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USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Old Feb 11th 2011, 8:02 pm
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Default USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Thought I would post this for others who may need to do the same! My wife is a USC but has not lived in the US since she was 5. She never received an SSN and so, in order to file an I-864/sponsor our visas etc., has had to apply for one through the London Embassy Federal Benefits Unit in person. We did some research through this site and the embassy website and found we just had to pick a day we wanted to go and email a few days before to be put on the security list. I duly sent an email on Tuesday asking if we could come today (Friday). We received a next day response and started collecting all the documents we would need and made our travel plans!

We have just arrived back and here is our experience:

07.30am Dropped off daughter at Nursery and on the road!

10.25am Arrived at Hounslow East Tube Station (Zone 4) car park (£4.50 for all day!!)

10.55am Arrived at Green Park Tube Station (Zone 1)

11.15am Arrive at Embassy!!!

Nice Lady waiting outside to check people against list, my wife is on the list so the email system works! I have to wait outside however so am given my wife's lovely pink rucksack to look after and she gets in the American Citizen Services Queue (all of 3 people!!!) with her 2 folders of information. After a couple of minutes she is asked to step forward to the welcoming "bomb proof" booth to go through her security checks/x-ray machine (mobile phones had to be switched off and placed in a clear plastic bag – supplied!!). I briefly see her come out the other side of the booth and walk around to the side entrance.

I then waited for her to re-appear for just over an hour, my observations therefore are few but detailed:

1- There are 37(?!?) bollards at the front of the embassy!

2- Grosvenor Square has a statue of FDR and many pigeons!

3- I smoke too much!

4- It is really hard not to look suspicious when you are trying not to!

5- Armed Police Officers are actually quite nice people!

While I was looking like a terrorist my wife’s story is as follows:

Once through security I entered the main building and was directed to check-in at reception. I proceeded to the desk and told the man there that I was here to obtain an SSN from the Federal Benefits Unit. He then asked me if I had an appointment to which I said “No”. “You need to have an appointment” was his reply! Once he had ascertained that, in fact, I didn’t need an appointment (it is a book the day and turn up service!!) he gave me a ticket and directed me to the waiting area. This is a communal area for all services, Visas, etc. Window 13 is for Social Security Matters. I took a seat and was just about to check over my documents when I noticed my number had been called to window 13!!! Off I went to be greeted by a friendly American lady, I explained why I was there and she proceeded to ask me for my ss5 form which I handed over along with birth certificate, marriage certificate, US passport, and previous divorce papers. I also gave her my NHS medical card, my children’s birth certificates and all my previous passports. The lady seemed happy with all this and then asked me what was in the second folder that I had brought! As I handed it to her I proclaimed “This is my life!”. To explain - When applying for an SSN as an adult you have to show them that you have lived outside of the US since you were a child and that is why you have never had an SSN issued, the burden of proof is higher as an adult! To this end, within this folder I had: Old letters (in postmarked envelopes) addressed to me in all my names (maiden/married etc.) dating back to my childhood, school reports (good and bad!!), swimming certificates, exam entry slips, a bank statement, driving test appointment slip, pay slips (various jobs over years), employment card (paper round!!), child tax credit forms, school trip letters, PAYE Coding Notices, BOAC Junior Jet Club Log Book, P45’s, National Insurance Letter, Primary School Merit awards and GCSE Exam Certificates!! I know what you are thinking, yes I am a hoarder!!! The nice lady seemed to be more than happy and asked me to take a seat while she went through it all and took copies…..

…..45 minutes later she returned with a big grin!! “Myself and my colleagues are in absolutely no doubt, you will have no problems getting your SSN!” she said and continued to remark over some of the items, notably my BOAC Log Book (“Never seen one before!”) and one particular envelope with a stamp from the marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson (dated 1986)!!!!!

The lady then had to ask me a few formal questions about have I ever lived in the US since leaving etc. and we were all done!!! (One further form I had to fill in was due to my Birth Certificate being the “old type” and was just to give the FBU permission to request a new type certificate from California for me). The lady then explained I would receive my SSN card through the post to my UK address (in a couple of months!) and that I was free to go!!


12.30pm My wife then returned through the booth and we made a hasty retreat to McDonalds before returning by tube to the car and driving home!! (Slight detour to Tesco’s for a box of Krispy Kremes!!)

All in all a fairly stress free Embassy experience was had by all!!
Hope this helps others!

THE BLIMMERS!!

N.B. My original email stated both me and my wife would be visiting but only her name was on the security list. This is presumably because 1. I am not a USC and 2. I was not a necessary part of the process!!!

