Skip Global Navigation to Main Content
Skip Breadcrumb Navigation
U.S. Citizens Services

Social Security Numbers

Social Security numbers are issued only to U.S. citizens, legally admitted resident aliens (green card holders), and to those required to have a number by Federal law. Immigrating aliens generally secure a number after admission to the U.S.

How to Apply

To secure a Social Security number you are required to complete the application Form SS-5. If you are residing in Austria, you should return the completed form to the Federal Benefits Unit at the Embassy. A passport or green card and a certified copy of a birth record established before age 5 must be presented. Cards should be received from the Social Security Administration in Baltimore within three months of completing the application process.

U.S. citizens registering a child as a citizen through the Consular Report of Birth Abroad have automatically filed for a Social Security number for that child. If a card is not received within three months, contact the Federal Benefits Unit.

Parents filing an application for a child's number are required to provide their own Social Security numbers if they have one. The parent signing the applications must also provide identification such as their passport or green card.


Individuals born in the United States and over age 12 must appear at the Federal Benefits Unit to file an application for a number. The Social Security Administration is required to verify the birth certificate presented in evidence with the registrar of the state of birth. This delays issuance of cards for six months or more.

Non-resident aliens: Non-resident aliens requiring a number for purposes of filing a U.S. tax return must file a Form W-7 Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) with the Internal Revenue Service.

Attending school in the U.S.: Aliens not otherwise entitled to a number and planning on attending school in the United States may be asked for a Social Security number by the school. This is for record keeping purposes and is not authorized by Federal law. The school should be asked to assign its own internal number.

Conducting business with a financial institution: If a Social Security number is required to conduct business with a U.S. bank or financial institution and Federal law does not otherwise allow the issuance of a number, ask the Internal Revenue Service for a Form W-8, Certificate of Foreign Status.

Please Note: Individual states may require a Social Security number for record keeping purposes. Aliens may not have a Social Security number issued for these purposes unless required by Federal law.