How to Find Your Social Security Number

Posted by in Immigrants | Updated on November 23, 2022
At a Glance: If you don’t have an Social Security Number yet, you must have a Social Security card. The number can also be found on your W-2s, tax returns, or bank statements.

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In the U.S., all people who have a job and earn an income should have an SSN, as this allows for the person’s income to be reported to the IRS. Not all people may know where to find it, though. So, where to find your Social Security Number?

4 Ways to Find Your Social Security Number

To find a Social Security number, you must first make sure that you have one. Not all people have one, so if you’re not employed just yet and don’t pay taxes, you will not find one at all.

1. On Your Card

If you have one, though, you must have a Social Security card. So, to find out your number, you should check your card, which features the number along with your name.

2. On Your Tax Returns or Bank Statement

But if you don’t remember where you placed your card, you can also check out your W-2s, tax returns, or bank statements. The Social Security Number usually appears there.

3. From a Former Employer

Another good option is going to your employer or former employer. Employers tend to keep Social Security information, so you may use this method if you don’t have another way to find your SSN. Contact your employer and ask for a copy of your number.

4. USCIS Forms You’ve Filed

Sometimes, the SSN may also be found on USCIS forms you filed previously, although it’s not always the case. If you don’t have an SSN just yet and you need to file USCIS forms, you can still proceed by answering “N/A” in the SSN field. People with nonimmigrant visas usually don’t have an SSN.

Social Security Number Overview

Social Security Numbers are made of nine digits and are given to U.S. citizens, as well as lawful permanent residents.1 In some cases, even some working nonimmigrants may receive an SSN. The number was created as part of The New Deal in 1935.

An SSN is given to anyone who earns an income, and it is necessary in order to report the individual’s income to the IRS. Tracking employment for each working individual helps for Social Security benefits. But that’s not all the SSN does. The number can also help identify individuals in order to track their credit records, but also for tax purposes.

The SSN is mandatory for everyone who is older than 18 and receives an income. That’s because the income has to be reported to the IRS. This is why you need to be aware that you cannot run away from this and that having an income will require having an SSN too.

Getting a Social Security number is possible if you file Form SS-5, which is the Application for a Social Security Card.2,3 When making the application, you must also send some other documents with the form. These include documents that prove your identity, age, as well as U.S. immigration or citizenship status. Luckily, this comes at no cost.

Also, you cannot use an SSN that wasn’t issued for you. In the event that you have several Social Security numbers or you have one that wasn’t made for you, you shouldn’t use it, not until you’ve spoken to an immigration lawyer first. Otherwise, if you use a false SSN on a USCIS form, your application will most likely be denied. Enforcement action may be taken too.

Usually, in order to find your Social Security Number, you will have to check your Social Security card. It may also be found on other documents like bank statements or tax returns, as well as some USCIS forms.

Applying for an SSN as an Immigrant

If you’re an immigrant and you wish to obtain your own SSN, you have to apply for it. Don’t know how? Here are the steps you should take.

Apply with Your Visa

Did you know that you can use your visa in order to get an SSN? Requesting a Social Security part is possible through your visa application too, which makes getting a Social Security number much easier.

When you file your Form DS-260, aka the Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, or your Form DS-230, aka the Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, you can ask for an SSN too.

When filing, you can request a Social Security number, so you need to select this option if you are looking to obtain one. Picking this option here will ensure you don’t need to submit a separate application for a card or visit a special Social Security office. It makes things easier.

When you arrive in the United States, you will be given an SSN by the Social Security Administration. You will receive a card as well. Basically, the address where you receive your green card from the Department of Homeland Security will be the same one where you receive your Social Security card.

Keep in mind that you may have to wait a few weeks until your card arrives. Typically, after you get to the United States, it takes about 3-4 weeks to receive it. However, if you still don’t receive it after this period, you should call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to the officials.

Apply with Your I-765

Similar to the visa application, you can apply for an SSN when you request employment authorization. So, an individual can opt to apply for the Social Security Number when sending the employment authorization application.

All you have to do is file Form I-765 with USCIS. Through this form, you can ask for an SSN. A lot of times, people such as DACA recipients or adjustment of status applicants use this method in order to ask for a Social Security Number.

How to Replace Your SSN If It’s Been Lost or Stolen

If you lost your SSN or it got stolen, you can ask for a replacement. Having your Social Security card stolen or losing it will make it harder for you to find your SSN. This is why you should make sure to have it replaced. If you want to do that, you should go to the Social Security Administration website.

But if you know your SSN, it may not be necessary to replace the card. You just need to make sure you have it on other documents as well, like your tax returns or bank statements.

What makes this great is the fact that you will not have to pay to have your Social Security card replaced if it got lost or stolen, or if you damaged it. All you have to do is fill out an Application for a Social Security Card and print it. Then, you can mail it to the local Social Security office, together with other documents.

The Bottom Line

Finding your SSN is possible by checking your Social Security card, but you can also find it on bank statements or tax returns. If you lost your card and need the number, you will have to apply for a replacement, and in the meantime, you can ask your employer for more information on it.

Sources Referenced

  1. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/ssn.asp
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_number
  3. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/050515/purpose-social-security-form-ss5.asp

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