Questions and Answers
By Erin Thompson, Public Affairs Specialist in Toledo, OH
We adopted a baby girl overseas and brought her home with us
to the United States. We need to get a Social Security
number for her. What do we do?
In general, to apply for a Social Security number for your
child you must:
Complete an Application For A Social Security Card
(Form SS-5), which you can find online at
Show us documents proving your child’s:
U. S. citizenship or immigration status;
Show us a document proving your identity; and
Show us evidence that establishes your relationship to the
child if your name is not noted as the parent on the child’s
evidence of age. The adoption decree or the amended U.S.
birth certificate will suffice.
In most cases, you can mail or take your application and
original documents to your local Social Security office.
Remember, all documents must be either originals or copies
certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept
photocopies or notarized copies of documents. You may not
yet have proof of your child's citizenship, but we can
assign a Social Security number based on documentation
issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) upon the
child’s arrival in the United States. When you do receive
documentation of your child's citizenship, you can bring it
to us and we will update your child’s record. We will mail
your child’s number and card as soon as we have verified
your documents with the issuing offices.
Can I use the metal or plastic versions of Social Security
cards that some companies make?
We don’t recommend it. There is no need to have a replica of
your card. In most cases, the only time you may need to
produce your Social Security card is when you apply for
employment. At other times, we strongly recommend that you
keep anything with your Social Security number on it with
your other important papers. Do not carry your Social
Security card with you. Also, we strongly advise against
laminating your card. Your Social Security card has many
security features, which are not detectable if laminated.
Those features include latent images you can only see at an
angle and color-shifting ink. You should question anyone
else other than your employer who asks for your Social
Security number or your card. Not everyone you do business
with needs it. Learn more at
Can I get a new Social Security number if someone has stolen
We do not routinely assign a new number to someone whose
identity has been stolen. Only as a last resort should you
consider requesting a new Social Security number. Changing
your number may adversely affect your ability to interact
with Federal and State agencies, employers, and others. This
is because your financial, medical, employment and other
records will be under your former Social Security number. We
cannot guarantee that a new number will solve your problem.
To learn more about your Social Security card and number,
read our online publication Your Social Security Number
and Card at
What should I do if an employee gives me a Social Security
number but cannot produce the card?
Seeing the card is not as important as putting the correct
information on the worker's Form W-2. You can verify
employee Social Security numbers by using the Social
Security Number Verification Service. Just go to
www.socialsecurity.gov/bso. This online service allows
registered employers to verify employee Social Security
numbers against Social Security records for wage reporting