benefits Unit. Visit to locate the Federal Benefits Unit near you.