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U.S. Naturalization Process Gets Social Security Card Integration

Starting in April 2024, permanent residents of the United States who meet the requirements and criteria to become American citizens can simultaneously update their status with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and get a new or replacement card if needed. According to a news alert published by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), this development is part of an effort to better integrate some SSA functions when foreigners apply for specific benefits and programs.

Integration of Social Security into the U.S. Naturalization Process

Green card holders who have resided in the U.S. for at least five years can begin the American citizenship process by filing USCIS Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, which has been amended to include a section with a question workflow to determine status with the SSA. Applicants will provide their social security numbers (SSNs) if they’ve been issued, then check the appropriate box if they wish to receive cards. 

Most N-400 applicants get SSNs years before they qualify for U.S. citizenship. However, some individuals born overseas before 1986 to at least one American parent can apply for naturalization without an SSN, and they can now get a new SSN plus a card as new citizens while skipping the lines at SSA offices.

For legal residents who already have their SSNs and cards, this N-400 update makes their lives easier because they no longer have to notify the SSA about their change of immigration status. In the past, becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen involved making an appointment through an online account and visiting an SSA office to complete the process. If you file a new N-400 through a San Diego immigration law firm, a paper form, or the online application, you’ll only need to visit an SSA office for issues such as correcting the order, spelling, or marital status of your name as it appears on the card.

Understanding the USCIS Enumeration Beyond Entry (EBE) Program

This N-400 update of April 2024 is part of a program USCIS and the SSA agreed upon in 2017 and which started with Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document. The Enumeration Beyond Entry (EBE) program is part of the USCIS Transformation and Agility Initiative, which has been around for more than a decade but stalled during the Trump administration. The focus of EBE is on streamlining certain processes for immigrants seeking USCIS and SSA benefits.

In 2021, the EBE strategy was rolled out for USCIS Form I-485, Application for Adjustment of Status, which has a higher number of applicants without SSNs upon filing than Form N-400. Another important aspect of the EBE program is that the SSA now gets information directly from USCIS forms. This effectively reduces issues such as misspellings, incorrect name variations, and home addresses that don’t match. Even if an applicant doesn’t request a new SSN or card, a record will be created and transmitted to the SSA to expedite future requests. 

If you have questions about any aspect of the immigration process, make sure to reach out to an immigration lawyer in San Diego you can trust. The attorneys at KS Visa Law have vast experience with every aspect of immigration law, and we’re the attorneys to call on when you need the most up-to-date information about immigration regulations. Call KS Visa Law today to schedule an appointment.

May 2024