Last edited by Blimmer; Feb 11th 2011 at 8:04 pm.
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Old Feb 12th 2011, 9:37 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Thanks for that post, it was really helpful!

I am a USC by decent and have never lived in the States but when I renewed my US passport last month, I was told I had to get a SSN...the list of docs your wife provided them will definitely give me an idea of what to bring when I get mine sorted in the next few months

I see being a hoarder does pay off

Jen
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Old Feb 12th 2011, 10:31 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by urbanproject View Post
Thanks for that post, it was really helpful!

I am a USC by decent and have never lived in the States but when I renewed my US passport last month, I was told I had to get a SSN...the list of docs your wife provided them will definitely give me an idea of what to bring when I get mine sorted in the next few months

I see being a hoarder does pay off

Jen
There is a great wiki entry about filing your US income tax returns too.
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Old Feb 13th 2011, 1:28 am
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
There is a great wiki entry about filing your US income tax returns too.
Thanks meauxna, I'll be reading up on that as well
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Old Feb 13th 2011, 3:02 am
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
There is a great wiki entry about filing your US income tax returns too.
this should be added to the wiki too...
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Old Feb 13th 2011, 10:12 am
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by urbanproject View Post
Thanks for that post, it was really helpful!

I am a USC by decent and have never lived in the States but when I renewed my US passport last month, I was told I had to get a SSN...the list of docs your wife provided them will definitely give me an idea of what to bring when I get mine sorted in the next few months

I see being a hoarder does pay off

Jen
Glad it helped!!
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Old Feb 13th 2011, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

I am confused I always thought USC's were given a SS# when their birth was registered ? I know that if they are born in another country that would be hard unless to a member of the armed forces but if born in the USA surely a number would have been issued ?

Philip.
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Old Feb 13th 2011, 5:05 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by Pistonbroke View Post
I am confused I always thought USC's were given a SS# when their birth was registered ? I know that if they are born in another country that would be hard unless to a member of the armed forces but if born in the USA surely a number would have been issued ?

Philip.
Philip,

This was not automatic years ago, an SSN had to be requested for the child. Because my wifes mother did not and they then left the US when my wife was 5, she never received one.
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Old Feb 13th 2011, 6:03 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by Pistonbroke View Post
I am confused I always thought USC's were given a SS# when their birth was registered ? I know that if they are born in another country that would be hard unless to a member of the armed forces but if born in the USA surely a number would have been issued ?

Philip.
No, not surely.
The SSN is a tax reporting convenience. That it's been coopted for everything else under the sun has nothing to do with it.

There is no central governmental registration of citizens.
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 6:36 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Thank you, Blimmer Family, for your great post. I have added it to an entry in the wiki: http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Social...pplying_Abroad
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Old Feb 16th 2011, 9:13 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
Thank you, Blimmer Family, for your great post. I have added it to an entry in the wiki: http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Social...pplying_Abroad
Thanks Meauxna, hope people find it useful as this was the reason we wrote it!!
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 12:01 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by Blimmer View Post
Thought I would post this for others who may need to do the same! My wife is a USC but has not lived in the US since she was 5. She never received an SSN and so, in order to file an I-864/sponsor our visas etc., has had to apply for one through the London Embassy Federal Benefits Unit in person. We did some research
Thank you soooo much for this. We are in exactly the same position (I left when I was three) and I wasn't sure I could even do it at the Embassy. Right, sleeves rolled up and starting to email...
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 4:37 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by Coldhands View Post
Thank you soooo much for this. We are in exactly the same position (I left when I was three) and I wasn't sure I could even do it at the Embassy. Right, sleeves rolled up and starting to email...
ooh, I got confused, I saw you post that your husband is moving over for work.. have you got everyone's citizenships and passports sorted out too? Let me know, as there's other wiki articles that will be useful to you (like the tax return one).
Lots to do!
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 5:06 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

I couldn't get past one thing...real American Krispy Kremes in Tesco's????

The just closed ours here in Fort Worth, Texas!

Nice post.
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 6:23 pm
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Default Re: USC applying for an SSN at London Embassy - A Rough Guide!

Originally Posted by Pistonbroke View Post
I am confused I always thought USC's were given a SS# when their birth was registered ? I know that if they are born in another country that would be hard unless to a member of the armed forces but if born in the USA surely a number would have been issued ?

Philip.
It wasn't until about 1980 that parents got SS numbers for their children at birth. Prior to that, the child waited until he started working or age 15 or greater to apply. The change occurred because the IRS started requiring that dependents SS# to be reported on tax returns to try to eliminate fraud where both divorced parents were reporting the same child as dependents or reporting non existent children as dependents.
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