A Social Security number is a unique nine-digit number issued by the U.S. government and primarily used to track income taxes owed by individuals. All citizens, green card holders and non-citizens who work in the U.S. are required to have a Social Security number. You will need this number when applying for a job, and a Social Security number is also important if you want to build a credit history to apply for loans, credit cards and rental housing.


If you are a humanitarian parolee or have received Temporary Protected Status and are applying for employment authorization using Form I-765, be sure apply for a Social Security number by filling out Part 2 of the form (Items 13a-17.b).  If United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your application, you will receive two documents:  Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), also known as the “USCIS I-766 card” or “work permit," and in another envelope your Social Security card (the card will have your name and Social Security number on it).  You should receive your card with your number no later than seven business days after you receive your EAD from USCIS.


If you are applying for Permanent Resident Status using Form I-485, as of August 9, 2021, in most cases USCIS will now electronically transmit the data to the Social Security Administration after approving Form I-485. Upon receiving the data, the Social Security Administration will automatically assign an original Social Security number or issue a replacement card, as appropriate. This partnership with the Social Security Administration does not increase the filing fee for Form I-485.


It is important that you protect your Social Security number. If criminals access it, they could use it to illegally apply for benefits or loans in your name or commit other crimes. Only carry your Social Security card with you if you need it on that day. Otherwise keep it at home in a secure place. You should keep any documents that contain your Social Security number in a secure location and safeguard and encrypt any electronic documents that contain your number. Though anyone can ask for your Social Security number, in general, you should only provide it to your employer, a government agency or to a bank if you are applying for a loan, a checking or savings account, or a debit or credit card.