My wife had SSN whilst she was working here on H1 10 years back, but now she is here on H4 visa. She has her SSN number, but not the card.

Can she apply for replacement card on H4 or is ITIN required? We need SSN card or equivalent to apply Credit card or bank account in US, kindly advise what all documents are required to get SSN card or letter from SSA office stating the SSN number?

Thanks, Sriram

  • 2
    I don't think you need SSN to open bank accounts - my wife and I opened one recently in California and have no SSN (we are not residents) – Midavalo Aug 28 '17 at 3:17
  • Hi, we tried to apply credit card and they need SSN etc. Also SSN or ITIN is required sooner or later for Income tax return – Ram Aug 28 '17 at 3:25
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    @Ram: She has an SSN (just not the card) and must use that SSN to file tax returns. As for opening bank accounts, she has an SSN (just not the card), and I don't think they ask to see the actual card. – user102008 Aug 28 '17 at 4:15
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    @Ram, My wife lost her SS card ca. 1994 and didn't replace it until 2016, yet she filed taxes every year, got a number of new credit cards and opened several bank accounts during that period. I still have my original card but don't recall ever showing it to anyone. I do know, however, that most states (but not California where I live) want to see the card, or an SSA letter explaining why you can't have a SSN, when you apply for a driver's license so, since she has a SSN, I suspect the SSA will issue a replacement card for that purpose. IME just knowing the number is fine for other purposes. – Dennis Aug 28 '17 at 11:12
  • I called the SSA office and I am trying my luck this week. Will carry documents - foreign passport, i94 and driver license permit. Hope for the best – Ram Aug 29 '17 at 1:19

The Social Security Adminstration has the directions on how to get a replacement card.

How To Get A New, Replacement Or Corrected Card (at mid-page radio buttons)

  1. LEARN what documents you need
  2. FILL OUT AND PRINT an application
  3. TAKE OR MAIL this information to us

Replacement Card for a Noncitizen Adult

You can replace your Social Security card for free if it is lost or stolen. However, you may not need to get a replacement card, knowing your Social Security number is what's important. You are limited to three (3) replacement cards in a year and 10 during your lifetime. Legal name changes and other exceptions do not count toward these limits. Also, you may not be affected by these limits if you can prove you need the card to prevent a significant hardship.

In general, only noncitizens who have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can apply for a Social Security number. If you do not have permission to work but need a Social Security number for other purposes, see "If you do not have permission to work" for further information.

What original documents do I need?

Immigration status

To prove your U.S. immigration status, you must show us your current U.S. immigration document, such as:

  • Form I-551 (Lawful Permanent Resident Card, Machine Readable Immigrant Visa);
  • I-766 (Employment Authorization Document, EAD, work permit); or
  • I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport.

Taxes: If you need a number for tax purposes and you are not authorized to work in the United States, you can apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Visit IRS in person or call the IRS toll-free number, 1-800-TAXFORM (1-800-829-3676), and request Form W-7 (Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).

If you are assigned a number for non-work purposes, you cannot use it to work. If you use it to work, we will inform DHS.


Social Security will ask to see a current DHS document. Acceptable documents include:

  • I-551 Permanent Resident Card;
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with unexpired foreign passport or admission stamp in the unexpired foreign passport; or
  • I-766 Employment Authorization Document, (EAD, work permit) from DHS.
  • 1
    A noncitizen can only get a replacement SS card if they are currently in a status that authorizes work, and the OP's wife is H4 which generally cannot work. – user102008 Aug 28 '17 at 4:08
  • @user102008 they issue cards annotated "not valid for employment..." in certain cases (my wife has such a card). Would this not be such a case? – phoog Aug 28 '17 at 5:29
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    @phoog: They would need a "valid non-work reason" (and banking isn't one of the allowed reasons) to get an SSN without work authorization – user102008 Aug 28 '17 at 15:08
  • @user102008 but what if you already have the SSN as in this case? – phoog Aug 28 '17 at 17:21
  • @phoog: they can't get a replacement card – user102008 Aug 28 '17 at 19:10

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