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Do Foreigners Need a Social Security Number to Get Married?

Please Note: I am not an attorney. This is not legal advice. Do not take this post as legal advice, as each case is unique. This post is a story about my experience with my spouse during the process of getting my husband’s marriage-based greencard in the US.

So, do foreigners need a social security number to get married? When we were married years ago, the answer was NO! We married at the Justice of the Peace near our house. (Then we married in a church later.) It was such a special day:)

BUT for a while, I was afraid we couldn’t get married! My friends had gone to apply for a marriage license and said there was a HUGE sign posted: “Parties must present a social security number to obtain a marriage license.” Well, my fiance (now husband) didn’t have a social security number… I thought, “Great, now we can’t get married because of some dumb number.”

So, I called all of these different Justice of the Peace offices in different states–Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, and so on. They all said you have to show your social security number to get married. Finally one kind lady explained: “If you HAVE a social security number, you must provide it. If you DO NOT HAVE a social security number, then you must sign a document that says you don’t have one.”

I am not sure this law applies to all states, but you can call the Office of the City Clerk where you live to find out (this may also be called the Office of the Town Clerk depending where you live). You can usually find this information on the website of your city government.

When you call, ask: “Does a person need a social security number to get a marriage license in your office?” The person will probably say “Yes.”

Then ask: “What if the person does not have a social security number?” In many places, maybe all, the person will say, “In that case, he or she will sign a document that says he or she has no social security number.”

And then, of course, after you are married, your spouse will be able to get a social security card soon–definitely after receiving the EAD. Read about this here.

3 Responses to “Do Foreigners Need a Social Security Number to Get Married?”

  1. Hi, I wish to be married on July 3, 2010. It’s a last min thing. I have been looking at alot these diff req. For diff states(we might go to FL for a fam. Gettogether) we live in Louisiana . Do u know of any info about thoes states that I just didn’t find. My fiancé is from central America , n does not have a DL or SS#! but does have a passport from honduras, can we still get a marriage lincense??? Please help ASAP!!;)

  2. Hi Victoria,

    Thank you for your input!

    I called several clerk’s offices in Tennessee to double check–representatives in each office stated that an individual does NOT need a social security number but DOES need several forms of ID. Anyone wishing to get married there must verify this information on their own to be sure it is current. (The numbers are listed here: http://www.usmarriagelaws.com/search/united_states/tennessee/index.shtml#counties).

    The way requirements are worded in many states indeed makes the social security number look mandatory. I thought the same thing when I first read the requirements in Virginia.

  3. You have to have a social security card in Tennessee. According to their website, it’s non negotiable. I think the laws have been changing alot in the recent years regarding this.

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