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Social Security Numbers
Below you will find some of the most common scenarios related to applications for Social Security numbers.
27 MINUTE READ
January 20, 2023

How do I apply for a Social Security Number for my child under the age of 12?

Complete the Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf ) – All questions must be answered and legible.

All supporting documents submitted with your application must be originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies. 

These applications do not require a personal interview and you do not need to visit the Embassy. You may file your application by registered mail.

Depending on where you live, if you do not wish to mail us your U.S. passport or U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad, you may obtain certified copies of these documents, free of charge, at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands, U.S. Embassy Belgium and U.S. Embassy Luxembourg.

You must then mail the certified copies to the Federal Benefits Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin along with the completed application form. Our address is Federal Benefits Unit, U.S. Embassy, 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin, D04 TP03, Ireland.

Please provide the following documents (or copies certified by the issuing agency):

  1. Proof of the child’s birth
    • Original U.S. birth certificate or original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad; or
    • If the child is a U.S. Resident, original foreign birth certificate.
  2. Proof of the child’s U.S. Citizenship or U.S. Resident status
    • Original U.S. birth certificate; or
    • Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad; or
    • Valid U.S. Passport; or
    • If the child is a U.S. Resident, Permanent Resident Card.
  3. Proof of the child’s identity 
    • Valid U.S. Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • Valid Foreign Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • If the child is a U.S. Resident, Permanent Resident Card. We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individual is who they are presenting themselves as.
  4. Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application
    • Valid U.S. Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • Valid Foreign Passport must be current. We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individual is who they are presenting themselves as.

The completed application and documents should be mailed to the address shown below (please use registered mail).  All original documents will be returned after receipt by registered mail.

Federal Benefits Unit
U.S. Embassy
42 Elgin Road
Ballsbridge
Dublin
D04 TP03
Ireland

SSN applications are processed and documents within 5 days of receipt.  The physical SSN cards are issued within 48 hours at a central location in the United States.  Please allow up to six weeks for your card to arrive.

Please note if your child was born in the United States, U.S. birth certificates need to be verified with Vital Statistics. In most cases, this process can be done electronically and does not delay the application. If we cannot verify the document with Vital Statistics electronically or if the document does not exactly match their records, our office in the U.S. will be required to contact the Vital Statistics office of the state in which the child was born for a manual verification.  This is a process that may take 6 months, thereby delaying the application.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER FOR MYSELF OR MY CHILD OVER THE AGE OF 12?

To apply for a Social Security number for anyone over the age of 12 the following steps are required:

Anyone over the age of 12 must present themselves in person at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or designated U.S. Military installation. Please contact the Dublin FBU through the online form to schedule an appointment.

Depending on where you live, if you do not wish to mail us your U.S. passport or U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad, you may obtain certified copies of these documents, free of charge, at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands, U.S. Embassy Belgium and U.S. Embassy Luxembourg.

A. You must complete an Application for a Social Security card, Form SS-5-FS (download a PDF of SS-5-FS – PDF 56 KB), all questions must be answered and legible.

B. You must provide the following original documents – photocopies are not acceptable.

  1. Proof of birth
    1. Original U.S. birth certificate, or b or c below
      1. If your 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 residence 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 your 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.)
      2. If you or the child was born in the U.S. Form SSA- L706 (download Form SSA-L706 – PDF 78.0 KB) must also be completed, signed, and submitted along with the application and other documentation. This allows Social Security to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record.
    2. Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad
    3. Original birth certificate other than above
  2. Proof of U.S. Citizenship or U.S. Resident status
    1. Original U.S. birth certificate
    2. Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad
    3. Original Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate
    4. Original Valid U.S. Passport
    5. Original Permanent Resident Alien Card
  3. Proof of identity
    • Original U.S. Passport must be current and signed.
    • 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 if older than 12.
    • Original U.S. Passport must be current and signed.
    • Original foreign passport must be current and signed.

Please note if your child was born in the United States, U.S. birth certificates need to be verified with Vital Statistics. In most cases, this process can be done electronically and does not delay the application. If we cannot verify the document with Vital Statistics electronically or if the document does not exactly match their records, our office in the U.S. will be required to contact the Vital Statistics office of the state in which the child was born for a manual verification.  This is a process that may take 6 months, thereby delaying the application.

I HAVE LOST OR MISPLACED MY (OR MY CHILD'S) SSN CARD – U.S. CITIZEN/RESIDENT

I have lost or misplaced my (or my child’s) Social Security Card. I am (or my child is) a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Alien. How can I find out my Social Security Number? How do I replace the card?

Effective August 1, 2014, the Social Security Administration stopped providing Social Security Number printouts or verifications. The Federal Benefits Unit is unable to provide you with a printout or verification of an SSN. If you are 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 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 (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf  ) – All questions must be answered and legible. 

Submit Valid Photo I.D (or a copy certified by the issuing agency). Photocopies of documents are not accepted.

A personal interview is not required, and you do not need to visit the Embassy.

Send the application by registered mail with acceptable Photo I.D:

  • Valid U.S Passport
  • Valid Permanent Resident Alien card
  • Valid Driver’s License

A Parent/Guardian signing the Form SS-5 on behalf of a minor child must also submit Valid Photo I.D.

If the name on your current I.D differs from the name on your current Social Security Number record, please review the information on “How to change my name on my Social Security Records”.

If you are not a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident Alien, please review the information on “Applying to replace a lost or misplaced SSN card – Non-U.S. Citizen/Resident”.

APPLYING TO REPLACE A LOST OR MISPLACED SSN CARD – NON U.S. CITIZEN/RESIDENT

I have lost or misplaced my (or my child’s) Social Security Number. I am (or my child is) NOT a U.S. citizen or legal Permanent Resident Alien. How can I find out my Social Security number?

Effective August 1, 2014, the Social Security Administration stopped providing Social Security Number printouts or verifications. The Federal Benefits Unit is unable to provide you with a printout or verification of SSN. In addition, a replacement Social Security Number card will not be issued to non-U.S. citizens or residents who have no current need for a Social Security Number.

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 30 days or more to process and are processed on a first come basis regardless of the mailing method used.

Send a written request to verify the details held on 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
USA

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
USA

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

I NEED TO CHANGE MY NAME ON MY SOCIAL SECURITY RECORD; HOW DO I DO THAT?

  • Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf) – All questions must be answered and legible.
  • Provide supporting documents, as listed below. All supporting documents submitted with your application must be originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We do not accept photocopies.
  • These applications do not require a personal interview and you do not need to visit the Embassy. You may file your application by registered mail.

Required documents:

  1. Proof of the name change
    • Original marriage certificate, divorce decree or document that sustains the name change. If the document 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.
  2. Proof of identity in OLD name, as required.
    • Current or expired U.S. Passport, must be signed; or
    • Current or expired Foreign Passport; or
    • Current U.S. Driver’s License; or
    • Current or expired U.S. military identification. We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individual is who they are presenting themselves as.
  3. Proof of identity in NEW name
    • Valid U.S. Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • Valid Foreign Passport, must be current; or
    • Valid U.S. Driver’s License; or
    • Valid U.S. military identification.
    • We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individuals is who they are presenting themselves as.

I HAVE OBTAINED A U.S. VISA THAT ALLOWS ME TO WORK IN THE U.S.

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 U.S. You may apply at the nearest Social Security Office.

You can obtain the address of the nearest Social Security Office at http://socialsecurity.gov  under the heading “Find A Social Security Office“. You will need to complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (download a PDF of SS-5-FS   – PDF 56 KB) and provide the original documents listed above. Please remember to take a birth certificate with you. This is a document we do not usually carry with us when we travel.