Restricted Social Security Card: How to Remove Valid for Work Only With DHS Authorization

Restricted Social Security Card: How to Remove Valid for Work Only With DHS Authorization

If you’re living in the United States, but you’re not a citizen or lawful permanent resident, you may have a social security card with a work restriction that reads: VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.

Having a restricted social security card means you’ll need additional documentation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) showing you’re legally approved to work in the U.S.

This article covers the different types of social security card restrictions, the consequences of a restricted card, and how to remove your restriction. 

Unrestricted Social Security Cards

The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) issues both unrestricted and restricted social security cards. Unrestricted social security cards are given to U.S. citizens and individuals permanently and lawfully admitted to the U.S.

Restricted Social Security Cards

If your social security card is restricted, here’s what those restrictions mean:

Valid For Work Only With DHS Authorization 

If you have a restricted social security card that reads “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION” or “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION,” your work eligibility is permitted in the United States only temporarily. You’ll need to show another form of work authorization to your potential employer before they can allow you to work for them.

Not Valid For Employment

Social security cards are not always just issued for work only. The restriction “NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT” on your social security card means you were lawfully admitted to the U.S. and granted a social security number to receive a service or benefit — not for work. 

How to Remove “Valid For Work Only With DHS Authorization” 

You are eligible to remove restrictions from your SSC if you are granted U.S. citizenship, asylum, or approval for a green card to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

If you meet one of those eligibility requirements, apply for a new social security card at a Social Security Administration (SSA) office with your original immigration documents. 

Note: Applying through the SSA in person is best, as original documents sent by mail may get lost. You cannot apply using copies of these important documents. 

If you do not meet one of those eligibility requirements, becoming a lawful permanent resident is the first step in removing your social security card restriction.

Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident

If you are an immigrant who wants to become a permanent U.S. resident, you’ll need to apply for your green card. Obtaining a green card takes time and attention to detail. Applicants must meet strict eligibility requirements, fill out the correct immigration forms, and provide the necessary evidence to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Once granted a green card, you are allowed to function freely within the rules of your visa until it expires. However, navigating immigration laws and obtaining a green card without an attorney is challenging. 

Each type of visa has different instructions, costs, and paperwork. A small paperwork error, misinformation, or missing evidence can have devastating impacts. Because of their expertise in immigration and nationality law, a green card lawyer will catch mistakes, organize information, and work quickly. 

If you have questions about how to apply for a green card, one of our experienced immigration attorneys can help make the process less stressful. 

Consequences of a Restricted Social Security Card

If you have a valid work visa, there are no consequences of a restricted social security card (SSC).

If you do not have a valid work visa, it is considered an immigration violation to work on your restricted SSC alone. If your work visa has expired, you need a new visa before using your social security number (SSN) for employment verification. 

Employment Eligibility Verification

When you apply for work, your new employer will ask you for a List C document to verify your employment eligibility on their Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification document.

Employers cannot accept a restricted SSC as verification of your authorization to work. You’ll need to present an alternate verification document to show your work eligibility.

The following are examples of alternate Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization I-9 documents:

  • Permanent Resident Card
  • Employment Authorization Document (also called an I-766 or Employment Authorization Card)
  • A foreign passport containing a current I-94 card
  • A foreign passport plus your state driver’s license or identification card
  • Form I-797 Approval Notices

Does a Social Security Number expire? 

Social security numbers do not expire. If your employment changes or you leave the U.S. and wish to return, your SSN will remain the same.

Update Your Social Security Card With The Help Of an Immigration Attorney

Becoming permanently and lawfully able to work in the United States is an essential part of the immigration process. But getting approved for citizenship or a green card without the help of an immigration attorney can be grueling. 

The experienced lawyers at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. have over 30 years of experience supporting people in pursuing citizenship or LPR status in the United States. If you have questions about your social security card or right to work in the United States, our immigration attorneys can help.

Call us at 312.444.1940 or fill out a contact form today.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!