How to Get and Print a Temporary Social Security Card 

Your identity is crucial, and whether you are a U.S. citizen or not, you need a Social Security card. Often, when waiting for a new card or replacement card, people choose to obtain a temporary Social Security card.

You can procure a temporary card even if you are not an American citizen.

In this article, we will outline the process for obtaining a temporary Social Security card, including copies of documents and the procedure for a temporary printout. The process usually isn’t appreciably more difficult than obtaining a temporary driver’s license.

Why You Need a Temporary Social Security Card

You may need a temporary card from the Social Security Administration (SSA) because you could:

  • Be asked to prove your citizenship to get a job
  • Be required to show “two forms of ID” without carrying your birth certificate with you
  • Become detained by US Customs or other agency
  • Be asked for one to complete a university or other school application
  • Wish to open a bank account or apply for a loan

Simply knowing your Social Security number is not enough; a replacement Social Security card is a must and if you can’t get one quickly, a temporary card is prudent.

What If Your Card Is Lost or Stolen?

If you lose your Social Security card, it’s best to take proof of identity, proof of age, and any documents relating to immigration status directly to your local Social Security office. The SSA must be the issuing agency for your new card.

You can apply for a temporary Social Security card online, but because the SSA must print your temporary card, you may need to wait ten business days before receiving it.

The application for a Social Security card, whether brand new or temporary, is best accomplished at the local office.

What You’ll Need Before Applying

Below, we will list what you’ll need and the acceptable documents for proof.

Proof of identity:

  • driver’s license
  • U.S. state identification card
  • passport

Proof of U.S. citizen age or date of birth:

  • birth certificate
  • adoption record
  • religious record
  • hospital birth record
  • Social Security record or letter

Proof of United States citizenship and/or immigration status:

  • work permit
  • letter from employer or school official
  • unexpired foreign passport
  • form I-94 (Arrival and Departure Record)

If you’ve legally completed a name change you’ll need further proof of ID, including any documents you filed to change your name and any documents that show your name before and after you changed it.

Steps To Get Your Temporary Social Security Card

If you decide to apply online, you will need to complete a form SS-5. This process is no-cost, and can be completed on the SSA website. If you need assistance with the SS-5 form (or any forms), a Social Security disability attorney can usually help.

Getting your temporary Social Security card will not take a lot of time if you have your ID card, proof of U.S. citizenship and age, and/or proof of U.S. mailing address. In addition, official documentation from SSA, such as correspondence about Social Security benefits, is helpful.

This article does not cover details about how to get a new replacement card online (or a brand new Social Security card), but be aware that those processes are quite similar.

At Your Social Security Office

You will want to visit your local SSA field office for the fastest results. Bring all relevant documents to your nearest Social Security office, and make sure to bring a certified copy of each when possible.

You may call or go online to make an appointment at your local office, which saves time standing in line.

Your temporary card can only be printed by SSA for legal reasons.

Getting Your Temporary Card Online

Use My Social Security if you:

  1. Are a U.S. citizen who is 18 years of age or older,
  2. Have a driver’s license or a state-issued ID, and
  3. Are not requesting a name change

It may take up to ten business days to receive your temporary new card after completing your online application. We highly recommend obtaining a temporary Social Security card in person.

4 thoughts on “How to Get and Print a Temporary Social Security Card ”

  1. Mary Louise More

    I am 80 years old so have had my SS card for a long time. However, the government has been sending out new cards, but I didn’t get one. I’ve been told by dr’s offices that I NEEDED A NEW CARD or I couldn’t apply for Medicare benefits. My husband called for a new card for me, but I still haven’t received one. Please help.

  2. Napassorn Morkeng

    According delay in getting the social security card within 2 weeks, I am writing to ask you how should I do because I and my friends applied to get the social security number at the Social Security Office on May 21th, 2019. Unfortunately, I am the only one who has not recieved any documents or the social security card from the office yet. Hence, I have been waiting for more than 2 weeks. However, I would like get some suggestions how I will get SSN as soon as possible.

  3. Danny Lewis Tims

    I miss placed my Social Security card and would like to get another social Security card Thanks Danny Lewis Tims

  4. hi.
    today i was at ss in portland but it was closed and i don’t know why? i’m a j1 student and i really need to have a SSN

  5. My grandson is being sworn into the Navy next Tuesday (aug 6, 2019), but can’t find his SS card – which he’ll absolutely need before that day. He went to the Regional Office today and was told it takes 7 to 10 days to get a replacement card. How can he get a temporary social security card printout? Are only certain SSA offices able to do this?

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