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Publication 80

3. Employee's Social Security Number (SSN)(p7)

An employee's SSN consists of nine digits separated as follows: 000-00-0000. You must get each employee's name and SSN and enter them on Form W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI. If you don't report the employee's correct name and SSN, you may owe a penalty unless you have reasonable cause. See Pub. 1586 for information on the requirement to solicit the employee's SSN.

Employee's social security card.(p7)

You should ask the employee to show you his or her social security card. The employee may show the card if it is available. Don't accept a social security card that says "Not valid for employment." A social security number issued with this legend doesn't permit employment. You may, but you’re not required to, photocopy the social security card if the employee provides it.

Applying for a social security card.(p7)

Any employee who is legally eligible to work in the United States and doesn't have an SSN can get one by completing Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, and submitting the necessary documentation. You can get Form SS-5 from the SSA website at or see Where to get and file SSN application forms below. The employee must complete and sign Form SS-5; it can't be filed by the employer. You may be asked to supply a letter to accompany Form SS-5 if the employee has exceeded his or her yearly or lifetime limit for the number of replacement cards allowed.

Applying for an SSN.(p8)

If you file Form W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI on paper and your employee applied for an SSN but doesn't have one when you must file Form W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI, enter "Applied For" on the form. If you’re filing electronically, enter all zeros (000-00-0000 if creating forms online or 000000000 if uploading a file) in the social security number field. When the employee receives the SSN, file Copy A of Form W-2c with the SSA to show the employee's SSN. Furnish copies B, C, and 2 of Form W-2c to the employee. Up to 25 Forms W-2c for each Form W-3c, Transmittal of Corrected Wage and Tax Statements, may now be filed per session over the Internet, with no limit on the number of sessions. For more information, visit the SSA's Employer W-2 Filing Instructions & Information webpage at Advise your employee to correct the SSN on his or her original Form W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI.

Correctly record the employee's name and SSN.(p8)

Record the name and SSN of each employee as they appear on his or her social security card. If the name isn't correct as shown on the card (for example, because of marriage or divorce), the employee should request an updated card from the SSA. Continue to use the old name until the employee shows you the updated social security card with the corrected name.
If the SSA issues the employee an updated card after a name change, or a new card with a different SSN after a change in alien work status, file a Form W-2c to correct the name/SSN reported on the most recently filed Form W-2, W-2AS, W-2CM, W-2GU, or W-2VI. It isn't necessary to correct other years if the previous name and SSN were used for years before the most recent Form W-2.

Where to get and file SSN application forms.(p8)

U.S. Social Security Administration offices located in the territories.

U.S. Virgin Islands
1st Fl Suite 14
8000 Nisky Shopping Ct
St. Thomas, VI 00802

Suite 155
770 East Sunset Blvd
Tiyan, GU 96913

American Samoa
Centennial Building
3rd Floor, Suite 302
Pago Pago, AS 96799

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
MH II Building, Suite 201
Marina HGT Business Pk
Saipan, MP 96950

Additional information is available on the SSA website on the Social Security Office Locator page at

Verification of SSNs.(p8)

Employers and authorized reporting agents can use the Social Security Number Verification Service (SSNVS) to instantly verify up to 10 names and SSNs (per screen) at a time, or submit an electronic file of up to 250,000 names and SSNs and usually receive the results the next business day. Visit for more information.
Registering for SSNVS.(p8)
You must register online and receive authorization from your employer to use SSNVS. To register, visit the SSA's website at and click on the Register link under Business Services Online. Follow the registration instructions to obtain a user identification (ID) and password. You’ll need to provide the following information about yourself and your company.
When you have completed the online registration process, the SSA will mail a one-time activation code to your employer. You must enter the activation code online to use SSNVS.