10-day hold removed for Social Security number applicants

2 May 14


Nonimmigrants eligible for Social Security numbers are no longer required to wait two weeks after arrival in the United States before applying.

According to a liaison meeting between the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Social Security Administration last month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is no longer enforcing a 10-day hold period between the time an eligible applicant enters the country and the time when he or she can apply for a Social Security number. The waiting period was meant to accommodate the time it took for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to enter information into shared computer systems. However, with the introduction of automated I-94 cards last May, arrival information is now entered within 24 to 48 hours. As a result, the SSA has removed the 10-day hold policy, except for when an applicant for a Social Security number submits a Certificate of Naturalization (DHS Form N-550/N-570) or a Certificate of Citizenship (Form N-560/N-561).

BAL Analysis: The change in SSA policy will allow eligible employment-based nonimmigrants (such as H-1B and L-1 holders) with work authorization to apply for a Social Security number without having to wait two weeks. However, delays in the issuance of a social security number remain possible if the SSA’s database cannot immediately verify the applicant’s required information using the online system.

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