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.

By Fred Morse

I moved from Wales to the United States in 2005 and have been through the US immigration process and have learned all about citizenship and nationalization on the way. I currently live in Texas with my wife and two dogs

4 replies on “Becoming a Citizen – Update Your Social Security Card”

Useful links – thx. I forgot to do this. I called my local social office and they were running less services due to the govt shut down.

I just went to the SSO for mine – there was a huge volume of people from homeless to drunk waiting in the lobby. It took two hours to get my two minute appointment to get my updated Social Security Card. Boring.

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