How To Get a Temporary Social Security Card

A social security card is necessary for all American citizens when enrolling for college, opening a bank account, or getting a job. If your card was lost or stolen, you may need a temporary one to take the next step.

Getting a replacement social security card is always free, and don’t trust anyone that says it isn’t! Using the SS-5 form provided by the SSA, you can fill out your application at home and bring it into the office. This can save a bit of time if your nearest social security office location is busy.

Proving Age and Identity

The forms require you to provide some basic information and proof of identity and age. To prove your identity, you will need; a United States passport, Driver’s License, or US State identity cards. To prove your age, you can use your birth certificate. If you don’t have your birth certificate you are able to provide a hospital birth record, religious record before age five, or an adoption decree.

Social Security Documentation

If you are applying for a brand new social security card, you must go to an office in person with your documents filled out completely. You must be able to prove your legal ability to work in the US, and if you’re not a citizen you must be able to prove your non-work related reason for applying.

Immigrants filling out forms for a replacement social security card must provide proof of their immigration status. International students and exchange visitors may be required to provide additional documents, such as a letter from the school or their employer.

Only people who are legally adults can include their signature on these applications. Children can have their parents or legal guardians include their signatures on their behalf to request any service at an SSA office.

Updating Your Social Security Information

In order to update your social security information, such as a name change or adjusted birthdate, you must be able to prove your identity and submit the reason for the change. Tangible evidence for the change will always help, including birth certificates and legal documents containing your new and old name. It’s your responsibility to keep your social security information updated, and can be a hassle to deal with in the future if a problem occurs. This is most common with a name change, and when you legally change your name, it's imperative you update your social security record.

When you meet with an agent, let them know you would like to adjust information on your record and they will help you with the process.

Visiting The Social Security Office

Once you have filled the forms out and you have your documents to prove age and identity, you can visit a social security office. Many people prefer the convenience of the online platform, but to receive a temporary printout of your social security card, you will have to go into a local social security office. For security reasons, the federal government does not allow the printing of social security cards online. You are able to order a replacement card online, but it will take an estimated 10 business days to arrive once your account is activated.

Social Security Forms

Fill Out Your Forms Completely

It's important to know what you need when entering a social security field office. Very often the wait times can be long and boring, but if you bring in your forms filled out, you will only need to meet with an agent once. The agents are very busy and may not have time to explain everything to you, so please use outside resources to find the information you need regarding your social security benefits.

There are social security offices outside the US in Canada, Samoa, and the British Virgin Islands. Going to the office with all the proper documents will not only save time but also make your experience better. If you do not have all the necessary documents, you may be forced to make a return visit. If you do not have a lot of time, you can simply mail your application to the social security office, and they will send you a replacement card if the information is correct.

Can You Print Out a Temporary Social Security Card?

Waiting for a social security card in the mail can take up to 10 business days. After applying for your card, you can request to have a temporary printout made for you. This is especially helpful if you need your social security card right now! Talk to your agent about getting a temporary printout if you are applying for a job, signing up for school, or even getting insurance, within the next couple days. This card is very sensitive, and will only work where card copies are accepted. After 30 days, the card will become invalidated and you should shred the document for your own security. Know that there is a limit to how many replacement cards you can order. Three times a year, and only ten in your whole lifetime, so be sure not to lose it!

FAQ

What do you need to get a temporary social security card?

  • Birth certificate or evidence of age
  • Driver’s license or passport
  • Immigrants and transfer students must provide information about their status

Can you get a social security card copy online?

You can apply for a replacement social security card online, but it will take up to 10 days to arrive at the address listed. If you need a temporary one same day, you will have to go to a field office.

How long does it take to get a copy of your social security card?

Social security cards take about 10 days to arrive through the mail, regardless if you applied online or in person.