When you’re a naturalized U.S. citizen, you can vote and run for office, but can you collect benefits upon retirement? If you’ve been working, your company should have been filing tax returns with the government. While this does make you liable for tax payments, if you earn enough, there are benefits to the arrangement for you as well.

Social Security is one of these benefits and an essential one. The benefits that you’ll qualify for will depend on how long you’ve been contributing, but the amount you end up receiving can accrue nicely over the years.

You’ll also need a Social Security number if you want to apply for a good job and if you want to get credit for yourself. Our point is that you need to get your Social Security card application as soon as possible. The sooner you get your SSN, the sooner you can start to accrue benefits.

What You’ll Need to Send In

First things first: your application. It’s essential to fill in this form correctly, so there are no denials of your application. If you make a mistake, the administration will reject it, and you’ll have to apply again.

You’ll also need to supply supporting documents as proof of:

  • Identity: You can use United States government-issued ID here. So a driver’s license or your passport will do nicely. Just make sure they’re valid U.S. documents. That means papers issued here and not expired.
  • Age: Your Certificate of birth will need to be submitted.
  • Citizenship: This can be in the form of your U.S. passport, your Certificate of Naturalization, or your Certificate of Citizenship.

You’ll need to either supply the originals or a copy that has been certified by the agency that issued the originals. You’ll have to give in two separate official documents. Some substitutions may be accepted if you do not have the original, or you cannot get it within ten days.

You have to have the actual documents, though –  a receipt to say that you’ve applied or a notarized copy will not be accepted.

If English is not your first language, or you’re not sure how to fill in the form, you can go into the Social Security Administration office nearest you and get help from them. If you want a bit of a shortcut, you can use an online application service.

Services use a simple series of questions to get the information needed for the paperwork. You’ll then be able to download the form correctly completed and receive a list of documents that you can use as proof of the information on the form.

Is There No Other Way?

You can also mail everything in. Again, you’ll need to send in the original supporting documents, but the SSA will return these to you once the application finishes processing.

How Long Does it Take?

As long as you fill out the application correctly, and you supply the correct documents, you could have your new card in about 10 to 14 working days.

If everything is correct, the application process will go smoothly. Make sure you provide everything requested and that the forms are right, or the application will fail.

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