Do I Need to Update My SSN After Getting My Green Card?

Finally you received your green card and don't need a work permit to work anymore! If you were on a work visa (like H1B) before you changed it into a permanent resident, then chances are you have your unique social security number (SNN) already.

Do I need to update my SSN after getting the green card?

However, if you take a closer look, your social security card should have this restriction on it: "VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION" What does that mean? This means your social security number was issued based on your temporary work authorization. See the three types of social security cards issued by the government here. So do you need to update your social security card? Short answer - there's no rush! Let's talk more about it:

Do I Need to Update My SSN After Getting My Green Card?

First of all, you will only have one social security number for your whole life, so that number will not change. But, you can (and will eventually need to) update the social security card.

Also, it's not required to change the information on your card right away after receiving your green card unless there's a specific reason that you need to use the most up-to-date social security card information.

However, after 3 to 5 years of being a permanent resident, you will be eligible for becoming a U.S. citizen. Once you obtain your certificate of naturalization, you will be required to update the social security card and change your status to be "American". So you can wait until then to update your SS card if you want.

Also, if your last name has changed after you got married and your existing social security card still shows your single last name, then you would want to update your social security card as well so your name on these two documents match (Green Card & Social Security Card).

Read here to learn about When Can I Apply for U.S. Citizenship?

Here's some basic information about SSN for newcomers:

What is an SSN for?

Social security number (SSN) allows you to pay social security tax and receive benefits like other Americans. You are actually required to have this number when you legally work in the U.S. 

In order to receive social security benefits, a permanent resident has to "earn" a minimum of 40 credits. Each year of your work will count into 4 credits so that's typically 40 quarters or 10 years of work to be qualified for the benefits. Learn more about social security benefits here.

How to Apply for an SSN

If you are new to the U.S., then it's important to get your SNN before you can start working. In your green card application, there is a question asking you if you want to apply for an SSN at the same time, remember to check "Yes"! That's the easiest way to apply for it. If for some reason, you didn't apply for your SSN when you obtained your status, you can always apply for it later when you arrive the U.S. It's just more time-consuming! Bring your green card, passport and/or other visa documents with you to your local social security office to apply for it.

Note: The social security offices suspended face-to-face service to the public until further notice. When they resume the services, you can use this link to locate your local office.

Have you applied for your social security card?

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