On October 2, 2017, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a new version of its Application for Employment Authorization, the Form I-765, which allows applicants to now request a Social Security Number (SSN) or a replacement Social Security card at the same time as when they apply for their Employment Authorization Document (EAD). An EAD, or work permit, is the documentation that shows employers that a person is authorized to work in the U.S. for a specific time period. Social Security numbers are used to report wages to the government, and to determine an individual’s eligibility for certain benefits.
To lawfully work in the US, some foreign workers need both an EAD from the USCIS and a SSN from the Social Security Administration (SSA). For those people that need both, the process prior to this new form had more steps and took longer. Here we’ll talk about what’s new and who can take advantage of this updated system.
So what’s new?
Previously, applicants that needed a social security number or card couldn’t apply for one until after their EAD, or work permit, had been issued. Applicants also had to go apply for a social security number or card in person at the SSA office. But now, the new Form I-765 allows applicants to request a Social Security card at the same time they file their EAD application.
This faster and more convenient process is available because there is a new information-sharing partnership between the USCIS and the SSA offices. Basically, this means that when you file a new EAD application form, you can indicate on it that you also want to apply for a SSN. The USCIS will then send the information that the SSA office needs in order to process a social security application, instead of making you go to the SSA office and filling out their separate forms. If all goes according to plan, and your EAD card is approved, then you will also receive your new social security card within two weeks of your EAD card. This new process also allows for an applicant to apply for a replacement social security card if they already have a social security number.
Who can benefit from this?
However, this new process is not available to everyone. The new Form I-765 is only available to foreign nationals who use an EAD to work. This means that it is not available to H-1Bs (those specialized, graduate level workers in occupations that require expertise in specialized fields like finance, accounting, and architecture), L-1s (short-term intracompany transferees), O-1s (a visa for someone with extraordinary ability in a certain field), TNs (special visa available to citizens of Canada and Mexico), or other nonimmigrants authorized to work incident to status.
Speak to a Trusted Immigration Attorney
As with anything involving your immigration status, it is really important to seek the help of a qualified immigration attorney that knows, and can defend, all of your rights. Oftentimes, these forms appear simple but a minor mistake can cause your application to be denied thus preventing you from moving forward with your life.
At Williams Immigration, we have years of experience assisting clients with work authorization and social security applications. If you are in the process of applying for a work permit or social security number, or just want to see if you qualify and what your options are, contact us today!