I have read on many websites that after receiving the green card in the United States, it is advised/required to replace the social security card in order to remove the "Valid to Work Only with DHS Authorization" legend.

  1. Is it required?
  2. What is the point of removing the "Valid to Work Only with DHS Authorization" legend from the social security card after getting the green card?
  • I don't know the answer, but I would guess you get it removed as you no longer require specific DHS authorization to work - that you have automatic authorization. – Midavalo Oct 24 '17 at 14:16
  • @Midavalo that's basically correct, but it's possible to prove "automatic authorization" by showing the green card. If anyone were to see both a green card and an "authorization required" SSN card, it would lead to confusion only if the person is unfamiliar with US immigration and employment law. – phoog Oct 24 '17 at 16:22
  • FWIW in SSA office they told me that I should notify them about immigration status (at least about becoming LPR/citizen). I think it might be because non-LPR are not eligible for some benefits such as retirement? – Maciej Piechotka Apr 3 '18 at 23:16

One point is that a Social Security card without a restriction legend serves as a List C document (proof of work authorization) for the I-9's documentary requirements. So an unrestricted Social Security card plus a List B document (an ID like a driver's license or a school ID) is enough to present to start work, and you don't need to present any other document relating to your immigration status like a green card or a passport (and the employer is not allowed to prefer or require one type of document over another).

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    A green card is on LIst A, establishing both identity and work authorization. Why present two documents when you hold a single document that would do the job? – Patricia Shanahan Oct 24 '17 at 15:37
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    @PatriciaShanahan my reading of this answer is that having the unrestricted card simply gives the worker additional options. Obviously if the worker is willing and able to show the green card, the unrestricted SSN card isn't helpful. But maybe there's some reason the worker cannot or does not want to show the green card. – phoog Oct 24 '17 at 16:20
  • @PatriciaShanahan, Americans aren't required to have any List A document, so it accommodates them. It is quite imperfect as a work authorization check, though. My SS card has no legend even though I got it as a non-immigrant worker, and someone who gave up LPR might similarly have a legend-free card. – Dennis Oct 24 '17 at 16:37
  • @Dennis in fact, most list A documents are unavailable to US citizens; the only List A document a US citizen could have is a US passport or passport card. (Dual citizens can have foreign passports, of course, but are not eligible for the stamps that foreign passports must contain to qualify for list A.) But Patricia Shanahan's question is asked about a permanent resident, who is required to have a green card. – phoog May 7 '18 at 14:18

Other than for work authorisation proof as alluded to in another answer, another reason for having an unrestricted Social Security card is that some financial institutions (like Golden 1 Credit Union in California) require those magical words to be not present on your Social Security card in order to allow access to some credit-related products. So you may want it to get that home loan or credit card, for instance.

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    Does the credit union not recognize the green card as proof of work authorization? – phoog May 7 '18 at 14:19
  • I'm surprised that a bank would want to see the actual card. My wife lost her SS card in the 1990's and only found a reason to replace it last year (you need the card to apply for a CA RealID driver's license). Just knowing the number was enough to open bank accounts and get a mortgage, a handful of credit cards and a non-RealID DL. – Dennis May 7 '18 at 17:04
  • Plenty of institutions require a Social Security card to be presented; more power to you if you get away with just the number, I suppose, however it probably wouldn’t work too often! - Golden 1 will not allow the use of a restricted SS card for CCs, period. I think it’s the wording on the card that dissuades them from accepting it and it is their Policy (with the capital P). – Matthew Briggs May 9 '18 at 5:11
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    Yep, I can vouch for this. I got an auto loan before I was a permanent resident. I was all set for the terms I asked for, until they sent a scan of my (DHS Only) SS card. Then the financial institutions all dropped out apart from Chrysler Capital, who wanted double the monthly payment and deposit I'd been hoping for. – Geat Aug 2 '19 at 17:11

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