Need a new or revised Social Security card?

March 26, 2006|By Sandra G. Johnson

If you are applying for a new Social Security card ...

All documents that you bring to a Social Security office to prove your identity, age, citizenship or immigration status must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Social Security cannot accept photocopies or notarized copies of documents.

Under a new law, only certain documents can be accepted as proof of U.S. citizenship. These include your U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport, or a Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship.

If you are not a U.S. citizen and are applying for a Social Security card and number, we will need to see your current U.S. immigration documents.


Acceptable documents for proof of identity for noncitizens include current U.S. immigration documents from the Department of Homeland Security, such as Form I-551, I-94 with an unexpired foreign passport or a work permit card (I-766 or I-688B).

If you are applying for a replacement Social Security card ...

If you are already in our records, Social Security does not need proof of your citizenship or age. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen, we will need to see your current U.S. immigration documents.

Social Security will ask you to prove your identity by providing an acceptable document that shows your name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph.

Examples of acceptable identity documents include your U.S. driver's license, state-issued nondriver identification card or U.S. passport. If you do not have these documents or cannot get a replacement for them within 10 days, we will ask to see other proofs of identity, such as an employee ID card, a school ID card, a health insurance card or an adoption decree.

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card ...

Each year millions of people change their names. Whether due to marriage, divorce or any other situation, reporting a name change to Social Security helps ensure that you will receive proper credit for your earnings and, one day, the Social Security benefits based on those earnings. If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show proof of your legal name change.

Acceptable documents include a marriage document, a divorce decree stating that you may change your name or a court order for a name change, provided that these documents give identifying information about you, such as your date of birth or age. And they must be original documents or copies certified by the issuing agency.

If the documents that you provide do not give enough identifying information about you, Social Security will ask that you also provide other documents. You would need two identity documents, one showing your old name and a second document with your new name.

If you want more information ...

To find out more about the rules for getting a Social Security number and card, just visit our Web site at The Web site includes all of the information you may need depending upon your personal situation. The Web site also has valuable information on protecting your Social Security number and on how to report a lost or stolen Social Security card.

If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-3250778) and ask for the fact sheet, "New Rules for Getting a Social Security Number and Card."

Sandra G. Johnson is Social Security District Manager for Hagerstown.

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