Applicants filing Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status, can now request that they be issued a Social Security number (SSN), according to a USCIS announcement on Aug. 8, 2021. The Form I-485 asks, “Do you want the SSA to issue you a Social Security card?” After the I-485 is approved, “USCIS will electronically transmit the data to the Social Security Administration. Upon receiving the data, the Social Security Administration will automatically assign an original SSN.”
Applicants who receive their Permanent Resident Card (Green Card) from USCIS after being approved should expect for their Social Security card to arrive in the mail from the Social Security Administration within 2 weeks at the same address.
Previously, these individuals had to apply for an SSN by filing a Form SS-5, Social Security Number Application, at a Social Security office. New USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou says this new process is more efficient:
Many I-485 applicants also file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, which since 2017 has also allowed applicants to request an SSN. Unfortunately, the USCIS announcement does not explain the relationship between these two similar requests. The main difference, according to the Social Security Administration, is that cards issued to I-765 applicants will bear the legend, “Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization.” Cards issued to permanent residents will not have a legend. In other words, a person with an employment authorization document (EAD) hired for a job is required as part of the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, process to show an employer their EAD; in contrast, once the I-485 is approved, a permanent resident does not need to present an EAD. So it is fine to request Social Security cards in both the I-765 and the I-485.