A Social Security number (SSN) is a nine-digit number that is generally issued to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain (working) nonimmigrants. The Social Security Administration issues the number to track individuals for Social Security benefits. However, over time, the SSN has become a facto national identification number for taxation and other purposes. It’s a common component on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms.
Finding Your Social Security Number
If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), you can find it on your Social Security card. Some other places that you can find your SSN are on tax returns, W-2s and bank statements. You may even find it on previously filed USCIS forms. However, if you do not have a Social Security number, you may generally answer “None” in the space provided on USCIS forms. Most individuals with nonimmigrant visas do not have Social Security numbers.
You may also be able to recover your SSN from an employer. Employers generally keep Social Security information on file. Check with your employer to obtain a copy of the number.
If you have multiple Social Security numbers or use an SSN that was not issued to you, do not use it on USCIS forms until you have spoken to an immigration attorney. Never use a Social Security Number that was not issued to you. Using a false SSN (or one that was not issued to you) will likely result in your application being denied and may result in other enforcement action.
Replacing a Lost/Stolen Social Security Numbers
If your Social Security card was lost, stolen or otherwise destroyed, you can replace it. However, if you know your Social Security number, it’s generally not necessary to replace the card. For details on replacing a card, you can visit the Social Security Administration website.
You can get an original Social Security card or a replacement card if yours is lost or stolen. There is no charge for a Social Security card. This service is free. Generally, noncitizens must fill out and print an Application for a Social Security Card; and take or mail your application and documents to your local Social Security office.