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Palm Beach County Immigration Attorney > Blog > Immigration > Can You Work In The United States Without A Social Security Card?

Can You Work In The United States Without A Social Security Card?


A Social Security number is used by the government to allow people to work legally in the United States. Whether here legally or not, a lot of immigrants simply don’t have a valid Social Security number. So can you work without a Social Security number?

How to Get a Social Security Number

A Social Security number is the number the government gives you, unique to you, that identifies you as who you are.

Getting a Social Security number requires authorization from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). You’ll need to complete an application, provide information about your immigration status and date of birth and take your documents to a Social Security office. In many cases, Social Security requires original documents.

The documents will be used by DHS to prove your immigration status. Social Security will not send you a card until they have authorization from DHS, which could take weeks.

Working Without a Card or Number

If you are looking for work, your employer can keep you employed while you are awaiting approval.

You can legally work before you actually have a Social Security card if your employer gets permission from Social Security. However, this is only temporary—you’ll eventually have to provide your Social Security number.

If you are not legally allowed to work in the United States, you can apply for an employment visa. The type of visa that you may be eligible for will depend on your age, skills, the job you’re working in and many other factors.

For immigrants who entered the country under asylum, the paperwork prepared by the government should have included authorization for you to seek employment.

Different Kinds of Cards

There are actually multiple different kinds of Social Security cards that the administration uses. One card is for people that are authorized to live and work in the US on a permanent basis. For temporary residents, who have gotten approval from DHS to work, there is a different kind of card. Lastly, there is a Social Security card that will not allow an immigrant to work, but will authorize an immigrant to get government benefits, or services.

There is also the option of getting an Individual Taxpayer ID Number, or an ITIN. If you are a resident or nonresident alien you can get this number, even if you aren’t eligible to work in the United States. However, many employers will only accept a Social Security number—not an ITIN.

Some employers will hire you, pending your application to get a Social Security card or number. However, if you are turned down for a Social Security number, your employer will not be able to legally continue to hire you.

Remember that often, you can apply for a Social Security number in your home country, before coming to the United States. This will avoid your having to visit a Social Security office, once you arrive in the United States.

Questions about working and your immigration status? Contact the Palm Beach County immigration attorneys at Devore Law Group today.

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