20 CFR § 422.103 - Social security numbers.
(a) General. The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a record of the earnings reported for each individual assigned a social security number. The individual's name and social security number identify the record so that the wages or self-employment income reported for or by the individual can be properly posted to the individual's record. Additional procedures concerning social security numbers may be found in Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury regulation 26 CFR 31.6011(b)–2.
(b) Applying for a number—(1) Application. An individual needing a Social Security number may apply for one by completing a prescribed application and submitting the required evidence. An individual outside the United States (U.S.) may apply for a Social Security number card at the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office, Manila, Philippines, at any U.S. Foreign Service post, or at a U.S. military post outside the United States. (See § 422.106 for special procedures for filing applications with other government agencies.) Additionally, a U.S. resident may apply for a Social Security number for a nonresident dependent when the number is necessary for U.S. tax purposes or some other valid reason, the evidence requirements of § 422.107 are met, and we determine that a personal interview with the dependent is not required.
(2) Birth registration document. We may enter into an agreement with officials of a State, including, for this purpose, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and New York City, to establish, as part of the official birth registration process, a procedure to assist us in assigning Social Security numbers to newborn children. Where an agreement is in effect, a parent, as part of the official birth registration process, need not complete a prescribed application and may request that we assign a Social Security number to the newborn child.
(3) Immigration form. We may enter into an agreement with the Department of State (DOS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to assist us by collecting enumeration data as part of the immigration process. Where an agreement is in effect, an alien need not complete a prescribed application and may request, through DOS or DHS, as part of the immigration process, that we assign a Social Security number and issue a Social Security number card to him or her. An alien will request the assignment of a Social Security number through this process in the manner provided by DOS and DHS.
(c) How numbers are assigned—(1) Application. If you complete a prescribed application, we will require you to furnish evidence, as necessary, to assist us in establishing your age, U.S. citizenship or alien status, true identity, and previously assigned Social Security number(s), if any. (See § 422.107 for evidence requirements.) We may require you to undergo a personal interview before we assign a Social Security number. If you request evidence to show that you have filed a prescribed application for a Social Security number card, we may furnish you with a receipt or equivalent document. We will electronically screen the data from the prescribed application against our files. If we find that you have not been assigned a Social Security number previously, we will assign one to you and issue a Social Security number card. However, if we find that you have been assigned a Social Security number previously, we will issue a replacement Social Security number card.
(2) Request on birth registration document. Where a parent has requested a social security number for a newborn child as part of an official birth registration process described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the State vital statistics office will electronically transmit the request to SSA's central office in Baltimore, MD, along with the child's name, date and place of birth, sex, mother's maiden name, father's name (if shown on the birth registration), address of the mother, and birth certificate number. This birth registration information received by SSA from the State vital statistics office will be used to establish the age, identity, and U.S. citizenship of the newborn child. Using this information, SSA will assign a number to the child and send the social security number card to the child at the mother's address.
(3) Request on immigration document. Where an alien has requested a social security number as part of the immigration process described in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, Department of Homeland Security will electronically transmit to SSA's central office in Baltimore, MD, the data elements collected for immigration purposes, by both Department of Homeland Security and DOS, that SSA needs to assign the alien a social security number along with other data elements as agreed upon by SSA and DOS or Department of Homeland Security. The data elements received by SSA will be used to establish the age, identity, and lawful alien status or authority to work of the alien. Using this data, SSA will assign a social security number to the alien and send the social security number card to him/her at the address the alien provides to DOS or Department of Homeland Security (or to the sponsoring agency of a refugee, if no personal mailing address is available).
(d) Social security number cards. A person who is assigned a social security number will receive a social security number card from SSA within a reasonable time after the number has been assigned. (See § 422.104 regarding the assignment of social security number cards to aliens.) Social security number cards are the property of SSA and must be returned upon request.
(e) Replacement of social security number card— (1) When we may issue you a replacement card. We may issue you a replacement Social Security number card, subject to the limitations in paragraph (e)(2) of this section. You must complete a prescribed application to receive a replacement Social Security number card. We follow the evidence requirements in § 422.107 when we issue you a replacement Social Security number card.
(2) Limits on the number of replacement cards. There are limits on the number of replacement social security number cards we will issue to you. You may receive no more than three replacement social security number cards in a year and ten replacement social security number cards per lifetime. We may allow for reasonable exceptions to these limits on a case-by-case basis in compelling circumstances. We also will consider name changes (i.e., verified legal changes to the first name and/or surname) and changes in alien status which result in a necessary change to a restrictive legend on the SSN card (see paragraph (e)(3) of this section) to be compelling circumstances, and will not include either of these changes when determining the yearly or lifetime limits. We may grant an exception if you provide evidence establishing that you would experience significant hardship if the card were not issued. An example of significant hardship includes, but is not limited to, providing SSA with a referral letter from a governmental social services agency indicating that the social security number card must be shown in order to obtain benefits or services.
(3) Restrictive legend change defined. Based on a person's immigration status, a restrictive legend may appear on the face of an SSN card to indicate that work is either not authorized or that work may be performed only with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authorization. This restrictive legend appears on the card above the individual's name and SSN. Individuals without work authorization in the U.S. receive SSN cards showing the restrictive legend, “Not Valid for Employment;” and SSN cards for those individuals who have temporary work authorization in the U.S. show the restrictive legend, “Valid For Work Only With DHS Authorization.” U.S. citizens and individuals who are permanent residents receive SSN cards without a restrictive legend. For the purpose of determining a change in restrictive legend, the individual must have a change in immigration status or citizenship which results in a change to or the removal of a restrictive legend when compared to the prior SSN card data. An SSN card request based upon a change in immigration status or citizenship which does not affect the restrictive legend will count toward the yearly and lifetime limits, as in the case of Permanent Resident Aliens who attain U.S. citizenship.