Naturalization Not on the test

Becoming a Citizen – Update Your Social Security Card

If you were already a permanent resident in the United States before you passed your immigration test, you already have a Social Security Number (SSN). At the oath ceremony, the person up front probably told you that you have to go vote, you can get a passport and you can update your SSN. Here’s how to do the latter.

Download the SS-5 and fill it in and print it

You have to go to your local Social Security office in person to change status. No matter what you might read, you can’t do it by post. You certainly can’t do it online, so don’t waste your time. You need to take two qualifying identifying documents. The easiest two are:

  • State issued drivers license
  • US passport

These two cover all your needs. Of course, you need to apply for a passport, but heck, there’s no point becoming a citizen of the US if you can’t leave, and you need a passport for that anyway. You could theoretically use a birth certificate, but do the Social Security Administration really know what a Tongolese birth certificate look like?

The only other thing you need is the SS-5 form from the Social Security Administration. (SSA) This assumes you’re in the US, which you at least were when you passed your immigration tests. If you’re outside of the United States, there’s a different form – the SS-5-FS. You can fill this in when you get there, but I prefer to spend as little time as possible in such places, so I downloaded mine and filled it in and printed it.

If you want to find the nearest office at which you can do this, use the locator function on the SSA site.


Place your right hand over your heart

As part of the oath ceremony, assuming you’re not a Jehovah’s Witness, or a paid-up member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, you’ll probably stand and sing the national anthem. Since the Constitution doesn’t mandate the separation of church and state (it’s complicated, but if you check out the Supreme Court, you’ll see that the main aims of the Constitution are to avoid the favoring of one religion or a lack of religion by the State), there will be some ceremonial deism in the song. Which means you’ll sing about God, since the US was founded based on principals that there are some inalienable rights given to men by a Supreme Being.

Wikimedia Commons: Author: Mikael Häggström

And you’ll put your right hand over your heart. Looking at the diagram above, you’ll see that the heart in an adult male is:

  • fairly central in the chest
  • above the nipples
  • below the clavicles
  • an empty muscle
  • the way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach. Unless you’re an incubating alien.

So make sure to put your right hand somewhere in that vicinity.

The girl in the pink skirt is most accurate in her hand placement