Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions. If you did not find what you were looking for, you can ask your question at

What if I don't receive my SSN card within 3 weeks of arrival?

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.

Do I need to pay a fee to receive an SSN card?

No. We don't charge a fee to assign a Social Security number or issue a Social Security card. If you should lose the card, we will replace it for free. We suggest you keep your card in a safe place, as you would any important document.

Will SSA share any information with others?

No. We keep strictly confidential all information you provide for a Social Security number and do not disclose it 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.

I didn't apply for an SSN card through my visa process. How can I get an SSN card?

If you didn't request a Social Security number card as part of your visa application, you must apply for a card at a Social Security office. When you have a permanent address where we can mail your card, please contact us to find out where to apply.

I will apply for a Social Security card at a field office. What do I need to bring with me?

When you visit a Social Security office to apply for a Social Security card for each family member applying for a number, take:

  • The passport or travel document with your Machine Readable Immigrant Visa (MRIV);
  • Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551), if you have received it; and
  • Birth record.

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

What if I change my address after I fill out all the forms?

If you change your mailing address after arriving and before you receive your Social Security card, call us. If you change your mailing address after arriving and after receiving your Social Security card, you do not need to contact us.

I need to contact Social Security before I leave for the U.S. Who do I call?

If you need to contact us before you leave for the United States, we are assisted outside the United States by United States embassies, United States consulates, and Veteran's Affairs Regional Office in Manila which assists us in the Philippines. Click here for the information about where to contact us.

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