Social Security Card FAQ: The Basics You Need to Know

Your Social Security card is an important form of identification. For example, you may have some questions about what to do if you need a replacement

Social Security Card FAQ: The Basics You Need to Know

man holding social security card

or if you need to change your name. Read on to find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

How do I change or correct my name on my Social Security card?

If you change your name legally due to marriage, divorce, or any other reason, you must let Social Security know so you can be issued a new card. You can’t apply for a card online, but the good news is there’s no charge for a new one. When you apply, you will need proof of identity, and you may also need to be able to demonstrate your U.S. citizenship or lawful noncitizen status. Learn more about the documents you’ll need to bring here.

You will also be asked to fill out an application form for a new card, which you will take or mail to your local Social Security office. View more details here.

How do I apply for a replacement card?

If your card is lost or stolen, you may be able to request a new one online here. There is no charge for this service. To use the online portal, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen age 18 or above with a U.S. mailing address
  • Not be requesting a name change or any other change to your card
  • Have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card from a participating state. If your state doesn’t yet participate, keep checking back as new states are being added frequently.

If you’re unable to apply online, fill out and print the application form for a new card, then take or mail it to your local Social Security office. You will also be asked to present the appropriate documents.

How long does it take to get a card?

If you’ve requested a new or replacement card or changed your name and applied for an updated one, you may be wondering when you should expect your new card to arrive. Social Security mails the cards as soon as all necessary documentation is received. Generally, you should receive your card within 10-14 business days of the date when your application is processed.

What do I do to replace a child’s card?

To replace a child’s Social Security card, you’ll first need to gather documents proving your child’s identity, their U.S. citizenship if it has not yet been established with Social Security, or their immigration status if the child is not a citizen.

Next, you’ll gather documents proving your own identity and the child’s custody status, as well as your relationship with the child.

Finally, you’ll be asked to complete an application for a card. Everything should be taken or mailed to your local Social Security office.

Can I laminate my card?

Given the importance of your Social Security card, laminating it to protect it from tearing may seem like a good idea. But doing so prevents the detection of many security features. However, you can cover the card with plastic or other materials that can be removed.

Can noncitizens get a Social Security number?

If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be able to get a Social Security number. However, in general you must have permission to work from the Department of Homeland Security. Learn more about Social Security numbers for noncitizens here.

If you have any additional questions about your Social Security card, visit the Social Security Administration’s website for more details. If you’d like to speak with a member of our team to learn about our services or schedule a free consult, please call us anytime at 877-526-3457. You can also fill out this contact form online, and a member of our team will reach out to you.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law