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USA

In the US, applying for a Social Security Number is one of the first steps to complete upon your arrival. Indeed, having a Social Security Number will make many administrative processes, opening a bank account and renting an apartment or a house, for example, much easier. You will also need a SSN to collect Social Security benefits and have access to some other government services. Only non-citizens authorized to work in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can get a Social Security Number. Therefore, getting a SSN, but also authorization to work, mainly depends on with which visa you are allowed to enter in the US.

The US Social Security Office stresses the point on its website that “Lawfully admitted noncitizens can get many benefits and services without a Social Security number” and gives examples of documents that can be obtained without a SSN: getting a driver’s license, registration at school, obtaining private health insurance, among others. They recognize the fact that most of the time organizations or companies use a SSN to identify you in their records. If you do not have a SSN, however, you can still require them to use other ways to identify you.

Nevertheless, it can happen that you are not allowed to work by DHS and still need a SSN. In this case, you have to prove you need a SSN for a valid non-work reason. If you need a SSN for tax reasons but are not authorized to work by DHS, you have to apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (Check http://www.irs.gov; Form W-7: application for an Individual Taxpayer Identific…