If I’m sponsoring my spouse for a green card, how long will it take for them to be able to also apply for a Social Security card or a driver’s license?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration attorney here in St. Louis, Missouri. A lot of people who come to see us to get that marriage based green card want to know when can the foreign spouse obtain a driver’s license from the state of Missouri. Or, a Social Security card from the Social Security Administration. The answer to that question is it’s once you get the work authorization card. In the typical marriage based Visa case, we always apply not only for the green card; we also apply for a work authorization and a travel document.
After you get the Work Authorization you can then go to the state of Missouri and obtain a driver’s license. You can also go to the Social Security Administration at that point and obtain a Social Security card for your spouse. You’re going to need that Social Security number to be able to start working along with the EAD.
Missouri and most other states won’t just give out driver’s licenses to people here on say, visitor visas. If you’re here on a student visa you can get a driver’s license. But generally if you’re here as a newcomer and you’re applying to get a marriage based green card, you’re not going to be able to get that driver’s license with just say the receipt notices. You have to wait until the actual red employment authorization card comes. You can then take that down to the State Licensing Office and obtain a driver’s license.
It’s a good idea to do these things before your interview. Now a lot of times there’s not that much time that elapses between the time that you get the EAD or work card and the time you get the green card. Sometimes it’s just a matter of weeks. It really can make a big difference. There are some officers who put a lot of stock into having people have proper identification. When you go for your interview they’re going to ask you for your state driver’s license. To the extent that you can get that beforehand, before that interview, that’s a good thing.
Once you get that EAD you want to go get a driver’s license as quickly as you can. If you can’t get a driver’s license, because you can’t drive or for some other reason, you at least want to get a state ID that shows that you’re living at the same address as your spouse. Not only is it proof that you have proper state ID, but it’s also another piece of proof that you have a shared life with your spouse living at the same address. Sometimes if you have driver’s licenses at different addresses the Immigration Service gets a little bit puzzled by that.
Same too with a Social Security card; it’s just another way to demonstrate that you’re here, that you’ve declared who you are. It’s another little piece that helps at the interview.
If you have any questions about this, about driver’s licenses or Social Security cards and how they come into play with the overall spouse’s application process. Feel free to give us a call, 314-961-8200, or you can shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks a lot.