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Work Permits and Social Security Numbers

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
Reviewed July 2022

Immigrants cannot independently apply for work permits also called "Employment Authorization" or work cards, or for Social Security numbers unless they have some immigration status, such as being a citizen, lawful permanent resident (green card holder), temporary protected status holder, refugee, asylee, or other immigration status that grants work authorization. Please refer to our Immigration pages to see if you may qualify for an immigration status that will allow you to apply for work authorization.

Immigrants can still pay taxes by using what is known as an “individual tax identification number” (ITIN). An ITIN is not a social security number. For information about ITINs, see General ITIN Information.

ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have a U.S. filing or reporting requirement under the Internal Revenue Code.

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Before you talk to USCIS always speak with an Immigration Specialist.

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