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Social Security Numbers
31 MINUTE READ
September 9, 2022

Social Security Numbers (SNN)

Below you will find some of the most common scenarios related to applications for Social Security numbers.  If you are in a different situation or If you do not find the information you are looking for, please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice. Our email address is fbu.madrid@ssa.gov.

How do I apply for a Social Security number for my child under the age of 12?

Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf) – All questions must be answered and legible.

All supporting documents submitted with your application must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies. 

This type of applications do not require a personal interview and you do not need to visit the Embassy. You may file your application by registered mail (‘correo certificado’).

Depending on where you live, if you do not wish to mail us your U.S. passport or U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad, you may obtain certified copies of these documents, free of charge, at the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona, or at one of the the five consular agencies in Spain. You must make a notary appointment with the relevant office to obtain the certified copy. For more information, see our page on notary services.

Once you have the certified copies, you must mail them to the Federal Benefits Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid along with the completed application form. Our address is Federal Benefits Unit, American Embassy, Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid.

Please provide us with the following documents (or copies certified by the issuing agency):

  1. Proof of the child’s birth
    • Original U.S. birth certificate or original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad; or
    • If the child is a U.S. Resident, original foreign birth certificate.
  2. Proof of the child’s U.S. Citizenship or U.S. Resident status
    • Original U.S. birth certificate; or
    • Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad; or
    • Original U.S. Passport; or
    • If the child is a U.S. Resident, Permanent Resident Card.
  3. Proof of the child’s identity 
    • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • Original Spanish Passport or DNI, must be current; or
    • If the child is a U.S. Resident, Permanent Resident Card. We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individual is who they are presenting themselves as.
  4. Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application
    • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • Original Spanish Passport or DNI, must be current. We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individual is who they are presenting themselves as.

The completed application and documents should be mailed to us to the address shown below (please use registered mail).  All original documents will be returned after receipt by registered mail.

We are currently processing our SSN applications and returning the documents within the same week of receipt.  Since we use ‘correo certificado’ to return the documents, please estimate two to three weeks of mailing time. The physical SSN cards are issued within 48 hours at a central location in the United States.  Please estimate three to four weeks for your card to reach Spain.

However, if your child was born in the United States, U.S. birth certificates need to be verified with Vital Statistics. In most cases, this process can be done electronically and does not delay the application. If we cannot verify the document with Vital Statistics electronically or if the document does not exactly match their records, our office in Baltimore will be required to contact the Vital Statistics office of the state in which the child was born for a manual verification.  This is a process that may take 6 months, thereby delaying the application.

How do I apply for a Social Security Number for myself or my child age 12 or over?

Anyone age 12 or older must present themselves in person at a Federal Benefits Unit or designated U.S. Military installation.

You must also complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (download a PDF of SS-5-FS – PDF 56 KB) – all questions must be answered and legible.

You must also provide the following original documents – photocopies are not acceptable.

  1. Proof of birth
    • Original U.S. birth certificate; original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad; or original birth certificate other than the documents mentioned above.
  2. Proof of U.S. Citizenship or U.S. Resident status
    • Original U.S. birth certificate; or
    • Original U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad; or
    • Original Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate; or
    • Original U.S. Passport; or
    • Original Permanent Resident Card.
  3. Proof of identity
    • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • Original Spanish Passport or DNI, must be current; or
    • Original Permanent Resident Card. We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individual is who they are presenting themselves as. Please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice. Our email address is fbu.madrid@ssa.gov.
  4. Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application, if applicable – a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18; a child can sign the form above age 12.
    • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • Original Spanish Passport or DNI, must be current. We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individual is who they are presenting themselves as. Please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice. Our email address is fbu.madrid@ssa.gov.
  5. Proof that you or the child has resided outside of the U.S.
    • You must submit documentary proof that you or the child has resided outside of the U.S.  The proof of foreign residency is needed to explain why a Social Security number has not been issued in the past. The proof should cover a significant portion of the entire period of time you or the child has been outside of the U.S. (Click here to see list of suggested documentation; other documents may be submitted for consideration.)

We are currently processing our SSN applications within the same week of receipt.  The SSNs are assigned and the cards are issued within 48 hours at a central location in the United States.  Please estimate 3 to 4 weeks for your card to reach Spain.

However, if you were (or your child was) born in the United States, U.S. birth certificates need to be verified with Vital Statistics. In most cases, this process can be done electronically and does not delay the application. If we cannot verify the document with Vital Statistics electronically or if the document does not exactly match their records, our office in Baltimore will be required to contact the Vital Statistics office of the state in which the child was born for a manual verification.  This is a process that may take 6 months, thereby delaying the application.

I have lost or misplaced my (or my child’s) SSN card – U.S. Citizen/resident

I have lost or misplaced my (or my child’s) Social Security Card. I am (or my child is) a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident Alien. How can I find out my Social Security Number? How do I replace the card?

Effective August 1, 2014, the Social Security Administration stopped providing Social Security Number printouts or verifications. The Federal Benefits Unit is unable to provide you with a printout or verification of a SSN. If you are a U.S. citizen or legal Permanent Resident Alien (“Green Card” holder) and you need to verify the details shown on your Social Security Number record, you should apply for a replacement card even if you cannot recall your Social Security Number.

Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf) – All questions must be answered and legible. 

Please provide us with an original and current document of identity (or a copy certified by the issuing agency).  We may not accept photocopies.

We are currently processing our SSN applications and returning the documents within the same week of receipt.  Since we use ‘correo certificado’ to return the documents, please estimate about three weeks of mailing time. The physical SSN cards are issued within 48 hours at a central location in the United States.  Please estimate 3 to 4 weeks for your card to reach Spain.

