I am renewing a social security card in order to remove the "Valid to Work Only with DHS Authorization" legend.

I read in the application for a Social Security Card form, Form SS-5, dated (08-2011) ef (08-2011):

Evidence of Age
In general, you must provide your birth certificate. In some situations, we may accept another document that shows your age. Some of the other documents we may accept are:

  • U.S. hospital record of your birth (created at the time of birth)
  • Religious record established before age five showing your age or date of birth
  • Passport
  • Final Adoption Decree (the adoption decree must show that the birth information was taken from the original birth certificate)

When is the birth certificate not compulsory? Especially, does being born outside the United States qualify as an exception (i.e., could one present one's passport instead in that case)?

  • Did you supply a birth certificate with your original application?
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2017 at 18:06
  • @phoog 99% sure that I didn't Nov 5, 2017 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


You do not need your birth certificate. The passage you quote is the "evidence of age" passage, but on page one of the instructions, it is made clear that evidence of age is required only for an initial application:

To apply for an original card, you must provide at least two documents to prove age, identity and U.S. citizenship or current lawful, work-authorized immigration status.


To apply for a replacement card, you must provide one document to prove your identity. If you were born outside the U.S., you must also provide documents to prove your U.S. citizenship or current, lawful, work-authorized status.


When my wife recently applied to replace her very old "Not for Employment" Social Security card the only documents she took to the office were her passport and her green card. I wasn't there but she tells me they were mostly interested in the green card. When we originally applied for SS cards (some time ago) the only documents we had were passports with I-94s stapled into them.

While they are interested in American birth certificates I believe the only foreign-government-issued documents that internal US government agencies (i.e. those not dealing explicitly with foreigners) are generally interested in are passports since they lack the expertise to judge the validity of anything else. Even if you had your birth certificate with you I suspect they would likely still prefer the information from your US-issued documents and your passport.

  • When I signed up for Medicare they did want to see my British birth certificate. Nov 5, 2017 at 2:07
  • US agencies will typically accept foreign documents that have been authenticated by the foreign ministry of the country in which the document was issued.
    – phoog
    Nov 5, 2017 at 18:06

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