Business, Immigration

The importance of having a Social Security Number as soon as you can

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Here in America your Social Security Number, (SSN) is often the most important nine digit number you will have. It is issued to all US Citizens as well as Permanent and temporary residents. Originally designed to monitor individuals for tax purposes, over last few years it has become used as ID in many places so must be kept safe from identity thieves. Knowing your SSN is a big deal.  The Law assumes that you and your employer, banking staff, credit card companies and other financial institutions know your number.  It is fraud if someone that works in any of those places distribute your number to anyone else. So the only way to identify yourself is by your SSN. In most cases you are only asked to repeat the last four digits on the phone and you should never give your full number over the phone to anyone. Think of it as your pin number for you life.

You will not be able to open a bank account without a SSN, you cannot get a Driving license without a SSN you might not even be able to get a mobile phone without a SSN. You can’t buy a car without motor vehicle insurance and you can’t get insurance without a driving license…. I think you can see how important your SSN is. Some Immigrant applicants are able to apply for their SSN during the visa process.

E2 visas are not classed as permanent so you must apply for a new Social Security Card in person at a local social security office. You can make an appointment, which is a really good idea as waiting times at the Social Security offices can be long. You will need to have proof of birth and of your legal alien status. Your birth certificate and passport will usually suffice. If you have married and have a different last name then you must also provide a marriage certificate to show the maiden name and new married name. The form is then submitted and you just have to wait. Processing time vary but it can take upto 10 business days before you receive the new Social Security card.

Once you have your SSN you should keep it safe and it is not recommended to have it in your wallet. Try to memorize it as you will be asked for it many times. Call centers, insurance offices and government agencies will use this number to identify you as being you. 

Having a SSN does not automatically allow you to find a job. Depending on your visa but in most cases the Department of Homeland Security must issue an Authorization card which is another application that must be completed BEFORE you start work. 

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Tags:

social security, life in the US, immigration, EB5, E2