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Are there different types of cards?

The SSA issues three types of Social Security cards. All cards show your name and Social Security number.

  • The first type of card shows your name and Social Security number and lets you work without restriction. They are issued it to:
    • U.S. citizens; and
    • People lawfully admitted to the United States on a permanent basis.
  • The second type of card shows your name and number and notes, “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.” they issue this type of card to people lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis who have DHS authorization to work.
  • The third type of card shows your name and number and notes, “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT.” They issue it to people from other countries:
    • Who are lawfully admitted to the United States without work authorization from DHS, but with a valid nonwork reason for needing a Social Security number; or
    • Who need a number because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service.

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There are 10 Comments

I have a social security card with the note "not valid for employment". Actually I get my permanet residence, does the number of my ssn will change??

My husband and I applied for his permanant status as I'm a citizen and we recently got married. The receipt came back that his papers were received and are in the "review stage" the appointment for finger prints came as well and is about 3 weeks away. When can he apply for a SS#? Does it take a marriage cert and receipt or do we have to wait for the entire case to be approved? Once he gets a SS# does that mean he can start work? We are a little confused.


My now wife had an H3 visa and SSN for work in 2006. She left the USA when her visa expired. We married in 2011 and she arrived december 2012. We tried to use her SSN to add her to our bank acct., but it appears her number has been issued to someone else now (we are 99.999% sure we have the correct SSN).

Is this common for SSN's issued for those on an H3 visa? Or is there something amiss here?

Do we just apply for a new number/card?

It seems unlikely that the SSA would recycle the SSN for an H-3 visa holder.

Although I could not find information specific to SSNs issues for visa holders, the SSA states the following regarding reuse of SSNs in general :

We do not reassign a Social Security number (SSN) after the number holder's death. Even though we have issued over 453 million SSNs so far, and we assign about 5 and one-half million new numbers a year, the current numbering system will provide us with enough new numbers for several generations into the future with no changes in the numbering system.

if my kids are child of abroad how can they get a ssn can I just go to a social security office ? what prove do I need to get the ssn for my kids

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