Please visit the U.S. Department of State website for more complete information about Federal Benefit Services available overseas.
Social Security Numbers
Social Security numbers are issued only to United States citizens, legally admitted resident aliens (green card holders), and to those required to have a number by Federal law. Immigrating aliens generally secure a number after admission to the U.S.
How to Apply
To secure a Social Security number you are required to complete the application Form SS-5. If you are residing in Zimbabwe, you should return the completed form to the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy in Harare. A passport or green card, and a certified copy of a birth record established before age 5 must be presented. Cards should be received from the Social Security Administration in Baltimore within three months of completing the application process.
U.S. Citizens Registering a Child
U.S. citizens registering a child as a citizen through the Consular Report of Birth Abroad have automatically filed for a Social Security number for that child. If a card is not received within three months, contact the Federal Benefits Unit.
Parents filing an application for a child’s number are required to provide their own Social Security numbers if they have one. The parent signing the applications must also provide identification such as their passport or green card.
Note: Individuals aged 12 and over must apply in person at the Consular Section if they have never had a Social Security Number. Additional documentation is required for these applications. Please contact the Consular Section for further information.
Non-resident aliens requiring a number for purposes of filing a U.S. tax return must file a Form W-7 Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) with the Internal Revenue Service.
Attending school in the U.S.
Aliens not otherwise entitled to a number and planning on attending school in the United States may be asked for a Social Security number by the school. This is for record keeping purposes and is not authorized by Federal law. The school should be asked to assign its own internal number.
Conducting business with a financial institution
If a Social Security number is required to conduct business with a U.S. bank or financial institution and Federal law does not otherwise allow the issuance of a number, ask the Internal Revenue Service for a Form W-8, Certificate of Foreign Status.
Please Note: Individual states may require a Social Security number for record keeping purposes. Aliens may not have a Social Security number issued for these purposes unless required by Federal law.