You Are New in the USA? You Cannot Live Without a Social Security Number – Here is How
A Social Security Number is essential in the United States. You usually need it to obtain a driver’s license, to register for Health Insurance and for many other purposes. If you are not a US citizen or a Green Card holder, you have to meet certain requirements to obtain one. In general, you have to be able to show that you are authorized to work in the United States. Let’s assume you have a work visa. Let’s say you have an L-1 visa. You obtained it from the US Consulate, you entered the United States on the airplane, you filled out a white I-94 card and it is now stapled into your passport. That will be sufficient for you to obtain a Social Security Number. Same with the, let’s say, H-1B visa which you may have obtained through a US Consulate you entered the United States, fill out the white I-94 card and that will be sufficient proof that you are authorized to work in the United States
Now to obtain a Number for the first time you have go in person to the nearest Office of the Social Security Administration. How do you find it? You have two options, you can call the number 1800-772-1213 once again that is 1800-772-1213 and the system will ask you for your zip code/a postal code, which you can put in with the buttons of the telephone and it will tell you where the nearest office of the Social Security Administration is. Once again, there is a locator service you can put in your zip code and it will tell you where to go and where to apply for the Social Security Number in person.
Now, there is a form that you have to fill out it is the so called SS-5. It is a very simple form, you don’t necessarily have to fill it out before you go to the Social Security Administration because most likely you will have to wait and they have copies of the form there, it will only take you a few minutes to fill out that form. So, first time you apply for the Number, go in person, go to the nearest Office of the Social Security Administration, you have to bring proof that you are authorized to work in the United States if you are on a visa in the United States. So, an L-1 visa, H-1B visa, E-2 visa will be sufficient, you have to prove that you are legally in the United States and you do this with the white I-94 form that is stapled into your passport. There are certain problems with the Number. The first problem is the delay. When you apply as a foreigner for a Number, you have to plan about 6 weeks to obtain this number. The reason is, that the Social Security Administration forwards your information to the Immigration Service to the USCIS to verify that you are authorized to work. And this additional check does take time so calculate about 6 weeks, so you can be on the pay roll of your employer in the United States.
Now, I mentioned the E-2 visa before if you remember, the E-2 visa can be issued by a US consulate directly i.e., the Immigration Service doesn’t really have a record that this E-2 visa has been approved for you. And it means that the Immigration Service does not know that you are authorized to work. So, if you do have an E-2 visa, please be prepared for additional delays. Because the Immigration Service might notify the Social Security Administration that they couldn’t find any work visa for you and you might have to prove to the Social Security Administration that you are really authorized to work and provide additional information.
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