Posted on

Is A Social Security Card Proof Of U.S. Citizenship?

The only thing a Social Security card proves is your social security number but it is not proof of citizenship. Unless stamped with a restriction, your social security card proves that you are entitled to work in the United States for an employer without any restrictions which means that you are a U.S. citizen, a U.S. lawful permanent resident, a U.S. national, or someone in a dozen or more alien statuses that allows you unlimited rights to work in the United States of America.

Immigration Reform and Control

According to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, federal law prohibits discrimination by employers between those who have the right to work in the U.S. for any employer. Presenting a signed, unrestricted Social Security Card is the only proof an employer needs to verify the eligibility of the employee to work. For example, employers cannot have preference for U.S. citizens over lawful permanent residents. Other than the federal government, there are very few instances where it is legal for anyone to demand proof of citizenship.

Individuals with a social security card stamped with a restriction is all the proof anyone needs that the individual is not eligible to work for any employer, but for a specific employer only, or not entitled to work in the U.S. at all. Such individuals are never U.S. citizens as all United States citizens are entitled to work for any employer.

Currently there are two restrictions in use:

1. Issued to non-immigrant aliens who have been admitted to the U.S. who are only entitled to work for the employer who is sponsoring them stamped “Valid for Work Only with DHS Authorization”

2. Issued to non-immigrant aliens not permitted to work but who need an SSN for some reason other than employment stamped ” Not Valid for Employment”.

Documents Illegible as Proof of Citizenship

A U.S. Passport is the best proof of citizenship. Other official documents include:

– Birth Certificate

The birth certificate of a U.S. citizen born in the United States serves as proof of citizenship. The government does not issue any citizenship documentation to persons who are not citizens of the United States by birth.

The citizenship of a person born outside the U.S. as the child of at least one U.S. citizen parent may vary according to the law in place at the time of the birth. In most cases a person would have to prove that one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of birth and had lived for a period of time in the U.S. or its possessions.

In this case there are two options to be recognized as a citizen of the United States:

1. FS-240 or Consular Report of Birth Abroad of the birth registered at the closest U.S. Consulate;
2. A Certificate of Citizenship which can be applied for by completing Form N-600 if the person is already living in the United States.

– Certificate of Citizenship or original Naturalization Certificate serves as proof of citizenship.

Every U.S. employer is required to verify that each new employee hired is illegible for legal employment in the United States. To meet this requirement a U.S. citizen is required to show proof of citizenship via:

U.S. Passport
U.S. Birth Certificate accompanied by a government-issued photograph identification document;

Get to know more at