My Social Security card looks like this:

enter image description here

My employer wants to see a "Social Security Account Number Card Without Employment Restriction." I'm not exactly sure what the "Employment Restriction" refers to. I was born in the US, and was given a "normal" SS card at birth. How do I tell if it has an Employment Restriction?

  • Is the employer U.S. based? As a U.S. citizen you should not have any restrictions with respect to working for a U.S. employer. If there was a restriction, it would be clearly noted on the card.
    – aroth
    Aug 5 '14 at 9:03
  • @aroth Make that an answer... His card is one "Without Employment Restriction" but the confusion is it will only tell if is has a restriction.
    – user8036
    Aug 5 '14 at 9:47
  • 1
    If you were born in the US and have never renounced or done anything to jepardized your citizenship and or right to work then you can work without restriction in the US. Aug 5 '14 at 14:32
  • Hey Joe, and welcome to The Workplace! Great question. I made a couple edits to make it a bit easier to follow, and a bit easier to find for people who will have a similar problem in the future. If you think I totally missed the ball on this one, feel free to make an edit of your own. Thanks in advance!
    – jmac
    Aug 5 '14 at 15:07
  • @Chad: And, for the record, you basically can't lose your citizenship accidentally.
    – Kevin
    Aug 13 '16 at 17:07

There is a page on the Social Security Website that describes the types of cards ,but doesn't provide pictures.

We issue three types of Social Security cards. All cards show your name and Social Security number.

  1. Shows your name and Social Security number and lets you work without restriction. We issue it to:

    • U.S. citizens; and
    • People lawfully admitted to the United States on a permanent basis.
  2. Shows your name and number with notes, "VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION." We issue this type of card to people lawfully admitted to the United States on a temporary basis who have DHS authorization to work.

  3. Shows your name and number with notes, "NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT." We issue it to people from other countries:

    • Who are lawfully admitted to the United States without work authorization from DHS, but with a valid non-work reason for needing a Social Security number; or
    • Who need a number because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service.

[Edit - not by original author]

I located an image of the different types of cards.

enter image description here

  • 3
    +1, but I'll add the tl;dr: your card is fine as long as it doesn't specifically state any restrictions.
    – logophobe
    Aug 5 '14 at 15:22

The card you have is fine. If you have a passport or a birth certificate, you can bring that too, and you'll be good.

The people at your company asking for this know what to look for; they probably want to make sure they have the right stuff on file for your I-9 form.


  • I've always used my passport, HR is always puzzled but they eventually accept it. Aug 12 '16 at 19:00

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .