Social Security Numbers (SSN)

Sample social security number card
Sample U.S. Social Security Number (SSN) card (Image courtesy of Flickr user DonkeyHotey)

Please choose the most relevant option below in order to request a U.S. Social Security Number (SSN).

For Options 1, 4 and 6:   your Social Security Number application and original documents should be mailed directly to the Federal Benefits Unit in London for processing.    If you do not wish your application to be processed by mail through the Federal Benefits Unit in London, you should delay your SSN application until you are in the U.S. or a country that has a Federal Benefits Unit, and you can make your application in person at a local Social Security office or Federal Benefits Unit.

 

To apply for a Social Security number for a child under age 12 the following steps are required.

Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF / 5 pages / 131 KB) – all questions must be answered and legible.

Submit the following original documents – photocopies are not acceptable.

  1. Proof of the child’s birth
    • Original U.S. birth certificate, or Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad
    • If the child was born in the U.S. you must also submit proof that you or the child has resided outside of the U.S. for a significant period of time to explain why a Social Security number has not been issued in the past. Proof of foreign residency can include medical, school and employment records.
    • If the child was born in the U.S., Form SSA- L706 (click HERE to download a PDF of Form SSA-L706 -(PDF / 3 pages / 292kb) must also be completed, signed and submitted along with the application and other documentation. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record.
    • If the child was born in the U.K. we may also accept a U.K. birth certificate.
  2. Proof of the child’s U.S. Citizenship
    • Original U.S. birth certificate,
      OR
    • Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  3. Proof of the child’s identity
    • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed
    • Original United Kingdom Passport, must be current and signed
    • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable, please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice
  4. Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application
    • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed OR
    • Original United Kingdom Passport, must be current and signed
    • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable, please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice

The completed forms and original documents should be mailed to the office as follows:

U.S. Embassy
Federal Benefits Unit
Box 0005
33 Nine Elms Lane
London SW11 7US

We will copy and return original documents within 3-4 days. We do not recommend mailing important personal documents from outside the UK. If you choose to mail your application you should use a service that allows you to track your package. Within the UK, we recommend Special Delivery mail; outside the UK we recommend you use a Courier. You should include a pre-paid return envelope or courier package. The Federal Benefits Unit will return documents by regular mail if you do not provide a pre-paid envelope or courier package. Processing time for SSN applications is approximately 8-10 weeks.

If you live in Africa, email the Federal Benefits Unit for guidance on how to proceed with your SSN application. To help us answer your inquiry timely, indicate your country of residence in the first line of your email, for example, “SSN Inquiry Nigeria”.

 

Anyone over the age of 12 must apply in person for a short interview.   Contact the Federal Benefits Unit using our contact form to arrange an interview appointment.  Please tell us in which country you were born, in the United States or abroad.   We recommend you state ‘SSN Appointment Required’ in the subject line and  give our office at least three days working notice of your preferred appointment date.  We will advise you if your request is approved.   If you live in the U.K., your interview will be held at the Federal Benefits Unit in London, or a designated U.S. Military installation.  If you live in Africa, we will provide guidance on how to arrange your interview appointment.

A. Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF / 5 pages / 131 KB) . All questions must be answered and legible.

B.At the  time of your interview, you must provide the following original documents – we do not accept photocopies.  It will expedite your visit to the Embassy if you bring in your original documents AND photocopies.   We will review and retain the photocopies, and return your original documents to you.   If you do not have all the required documents with you at your interview, you may have to return for a second interview.

1. Proof of birth

a. Original U.S. birth certificate, or (b) or (c) below

i. If you or the child was born in the U.S. you must submit documentary proof that you or the child has resided outside of the U.S.  The proof of foreign residency is needed to explain why a Social Security number has not been issued in the past.  The proof should cover a significant portion of the entire period of time you or the child has been outside of the U.S. (Click HERE to see list of suggested documentation; other documents may be submitted for consideration.)

ii. If you or the child was born in the U.S. Form SSA- L706 (download a PDF of Form SSA-L706 (PDF / 3 pages / 78KB) must also be completed, signed and submitted along with the application and other documentation. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record.

 b. Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or
 c. Original birth certificate other than above.

2. Proof of U.S. Citizenship

 a. Original U.S. birth certificate, or
 b. Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or
 c. Original U.S. Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate, or
 d. Original U.S. Passport.

3. Proof of identity

 a. Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed, or
 b. Original Foreign Passport, must be current and signed.

NOTE: If the name at birth and name on the identity document are different, proof of name change must also be submitted.

4. Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application

If applicable – a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18; a child can sign the form above age 12.

a. Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed, or
b. Original Foreign Passport, must be current and signed.

 

If you have any questions see how to contact the Federal Benefits Unit London.

If you have obtained a U.S. Visa that allows you to work in the U.S. you must apply for a Social Security Card after you enter the United States of America.

You may apply at the nearest Social Security Office.

You can obtain the address of the nearest Social Security Office at https://socialsecurity.gov using the Social Security Office Locator.

You will need to complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF / 5 pages / 131 KB) and provide the original documents listed under Option 2, above.

You should apply for a replacement card even if you cannot recall your Social Security Number.

Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF / 5 pages / 131 KB) – all questions must be answered and legible.

Effective August 1, 2014 the Social Security Administration stopped providing Social Security Number printouts or verification’s.   The Federal Benefits Unit is unable to provide you with a printout or verification of an SSN.   If you need proof of your (or your child’s) SSN, you should apply for a replacement card.

Provide an original identity document – a photocopy is not acceptable.

The completed forms and original documents should be mailed to the office as follows:

U.S. Embassy
Federal Benefits Unit
Box 0005
33 Nine Elms Lane
London SW11 7US

We will copy and return original documents within 3-4 days. We do not recommend mailing important personal documents from outside the UK. If you choose to mail your application you should use a service that allows you to track your package. Within the UK, we recommend Special Delivery mail; outside the UK we recommend you use a Courier. You should include a pre-paid return envelope or courier package. The Federal Benefits Unit will return documents by regular mail if you do not provide a pre-paid envelope or courier package. Processing time for SSN applications is approximately 8-10 weeks.

If you live in Africa, email the Federal Benefits Unit for guidance on how to proceed with your SSN application. To help us answer your inquiry timely, indicate your country of residence in the first line of your email, for example, “SSN Inquiry Nigeria”.

Suitable proof of identity documents are:

  • Original U.S Passport, must be current and signed;
  • Original Permanent Resident Alien card, must be current;
  • Original U.S. state driver’s license, must be current;
  • Original U.K. Passport or driver’s license are acceptable, but must be accompanied by proof of U.S. citizenship such as a Naturalization certificate or U.S. birth certificate
  • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable if your U.S. citizenship is already properly established on your Social Security record.  Please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice.

If the replacement card is for a child, we need to see proof of identity for both the child and the parent who signs the form.

SSN needed for U.S. PASSPORT application:  If you cannot recall your (or your child’s) Social Security Number and need it for a U.S. Passport application you should apply for a replacement SSN card, per instructions above.  Please expect to wait at least one month for the replacement card application to be processed and the card mailed from the U.S.     Note:  this process cannot be expedited.

If the name on your identity document differs from the name on your last Social Security Number record, see Option #6, below, for instructions on how to change the name on your record.

If you are not a U.S. citizen or legal Permanent Resident Alien, see item 5. below for instructions.

Effective August 1, 2014 the Social Security Administration stopped providing Social Security Number printouts or verification’s.   The Federal Benefits Unit is unable to provide you with a printout or verification of an SSN.

If you are not a U.S. citizen or legal Permanent Resident Alien (“Green Card” holder) and you need to verify the details shown on your Social Security Number record, you must apply directly to the Social Security Administration for a printout of your Social Security Number record (known as a Numident).    These applications can take up to 60 days or more to process and are processed on a first come basis regardless of the mailing method used.

There is a fee for this service; current fee information is located on the Social Security Administration website.

Send a written request to verify the details held in your Numident, with the following information: your name, date of birth, parents’ names, the citizenship or legal resident status you held when your Social Security Number was assigned, and the date your citizenship or legal resident status changed.    Send your request to:

Social Security Administration
OEIO DBS (FOIA Workgroup)
PO Box 33022
Baltimore MD 21290-3022

If you wish to use Express Mail/Courier, send your request to:

Social Security Administration
OEIO DBS (FOIA Workgroup)
6100 Wabash Avenue
Baltimore MD 21215

To change your name on your Social Security records the following steps are required;

  1. Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF / 5 pages / 131 KB) – all questions must be answered and legible.
  2. Provide the following original documents – photocopies are not acceptable:
    • Proof of the name change
      • Original marriage or divorce decree (If the marriage or divorce certificate is over 2 years old or does not contain biographical data such as a date of birth or age, you must also submit proof of identity in your OLD name. If you have no identification in your old name, you must write a statement as to why you do not have such proof of identity and submit proof of identity in your NEW name).
        OR
      • Other document, such as a Court Order, Deed Poll or Statutory Declaration of Name Change
    • Proof of identity in Old Name, one of the following:
      • Original current or expired U.S. or UK passport, must be signed
      • Original driving license
      • Original current or expired U.S. military identification
      • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable, please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice
    • Proof of identity in New Name, one of the following:
      • Original current U.S. or UK passport, must be signed
      • Original driving license
      • Original current U.S. military identification
      • A Passport or national identity card issued by another country may be acceptable, please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice

The completed forms and original documents should be mailed to the office as follows:

U.S. Embassy
Federal Benefits Unit
Box 0005
33 Nine Elms Lane
London SW11 7US

We will copy and return original documents within 3-4 days. We do not recommend mailing important personal documents from outside the UK. If you choose to mail your application you should use a service that allows you to track your package. Within the UK, we recommend Special Delivery mail; outside the UK we recommend you use a Courier. You should include a pre-paid return envelope or courier package. The Federal Benefits Unit will return documents by regular mail if you do not provide a pre-paid envelope or courier package. Processing time for SSN applications is approximately 8-10 weeks.

If you live in Africa, email the Federal Benefits Unit for guidance on how to proceed with your SSN application. To help us answer your inquiry timely, indicate your country of residence in the first line of your email, for example, “SSN Inquiry Nigeria”.