In September, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that immigrants would be able to request new Social Security cards or replacements for existing ones via Forms I-765 or I-485 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This method differs from the typical method, which entails visiting local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices. Following the application for an Employment Authorization Document, immigrants should be able to receive their new or replacement cards within two weeks.
When Immigrants May Want to Apply for a Card Using The New Method
Instead of visiting SSA offices, certain non-U.S. citizens may want to complete either USCIS Form I-765 or I-485 under certain conditions. This process doesn’t apply to immigrants who have undergone naturalization and citizenship.
For example, non-U.S. citizens may want to use this method if:
- They haven’t been assigned a Social Security number and wish to receive one
- They want to replace a Social Security card that’s been stolen, damaged, or lost
- They would like to receive a card with a name update in the event of a legal name change
- They qualify to replace a “restricted” card with an “unrestricted” card
What to Expect with the New Process
Immigrants can avoid visiting a local SSA office using the new card application method. USCIS will review either form submitted instead. If they approve the form, the agency will send the SSA information contained in the form. From there, the SSA will assign a new or replacement Social Security Number based on what the recipient is seeking.
When immigrants request Social Security cards using this new method, they can expect to receive their new or replacement card within two weeks after receiving either their Permanent Resident Card or Employment Authorization Document. The former document will apply if the individual completed Form I-765, while the latter will apply to Form I-485. In the future, immigrants seeking citizenship may be able to request a card using Form N-400, which is the citizenship application.
If non-U.S. citizens want to avoid physically visiting an office to receive a Social Security card, this new method ultimately allows for increased convenience.