Social Security Number

A Social Security Number (SSN) can only be assigned to:

  1. US citizens
  2. Non-US citizens who are authorized to work by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  3. Non-US citizens who are not authorized to work by DHS but who have a valid non-work reason for needing an SSN (e.g., to apply for a federal or state funded benefit to which he/she has established entitlement).

Application for a Social Security Number (SSN)

The procedure for applying for a Social Security Number varies depending on your particular situation. Please choose the type of application that fits your situation and follow the corresponding instructions.

For Types 1, 3 and 4, you should mail the application paperwork to us for processing. If you do not wish to mail the application paperwork to us, you can delay your application until you are in the U.S. or in a country that has a Federal Benefits Unit. You can then file your application in person at a local Social Security Office in the U.S. or at a Federal Benefits Unit.

Type 1 – New SSN for an applicant under the age of 12

Download, complete and sign Form SS-5-FS (PDF 122 KB), Application for a Social Security Card. All questions must be answered legibly.

Send the completed Form SS-5-FS together with the following required documents. All documents submitted must be either originals or certified copies. Uncertified photocopies are not acceptable.

  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Birth Certificate of the child
  • Valid/Unexpired U.S. Passport of the child
  • Valid/Unexpired U.S. Passport or U.S. Government Issued ID (such as U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. Permanent Resident Card, U.S. State Identity Card or U.S. Military ID) of the parent who signed the Form SS-5-FS

Additional Requirement if the child was born in the U.S.:

Type 2 – New SSN for an applicant who is over the age of 12

All first-time Social Security Number (SSN) applicants over the age of 12 must apply in person and undergo a mandatory interview. If the applicant is in the Philippines, the interview must be conducted at the Federal Benefits Unit in Manila. If the applicant is overseas, he/she may visit any U.S. Embassy/Consulate to apply.

Download, complete and sign Form SS-5-FS (PDF 122 KB), Application for a Social Security Card. All questions must be answered legibly.

During the interview, the applicant must present the following original documents:

  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Birth Certificate
  • Valid/Unexpired U.S. Passport, or U.S. Permanent Resident Card together with a valid/unexpired Foreign Passport
  • If the applicant is a minor, Valid/Unexpired U.S. Passport or U.S. Government Issued ID (such as U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. Permanent Resident Card, U.S. State Identity Card or U.S. Military ID) of the parent who signed the Form SS-5-FS

Additional Requirement if the applicant is a U.S. citizen:

  • Documents proving that the applicant has been outside the U.S. for a prolonged period of time. The documents must be comprehensive enough to demonstrate that the applicant has been living outside the U.S. from an early age up to the present. This may include school records (report cards, transcript of records confirming dates of attendance), medical records, travel records (entry/exit stamps on expired passports, immigration records), employment records, etc.

Additional Requirement if the applicant was born in the U.S.:

  •  Complete and sign Form SSA-L-706-F3 (PDF 78 KB), Letter to Custodian of Birth Records. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth with the custodian of the birth record.

Type 3 – Replacement SSN card

Download, complete and sign Form SS-5-FS (PDF 122 KB), Application for a Social Security Card. All questions must be answered legibly.

Send the completed Form SS-5-FS together with the following required documents. All documents submitted must be either originals or certified copies. Uncertified photocopies are not acceptable.

  • Valid/Unexpired U.S. Passport or U.S. Government Issued ID (such as U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. Permanent Resident Card, U.S. State Identity Card or U.S. Military ID)
  • If the number holder is a minor, Valid/Unexpired U.S. Passport or U.S. Government Issued ID (such as U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. Permanent Resident Card, U.S. State Identity Card or U.S. Military ID) of the parent who signed the Form SS-5-FS

Type 4 – Replacement SSN card & Name Update

Download, complete and sign Form SS-5-FS (PDF 122 KB), Application for a Social Security Card. All questions must be answered legibly.

Send the completed Form SS-5-FS together with the following required documents. All documents submitted must be either originals or certified copies. Uncertified photocopies are not acceptable.

  • Valid/Unexpired U.S. Passport or U.S. Government Issued ID (such as U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. State Identity Card or U.S. Military ID)
  • Legal Name Change Document such as Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, Amended Birth Certificate, Court Order, Deed Poll, or Certificate of Naturalization.

Submission of SSN Application

If you plan to submit original documents, send the complete application paperwork via courier service (such as UPS, DHL or FedEx). We will copy and return the original documents within one week by regular mail. However, if you prefer, you may provide us with a pre-paid return label issued by a courier service for the secure return of your documents. We do not accept pre-paid registered mail labels issued by foreign post offices.

If you prefer not to submit your original documents, you may have them certified at a U.S. Embassy/Consulate. You should schedule an appointment with the nearest American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy/Consulate servicing your area. On your appointment, present your original documents to the ACS Staff and inform them that you need certified copies to be used in relation to a Social Security application. This certification service is free and does not require authorization or payment by Social Security. After receiving the certified copies, you must mail them to one of the following addresses:

 International Mailing Address  Military Mailing Address*
Social Security Administration
U.S. Embassy – Manila
1201 Roxas Boulevard, Ermita
Manila, Philippines 0930
Social Security Administration
U.S. Embassy – Manila
Unit 8600 Box 1610
DPO, AP 96515-1610

*If you are using our military mailing address, you may provide a pre-paid priority certified mail envelope for the return of your documents.

Frequently Asked Questions about the SSN

My dependent is not a US citizen and has never lived in the U.S. Can he/she apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) for tax purposes?

A Social Security Number (SSN) can only be assigned to:

  1. US citizens
  2. Non-US citizens who are authorized to work by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
  3. Non-US citizens who are not authorized to work by DHS but who have a valid non-work reason for needing an SSN (e.g., to apply for a federal or state funded benefit to which he/she has established entitlement).

If your dependent does not meet the above criteria, he/she can apply for a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) by completing Form W-7 (PDF 95 KB) and submitting it to the IRS.

I have obtained a U.S. Visa that allows me to work in the U.S. Can I apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) before I travel to the U.S.?

If you have obtained a U.S. Visa that allows you to work in the U.S., you may apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) only after you have entered the U.S. You may apply at the nearest Social Security Field Office in your area. You may find a list of our offices here. It is important that you apply for your SSN while you are in the U.S.

I need to provide my Social Security Number (SSN) on a U.S. Passport application. How can I find out my SSN for this purpose?

The applicant or his/her parent should contact us and provide the following:

  • First Name:
  • Middle Name:
  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Parent’s Name:
  • U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the U.S. Passport Application was submitted:

If the individual does not know his/her SSN, he/she must submit an application for a Replacement Social Security Card (Form SS-5-FS) (PDF 122 KB).

When will I receive the Social Security Card?

Once the application is processed, the Social Security is printed and sent by regular postal mail from the U.S. to the mailing address provided. The average mailing time is usually three weeks for a U.S. mailing address and approximately three months for a foreign mailing address.

The processing time for applicants born in the U.S. may take up to six months, as the applicant’s birth must first be verified with the custodian of the birth record in the state where the applicant was born.