Your top 15 questions answered for H4 EAD SSN recipients

You may have obtained your H4 EAD and getting ready to work. But before that you would have to apply for your Social Security Number (SSN). Because, your employer would need it for adding you to their payroll, doing back ground verification etc. Here is a list of frequently asked questions while applying for SSN.

I already had a SSN when I used to work when I was in a different visa. Do I still need to apply?

No, social security number is issues to an individual generally once. Hence if you already have one, start using it. You don’t have to apply again for the same.

What are the documents needed? And what is the procedure?

You will need your SSN application form, Passport, ID Proof, EAD card, and a print-out of your I-94 from the CBP website. And follow the procedure described on the SSA site.

How long does it take to get the SSN?

It may take anywhere between 1-4 weeks.

If you are in H4 EAD status, choose Legal alien allowed to work

I have a ITIN number, can I keep it while I receive my SSN?

You have to rescind your ITIN after you get your SSN. Your past tax documents filed using your ITIN number has to be associated to the new SSN number. You can send a letter to IRS, that you have a new SSN and you would like to associate the the previous tax records to your new SSN. And also attach a copy of the SSN card. Get more help from IRS site.

My EAD card has not arrived. Can I use the EAD approval notice to apply for SSN?

No. For the purpose of applying SSN, you would need the EAD card. You cannot apply with just the approval notice.

I got an H4 EAD with incorrect details. Can apply for SSN with this card?

Unfortunately, you can’t apply for SSN. SSA office will not accept cards with typos. You first have to get it corrected on the EAD card. While you can start looking for jobs, you cannot apply for SSN until the information is corrected. You can check with USCIS on how to correct the information. If you are in a hurry try to raise an expedited SR request.

Do I need to work if I get a SSN? Does my tax filing status change because of SSN?

No for both. You don’t have to work if you get your SSN. But if you already have ITIN, you have to rescind that by contacting IRS. And in general, your tax filing status do not change because of SSN. You can continue to file jointly if that’s what you have been doing.

Should we notify DMV about the change from ITIN to SSN?

Yes if you have a state ID card or a drivers license without SSN, you can contact the DMV and update your SSN. DMV may ask you to bring Passport, your new SSN etc.

Do we need to get an Employment letter from a employer to apply SSN?

Not needed. Job is not a criteria for applying for SSN. So, you can apply for SSN whether you plan to work or not. It may be a good idea to apply for SSN before landing a job as the employer would ask for SSN and you can avoid unnecessary delays.

My EAD has a future effective date, can I apply for SSN before that date?

No you cannot. You can apply only when you have a valid EAD card. If the card becomes active in a future date, then you would have to wait until the start date.

The agent at SSA office told me that she cannot verify my EAD details and that she needs more time to verify. What can be done?

This is a common scenario. You don’t have to worry about it. USCIS maintains a database of approved EAD applicants. And there may be a lag in updating the database. If SSA office cannot find your information in the SAVE database then they may ask for more time to wait for verifying your details. SSA agent would basically post your information to USCIS for verification. While you are waiting for the verification, you can check the status of your case. It may take anywhere between 2-4 weeks or more. Should there be a prolonged wait, you can try calling USCIS to get the status. Once the status of your case on the SAVE website changes from “Under review” to “returned to the agency”, you can expect your SSN shortly (1-2 weeks). But if there is further delay, you can check with your local SSA office. If they say they haven’t received any update from USCIS, you can mention that you spoke with USCIS ( and that they will not divulge any information to the application and instead wants the agency to call them directly on the toll free number (in the contact SAVE website). Alternatively, some people have found success by taking a print out of the SAVE status page and show them. Remember to make all information available to the SSA agent and be courteous. The whole process might take 4 weeks.

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