Congratulations on becoming a US citizen! Now you’ll finally get to avail of the benefits reserved solely for citizens of this country. But it’s not yet the end of your immigration journey.
Along with your change in immigration status is the need to update your records in various other government agencies. This includes your social security records.
Updating your social security records after becoming a citizen can be summarized in four steps:
- Prepare your identification and immigration documents.
- Complete Form SS-5. You can download this online or get one in any SSA offices.
- Mail or submit your documents in person. Though updating your records in person is much faster than doing it by mail.
- Answer questions by the SSA staff verifying your immigration status.
Updating your citizenship status may not warrant a replacement of your social security card. But if there are other restrictions in your SSA card, you may request a replacement online or from the SSA staff handling your case.
What Documents Do You Need to Submit?
According to the SSA, if you want to change any information in your record, you need to produce documents that will:
- prove your identity
- support the requested change
- establish the reason for the change
The SSA only accepts certain documents as proof of identity. This includes:
- U.S. driver’s license
- State-issued non-driver’s identification card
- U.S. passport
- Employee ID card
- School ID card
- Health insurance card
- Adoption decree
- Life insurance policy
Submit any one of the above together with your Certificate of Naturalization or Certificate of Citizenship and the completed Form SS-5.
All documents must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. Photocopies and notarized copies are not acceptable. Any documents you sent by mail will be returned to you along with a receipt.
Why Do You Need to Update Your Social Security Record?
There are a lot of advantages to having an updated social security record. For one, it will make it easier to collect social security benefits in the future.
Outdated social security records may also affect your employment opportunities. When you are hired, your employer will enter your SSN in the E-Verify, a web-based system by the US Department of Homeland Security. This helps them verify your eligibility to work in the US. If your records are not updated, they may think that you are working illegally.
Some disability benefits are also available only to citizens. So updating your citizenship records will ease the process once you apply for such.
When Should You Report Your Change in Citizenship?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services advises waiting at least 10 days after your oath-taking ceremony before updating your records. But don’t wait too long or it might slip your mind.
There are no penalties if you forget to report your change in citizenship. But remember that it’s for your own benefit. So make sure that you find time to do it at some point.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.