An application must be submitted to the Social Security office to get or renew a social security card. The application is Form SS-5. It takes about seven to ten minutes to fill out the form. For specific information and additional guidance, please be sure to look at the form instructions. There is no charge when applying for or renewing a card. If someone contacts you and wants to charge you for getting a number or card, or for any Social Security service, remember that Social Security services are free. You can report anyone attempting to charge you by calling the Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Where to Submit Your Application
You may apply for your social security card at a Social Security office. Applications may also be mailed to the office, but if you are 18 or older and a social security card has never been assigned, you must apply in person. If you have a child of the age 12 or older who is also in need of a social security card, he or she must also apply in person. You may find the nearest Social Security office in the phone directory listed under the government section (“Blue Pages”). For additional information you may call 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, or search the Social Security Website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/.
What You Will Need To Take With You
If you are seeking a new card, you must present proof showing your age, identity, work eligibility and U.S. immigration status. If you are seeking to renew a card (lost card or new name), you must present recently issued documents that prove your identity, and if born outside the U.S., proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status. You should be certain to take or mail original or certified copies of your supporting documents along with the application. The Social Security office will return any original documents promptly.
- Acceptable proof of age includes a birth certificate, passport, or document issued by DHS as evidence of age.
- Acceptable proof of identity includes a driver’s license, passport, school identification card, employer identification card, S. military identification card, health insurance card (not a Medicare card), I-551 with unexpired passport, I-94 with unexpired passport, and I-766.
- Acceptable proof of work eligibity includes an I-94 showing a class of admission permitting work or an I-766 (employment authorization document).
- Acceptable proof of S. citizenship includes U.S. consular report of birth, passport and certificate of citizenship or naturalization.
- Acceptable proof of alien status includes unexpired documents issued by the DHS such as original I-94, I-551, DS-2019, I-20, or I-766 that shows you have been approved of a certain lawful Copies will not be accepted.
Note that certain documents can be used for multiple categories. If you plan on using a document for more than two categories (such as your birth certificate for proof of age and proof of U.S. citizenship) you must provide two separate certified copies. Also, additional alternative documents may be necessary for aliens on F-1 and J-1 visas.
The Social Security office issues three types of cards. All cards show name, social security number, and:
- Allows work without restriction: S. citizens and people lawfully admitted to the U.S. with permanent DHS work authorization.
- Notes that individual is valid for employment only with DHS authorization: People lawfully admitted to the S. on a temporary basis that have DHS authorization to work.
- Notes that individual is not valid for employment: People lawfully admitted to the U.S. without DHS work authorization, but with a valid non-work reason for needing a social security number, and people who need a number because of a federal law requiring a social security number to get a benefit or service.
Note: If you are not authorized to work in the U.S., the Social Security office will probably not issue you a card unless you have a valid non-work reason. Your card will show that you cannot work. The Social Security office may notify the DHS if you do work without authorization.
What You Should Expect & When Will You Receive Your Card
The process time varies so be sure to get to the office as early as possible. Lines can be very long. You should be certain to check your documentation beforehand to prevent embarrassment and unnecessary delays.
Once your application is completed and submitted along with any supporting documentation, the Social Security office will normally take one week to send you a card if you applied in person, two weeks if you applied through mail. If you have not received your social security card, you should contact your local Social Security office.
As citizenship is asked in various Social Security situations, foreign nationals should also be aware that a false claim to U.S. Citizenship should preclude them from being eligible to apply for naturalization (U.S. citizenship) and other immigration benefits.
Times of Operation
The Social Security offices are generally open Monday thru Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. They are closed on weekends and holidays.
Houston Field Offices
3100 Smith St. 10703 Stancliff Rd.
Houston, TX 77006 Houston TX 77099
5414 Aldine Mail Rd. 16200 Dillar Dr.
Houston, TX 77039 Houston, TX 77040
8989 Lakes at 610 Dr.
Houston, TX 77054