Looking for COVID-19 Resources? Bridge is here to help!
Back to Blog

You Can Now Obtain a SSN & EAD - With the Same Form

Bridge Team Member

On Oct. 2, the U.S. Citizenship and ImmigrationServices (USCIS) announcedplans to streamline the process for employment authorization document (EAD)applicants who also require the issuance of a Social Security number. Specifically, the newly updated version of Form I-765 will contain several additional questions similar to those that havelong been a feature of the DS-260 form submitted by immigrant visa applicants withthe U.S. Department of State.

For applicants to request a Social Securitycard, the updated form simply requires that they check a box granting permission toshare their information with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and providethe name of each parent. The applicant’s information will be automaticallytransmitted to the SSA for processing, and a card will be issued within twoweeks of the EAD’s approval, without the need to apply in person at a SocialSecurity office.

A Faster Way to Obtain Your SSN

At first glance, this announcement is one thatshould be warmly welcomed as a long-overdue example of cooperation amongfederal agencies to cut through red-tape. It promises to save many foreign nationalsfrom the often-intimidating process of locating a Social Security office andencountering the less-than-friendly reception experienced in a governmentwaiting room. 

The announcement also proposes to cut down thelong wait times (often up to month) that EAD recipients have long beensubjected to, due to the lengthy and duplication verification processpreviously in place. 

What is less clear, however, is what type ofimpact – if any – this new policy will have within the worldof employment-based immigration

Beneficiaries undergoing an Adjustment ofStatus based on a pending or approved I-140 petition will usually already havea Social Security number based on their existing nonimmigrant status as astudent or temporary worker.

On the other hand, those applying for an EAD asthe recently arrived spouse of an H, L, or O visa holder stand to benefit fromthis new policy. For such individuals,the process of settling in to their new environment is often frustrated by thedelay in obtaining a Social Security number. 

Although the EAD itself is sufficient to complete an I-9form and verify employment eligibility, the failure to immediately providea Social Security number can be a headache for payroll administrators eager toensure swift IRS reporting compliance. Furthermore, the ability to provide a Social Security number is often aprerequisite for opening bank accounts or enrolling in a health insuranceplan. 

What the Future Holds

If it proves to be successful, there aregrounds for optimism that similar methods could be put into place for otherapplicants, such as I-129 beneficiaries. At present, the DS-160 form fails to offer an option for requesting aSocial Security number, even for those seeking an employment-based visaclassification.

It remains to be seen whether the increasedlevels of efficiency that this announcement promises will bear out in itspractical application. It is, however,an encouraging step that recognizes thebureaucratic hurdles that are faced by foreign nationals and theiremployers when seeking a smooth transition into a new workplace.

Should you have any questions about how this impacts you, your business, or your employees, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at support@bridge.us.

Disclaimer: This content is not a form of legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for legal counsel. Bridge US encourages readers to discuss any and all immigration-related concerns with an attorney.


More from the Blog

Elevate Your Immigration Process with a Strategic Approach

Once the data is clean and uploaded, the main business users are trained, and the policies are established; immigration turns from an administrative burden into a strategic business endeavor. By unlocking a more holistic People analytics & insights, Talent leaders can arm business leaders to make informed decisions that are not only good for the organization, but also the community and for its people. 

Read Story

A Better Way to Track International Employee Data in 2021 and Beyond

Modern companies require modern access to data and insights, the days of using spreadsheets (not systems) and ad-hoc reporting requests (not on-demand) are being phased out. In the People Operations world, there are very few situations that are static and slow-moving, so shouldn't your data be able to keep up with the pace of your business. But before you throw your old system in the bin, consider what key metrics would be critical to have visibility into and also what sort of vendor can help you best access the data and automated processes that you need.

Read Story

Key Immigration Data Points That People Teams Should be Tracking

Once companies choose to engage with visa sponsorship for their workforce, they also inherit more process, vendor, and compliance responsibilities. However, People Operations teams are beginning to ask for more data from the immigration teams. As we see an increasing importance to invest in creating a delightful employee experience and leveraging people data insights to deliver more business value, HR teams are taking a smarter approach to immigration case processing and reporting.

Read Story