This type of applications do not require a personal interview and you do not need to visit the Embassy. You may file your application by registered mail (‘correo certificado’).

Depending on where you live, if you do not wish to mail us your U.S. passport or U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad, you may obtain certified copies of these documents, free of charge, at the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona, or at one of the the five consular agencies in Spain. You must make a notary appointment with the relevant office to obtain the certified copy. For more information, see our page on notary services.

Once you have the certified copy, you must mail it to the Federal Benefits Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid along with the completed application form. Our address is Federal Benefits Unit, American Embassy, Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid.

Proof of Identity

    • Original U.S Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • Original Permanent Resident Alien card, must be current; or
    • Original U.S. state driver’s license, must be current; or
    • Original Spanish Passport or DNI, but must be accompanied by proof of U.S. citizenship such as a Naturalization certificate or U.S. birth certificate.

We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individual is who they are presenting themselves as. Please contact the Federal Benefits Unit for advice. Our email address is fbu.madrid@ssa.gov.

If the replacement card is for a child, we need to see proof of identity for both the child and the parent who signs the form.

If the name on your identity document differs from the name of your last Social Security Number record, see item 6 below for instructions on how to change your name on your record.

If you are not a U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident Alien, see item 5 below for instructions.

I have lost or misplaced my (or my child’s) SSN card – Non U.S. Citizen/resident

I have lost or misplaced my (or my child’s) Social Security Number. I am (or my child is) NOT a U.S. citizen or legal Permanent Resident Alien. How can I find out my Social Security number?

Effective August 1, 2014, the Social Security Administration stopped providing Social Security Number printouts or verifications. The Federal Benefits Unit is unable to provide you with a printout or verification of a SSN. In addition, a replacement Social Security Number card will not be issued to non-U.S. citizens or residents who have no current need for a Social Security Number.

If you are not a U.S. citizen or legal Permanent Resident Alien (“Green Card” holder) and you need to verify the details shown on your Social Security Number record, you must apply directly to the Social Security Administration for a printout of your Social Security Number record (known as a Numident).  These applications can take up to 30 days or more to process and are processed on a first come basis regardless of the mailing method used.

Send a written request to verify the details held in your Numident, with the following information: your name, date of birth, parents’ names, the citizenship or legal resident status you held when your Social Security Number was assigned, and the date your citizenship or legal resident status changed.  Send your request to:

Social Security Administration
OEO DERO (FOIA Workgroup)
PO Box 33022
Baltimore MD 21290-3022

If you wish to use Express Mail/Courier, send your request to:

Social Security Administration
OEO DERO (FOIA Workgroup)
300 N. Greene Street
Baltimore MD 21290-0300

I need to change my name on my Social Security records; how do I do that?

Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ss-5.pdf) – All questions must be answered and legible.

Provide supporting documents, as listed below. All supporting documents submitted with your application must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. We cannot accept photocopies.

We are currently processing our SSN applications and returning the documents within the same week of receipt. Since we use ‘correo certificado’ to return the documents, please estimate about three weeks of mailing time. The physical SSN cards are issued within 48 hours at a central location in the United States.  Please estimate 3 to 4 weeks for your card to reach Spain.

This type of applications do not require a personal interview and you do not need to visit the Embassy. You may file your application by registered mail (‘correo certificado’).

Depending on where you live, if you do not wish to mail us your U.S. passport or U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad, you may obtain certified copies of these documents, free of charge, at the U.S. Consulate General in Barcelona, or at one of the the five consular agencies in Spain. You must make a notary appointment with the relevant office to obtain the certified copy. For more information, see our page on notary services.

Once you have the certified copy, you must mail it to the Federal Benefits Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid along with the completed application form. Our address is Federal Benefits Unit, American Embassy, Serrano 75, 28006 Madrid.

Required documents:

  1. Proof of the name change
    • Original marriage certificate, divorce decree or document that sustains the name change (Note: In Spain, a divorce is recorded as a marginal note on the record of the marriage terminated by the divorce). If the document is over 2 years old or does not contain biographical data such as a date of birth or age, you must also submit proof of identity in your OLD name. If you have no identification in your old name, you must write a statement as to why you do not have such proof of identity.
  2. Proof of identity in OLD name, as required
    • Original current or expired U.S. Passport, must be signed; or
    • Original current or expired Spanish Passport or DNI; or
    • Original U.S. Driver’s License; or
    • Original current or expired U.S. military identification. We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individual is who they are presenting themselves as.
  3. Proof of identity in NEW name
    • Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed; or
    • Original Spanish Passport or DNI, must be current; or
    • Original U.S. Driver’s License; or
    • Original current U.S. military identification. We may accept other documents that show the applicant’s legal name and biographical information, such as a passport or national identity card issued by a third country, so long as the preponderance of evidence can conclude that the individuals are who they are presenting themselves as.

Apply for a Social Security Card before travelling

I have obtained a U.S. Visa that allows me to work in the U.S. Can I apply for a Social Security Card before I travel to the U.S.?

If you have obtained a U.S. Visa that allows you to work in the U.S. you must apply for a Social Security Card after you enter the U.S. You may apply at the nearest Social Security Office. You can obtain the address of the nearest Social Security Office at http://socialsecurity.gov under the heading “Find A Social Security Office“. You will need to complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (download a PDF of SS-5-FS – PDF 56 KB) and provide the original documents listed above. Please remember to take a birth certificate with you. This is a document we do not usually carry with us when we travel. If you were born in Spain, we may accept a Spanish birth certificate in either one of its formats (‘extracto’, ‘literal’, ‘europeo’, etc.) and the document does NOT have be recently issued.