How to Get a Temporary Social Security Card

Posted by Frank Gogol
Updated on May 16, 2022

At a Glance: To get a temporary Social Security card, you can go to your local Social Security office (get your card the same day) or apply online (get your card in 10 days). You’ll need proof of identity and age as well as the completed required paperwork.

As an American, a Social Security card is necessary for your identity and protection. Whether you are studying in college, applying for credit, applying for loans — everywhere you have to provide your Social Security information.

What do you do if you lose your Social Security card? What is the best way to reach out to the Social Security Administration for a replacement? Stay calm and read this complete guide to find out.

What Is a Temporary Social Security Card?

If an American citizen has lost their Social Security card that was issued to them by the Social Security Administration, they can apply for an immediate temporary replacement as a placeholder for all official documentation. A temporary Social Security card is only valid for 30 days, and during this time, you must apply for a Social Security card.

Once you have your new Social Security card, you can shred your temporary Social Security card and use the permanent one for official applications.

Getting a replacement social security card the same day is free! Using the SS-5 form provided by the SSA, you can fill out your application at home and bring it to your local social security office. This can save a bit of time (and help prevent identity theft) if your nearest social security office location is busy.

How to Get a Temporary Social Security Card

There are two ways to get a temporary Social Security card. To get a temporary Social Security Card, you will need a few things:

  • Proof of Identity and Age
  • Completely Filled Out Paperwork

You can apply for the card online, in which case it will be sent to your address in 10 days. But we suggest you go to the local social security office and apply for the card in person to get it within one day. This is the more secure option.

Proof of Identity and Age

When you are filling out the forms, you have to provide some basic information. This includes documents that prove your identity and age. You should have at least one of these documents handy.

You can submit your birth certificate to prove your age. If you don’t have your birth certificate, you can provide a hospital record or any religious record. If you were adopted, you could give an adoption decree as proof of age.

Fill Out the Document Completely

You should provide information for every field on the form and documentation where needed. If you do not adhere to the guidelines, your application might be rejected. If you are a legal adult, you have to write your signature on the form. A parent or guardian must include their signature on their child’s behalf.

Updating Social Security Information

If you have changed any information on the form, such as your name, you need to produce the relevant documents as proof. You also have to write why you have requested the change.

Submitting the Forms

You can visit the Social Security office in person or file the application online. But to get a temporary printout that same day, you need to go to the office. For security reasons, the federal government will not allow you to print your Social Security card yourself from the Social Security Administration’s website.

However, you can request a replacement Social Security card if you don’t want to go to the Social Security office, and it would reach you within 10 workdays.

Social Security offices are available in the U.S. in every city. Outside the U.S., you can visit a Social Security office in the British Virgin Islands, Samoa, and Canada.

If you are unable to visit a Social Security office or submit your form online, you can also mail in your application. The replacement Social Security card will then be sent to you by mail if all of your information is accurate.

Informing Your Employers

If you have had to apply for a temporary SSN while employed, your temporary SSN must be replaced with the new Social Security number in the payroll system and your IRS paperwork.

Who Needs a Temporary Social Security Card?

Social Security Card

If you are an American citizen, irrespective of whether you are applying for a job or any other application which requires your Social Security number, you need to have a Social Security card to prove your citizenship.


If you are not a citizen and are eligible to work in the U.S., you need to prove all the non-work-related reasons for which you are applying for a temporary Social Security card. This can be done with your immigration documents.

Immigrants can fill out the form to replace their Social Security cards after proving their immigration status.

International Students

If you are an international student or exchange visitor, you need to provide additional documents such as a letter of proof from your workplace and college.

Students who have applied for a temporary Social Security card are eligible to apply for jobs. They can work temporarily without an SSN. Their application process can show that they have used the number, and the field can be left blank. But it is advisable that they apply and acquire a Social Security number and provide that to the DSS as soon as possible.

Temporary Social Security Card FAQ

Is there a fee for applying for a temporary Social Security card?
There is no fee for applying for a temporary Social Security card at your local Social Security Administration office.

How long is the temporary Social Security card valid?
The card is valid for 30 days.

Can I continue using the temporary Social Security card?
No. The temporary card expires in 30 days, after which you need to have your new SSN.

Can I print the temporary Social Security card online?
If you are applying online, you will not be able to print your card for security reasons. To get a temporary card printout, you have to go to the SSA office, and you will get it on the same day.

What are the documents I need to get a temporary Social Security card?
You need evidence of your age and identity. This includes documents such as your birth certificate, driver’s license, and passport. If you are an immigrant or an exchange student, you have to provide additional information about your status. This includes a letter of proof from your employer or school.

Who accepts a temporary Social Security card?
The temporary Social Security card is accepted by all federal and state agencies and employers.

How much does it cost to get a temporary replacement Social Security card?
You can get a temporary replacement Social Security card for free by visiting the SSA office.

Learn More About Immigration

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