Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that noncitizen immigrants have the ability to request either new or replacement Social Security cards via U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) forms I-485 or I-765. This is an ideal alternative for many immigrants who would otherwise need to visit a nearby Social Security Administration (SSA) office when applying for a card.
After receiving their Employment Authorization Document, applicants using this new method would be able to receive their new or replacement card within two weeks.
How to Apply for a Social Security Card Using the New Method
Normally, noncitizen immigrants would have to visit their local SSA office to apply for a Social Security card. However, this new method enables them to avoid visiting an office entirely for increased convenience when applying for a visa along with their card. Immigrants can instead complete either Form I-765 or I-485, depending on whether they want a new or replacement card.
There are several reasons why an immigrant may want to use this method to apply for a Social Security card. These reasons include:
- Applicants haven’t been assigned a specific Social Security Number (SSN) and wish to apply for one.
- Applicants want to receive a replacement card that has either been damaged, lost, or stolen.
- Applicants have legally changed their name and want their new card to reflect this change.
- Applicants would like to replace a “restricted” card with an “unrestricted” one.
Under any of these circumstances, individuals would be able to apply for a new or replacement card using the new USCIS method.
How to Apply Using the New Forms
If applicants don’t want to pay a visit to their local SSA office, they can complete either form I-765 or I-485. I-765 is used for requesting a new card while I-485 is for requesting a replacement. After USCIS approves the form, applicants will receive SSA information through the form from USCIS. SSA will then need to assign a new SSN or a replacement card.
How Long Is the Wait for the New Card?
Typically, applicants who apply for a new or replacement Social Security card using this method will receive their card no later than two weeks after they receive one of two forms: the Employment Authorization Document for Form I-765 or the Permanent Resident Card for Form I-485.
However, applicants should keep in mind that they may not receive their card as fast as they would like using this new method. The reason for this is that SSA will only assign an SSN or issue a card following the USCIS’s approval of either application form. If immigrants would like to expedite the application process, they may be able to do so by visiting the nearest SSA office.
If individuals would like to visit their SSA office, they can use the SSA’s office locator tool on the agency’s website.
Making Immigrant Application Easier
With this new method and other potential changes, the U.S. is making the immigration process easier for individuals of all types. Whether immigrating alone or immigrating as a family, immigrants can use this new method to increase the overall convenience of the application process when applying for Social Security cards and visas.