I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.See all posts Frank Gogol
Driving for Uber & Social Security Numbers Explained
Uber is the largest ride-sharing platform in the world and has provided drivers with a medium to earn money through their smartphone. But it has its own requirements when it comes to allowing drivers on its platform.
One of them is the Social Security Number. If you’re looking to work as a driver for Uber, Lyft, or any other ride-sharing platform, here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Social Security Number?
A Social Security Number (SSN) is a unique nine-digit number given to every U.S. citizen, permanent residents, and temporary workers. This is part of the Social Security Act. People with an SSN use it for various administrative purposes as a personal identification tool.
Can I Drive for Uber Without an SSN?
Uber is a private organization and has its own policies for drivers. Uber doesn’t publicly share its policies for non-citizens to become drivers on its platform. All it says is you need to be at least 21 years old with a valid driver’s license and Social Security Number. However, it might get more complicated for non-citizens. It could potentially put their immigration status at risk.
Various online resources say that Uber does require its drivers to have an SSN. That’s because a background check is conducted whenever someone applies to become a driver. Since the SSN serves as an identification tool, it is inherently required by the company.
So, if you don’t have an SSN, then most likely, you cannot drive for Uber or Lyft or any other ride-sharing company in the U.S. But even if you have an SSN, this doesn’t mean you can work for such companies as a driver. This is because an SSN isn’t a work authorization.
What Is Needed to Drive for Uber
Uber has simple (yet strict) requirements for drivers. When we say strict, it means non-negotiable. You have to fulfill them. You can get associated with the company in three ways.
- Driver cum owner (where you drive the car, and you’re also the owner)
- Driver under partner (where you drive the car, but the vehicle is not owned by you)
- Non-driving partner (you don’t drive but own a fleet of vehicles)
For driver cum owner, you need to show a driver’s license, vehicle registration, vehicle insurance, and vehicle permit papers.
For driver under partner, all you need is a driver’s license. For a non-driving partner, a photo ID or driver’s license, vehicle insurance, vehicle registration, and vehicle permit papers are required.
When you look up Uber’s driver requirement page, you see no mention of an SSN. But it’ll be asked for down the road once you sign up and begin the process.
The same way not everyone can drive for Uber, not all cars can be used for driving. Before allowing a car to drive for Uber, your vehicle will be inspected at an activation center managed by the company or at a state-licensed repair center.
The inspection mainly consists of paperwork and mechanical checks. For complete details, you can refer to this article.
Why Does Uber Require a Social Security Number?
Uber will run a criminal background check on you once you apply to become a driver on its platform. Similar checks are run by Lyft and other ride-sharing companies. This is to ensure that their drivers are free from criminal records and their platform remains safe. And what can be better than an SSN to carry out a background check? So, you have to present it whenever you’re asked for it.
Unfortunately, not all non-citizens get an SSN. Therefore, certain individuals categorized as non-citizens are not eligible to drive for Uber. Let’s check out the eligibility requirements for them.
Which Non-Citizens Are Eligible for an SSN?
As already mentioned, not all non-citizens are given an SSN during their stay in the U.S. Only the following non-citizens can get a Social Security card and an SSN:
- Permanent residents (also known as Green card holders)
- Work visa holders (H1B, H2B)
- Refugees and political asylum beneficiaries
- International students
- People not working in the U.S. but possessing an SSN for receiving government benefits
Which Non-Citizens Are Eligible to Drive for Uber?
Given that there are no restrictions imposed for working, the following non-citizens can work as an Uber driver:
- Permanent Residents
- Refugees and political asylums
If you have prohibitions that affect your immigration status, then you might not be able to work as a driver for Uber.
Which Non-Citizens Are Not Eligible to Drive for Uber?
Generally speaking, anyone who has work prohibition based on their immigration status isn’t eligible to drive for Uber, irrespective of their citizenship status. But specifically, the following non-citizens are ineligible:
- International students (all work must be related to the field of study)
- H1B and H2B visa holders
- Undocumented immigrants
An SSN Alone Does Not Grant Work Authorization
You need to understand that only by getting an SSN, you cannot apply to jobs directly. You need to explicitly obtain permission to work in line with your visa or other status. This includes receiving an offer from an employer who will sponsor your status. Also, you need to have a work permit or EAD.
What Is an EAD?
EAD stands for Employment Authorization Document. It is a document provided by the USCIS to non-citizens as evidence that they are then legally allowed to work in the U.S.
How to Apply for an EAD?
To get an EAD, you need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, after checking your eligibility. Click here to check your eligibility.
- How to Get a Driver License Without a Social Security Number
- SSN vs. ITIN: What’s the Difference?
- Why are the Last 4 Digits of an SSN Important?
- How to Get a Social Security Card for a Newborn
- How Are Social Security Numbers Assigned?
It’s worth mentioning that Uber might still find you eligible if you do not have an SSN or work permit as long as it complies with their requirements. But by doing so, you’re putting your own status at risk. If you do get accepted to work as an Uber driver without an SSN or work permit, it’s best to consult with a lawyer before moving forward.
Non-Citizen Uber FAQ
Many non-citizens have questions when it comes to working for Uber. Here are some of the most common that come up.
Can You Drive for Uber With a Temporary Work Visa?
Yes, you can drive for Uber with a valid temporary work visa, such as an H1B or H2B visa. As long as you meet the other requirements set by Uber, including having a valid driver’s license and meeting the age requirement, you can work as an Uber driver.
Can You Drive for Uber as an International Student?
Generally, international students are not eligible to work as Uber drivers unless the work is directly related to their field of study. However, it’s important to check with your specific visa regulations and consult with your designated school official (DSO) or an immigration attorney to determine your eligibility.
Can Undocumented Immigrants Drive for Uber?
Undocumented immigrants are generally not eligible to drive for Uber. Uber requires drivers to have a valid Social Security Number as part of their background check process. Without legal work authorization, undocumented immigrants are unable to obtain a Social Security Number and therefore cannot meet Uber’s requirements to become a driver.
Can Permanent Residents and Refugees Drive for Uber?
Yes, permanent residents (Green card holders) and refugees are eligible to drive for Uber as long as they meet the other requirements, such as having a valid driver’s license and meeting the age requirement. Permanent residents and refugees are eligible to obtain a Social Security Number, which is a requirement for Uber’s background check.
Can You Drive for Uber Without a U.S. Driver’s License?
No, to drive for Uber in the United States, you must have a valid U.S. driver’s license issued by any state. International driver’s licenses are not accepted.
Can You Drive for Uber With an ITIN?
No, an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) is not accepted as a form of identification for becoming an Uber driver. Uber requires a valid Social Security Number as part of its background check process.
Can You Drive for Uber With a Temporary Driver’s License (AB-60)?
Uber’s eligibility requirements may vary depending on the state and local regulations. In some states, such as California, individuals with a temporary driver’s license (AB-60 license) issued to undocumented immigrants may be eligible to drive for Uber. It’s important to check with Uber and the specific regulations in your state to determine eligibility.
Can You Drive for Uber With a Work Permit (EAD)?
Having a work permit, also known as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), is generally a requirement to legally work in the United States. If you have a valid work permit, you may be eligible to drive for Uber as long as you meet the other requirements set by the company.