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Federal Benefits/Social Security

Federal Benefits

Social Security Benefits

Social Security services for residents of Finland are provided by the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) in Oslo, Norway. For information on Social Security benefits, you should access the Oslo FBU website.

You may still apply for a social security Number (SSN) at the Embassy in Helsinki, or apply for a replacement SSN card due to loss or change of name.

Procedure for Obtaining a Social Security Number Card

Social Security numbers are issued to U.S. citizens and to Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs), so-called green card holders. LPRs acquire their number after they are admitted to the U.S. Any U.S. citizen may apply for a social security number.

All applicants for Social Security Numbers who are 12 years of age or older must apply in person at the Embassy. Services are provided by appointment only.  Please send an e-mail to helsinkiACS@state.gov or call +358-40-140-5957, 2 pm – 4 pm, Monday through Thursday to schedule an appointment.

For a child that has never had a number and is below the age of 12

To apply for a Social Security number for a child under age 12 the following steps are required.

Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF 56KB) - all questions must be answered and legible.

Provide the following original documents - photocopies are not acceptable. The completed application and documents should be mailed to us.

Proof of the child's birth

  • Original birth certificate U.S or foreign If the child was born in Finland you need to submit his/her Finnish birth certificate, which you request from the Magistrate (Maistraatti). The document must state the names of both father and mother, as well as legal guardians, if applicable and must have an original seal/stamp of the issuing office.

Or

  • Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad (if issued before child attained age 5)
  • If the child was born in the U.S. you must also submit proof that the child has resided outside of the U.S. for a significant period of time to explain why a Social Security number has not been issued in the past. Proof of foreign residency can be obtained from the Magistrate (Maistraatti) specifying all periods of residence in Finland. Other documents include medical and school records.
  • If the child was born in the U.S., Form SSA- L706 (PDF, 292KB) must also be completed, signed and submitted along with the application and other documentation. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record.

Proof of the child's U.S. Citizenship

  • Original U.S. birth certificate, or
  • Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad

Proof of the child's identity

  • Original U.S. or foreign passport, must be current and signed

Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application

  •  Original U.S. or foreign passport, must be current and signed

If you are applying for yourself or for a child over the age of 12

The applicant must make a personal appearance at the U.S. Embassy in Finland. Children over age 12 are also required to appear in person. Please remember to make an appointment

Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF 56KB) - all questions must be answered and legible.

Provide the following original documents - photocopies are not acceptable.

  • Proof of birth: Original birth certificate (U.S or foreign) If applicant was born in Finland you need to submit his/her Finnish birth certificate, which you request from the Magistrate (Maistraatti). The document must state the names of both father and mother, as well as legal guardians, if applicable and must have an original seal/stamp of the issuing office.
  • Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad (if issued before attaining age 5)
  • If you or the child was born in the U.S. you must also submit proof of residence outside of the U.S. for a significant period of time to explain why a Social Security number has not been issued in the past. Proof of foreign residency can be obtained from the Magistrate (Maistraatti) specifying all periods of residence in Finland. Other documents include medical , school and employment records.
  • For U.S. born applicants, form SSA- L706 (click HERE to download a PDF of Form SSA-L706 - PDF, 292kb) must also be completed, signed and submitted along with the application and other documentation. This allows the Social Security Administration to verify the birth record with the custodian of the record.
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship:Original US birth certificate OR Original Consular Report of Birth Abroad(CRBA) OR Original Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate
  • Proof of identity:Original U.S. Passport, must be current and signed
  • Proof of the identity of the parent signing the application, if applicable - a parent can sign the form for a child up to age 18; a child can sign the form above age 12. Original Passport, must be current and signed


If you need to replace a lost card

Please note that a Social Security Card itself is not needed. Knowing your number is what is important. All employers, financial & educational institutions, the Internal Revenue Service etc, verify the Social Security Number with the Social Security Administration, regardless of whether or not a Social Security Card is presented.

If you do not remember your number and need to know it, complete the Request for Verification of a Social Security Number (PDF, 216KB). The form can be emailed to the Federal Benefits Unit in Oslo at fbu.oslo@ssa.gov.

We will then call you or mail you a verification of your Social Security Number within 3 business days. 

If the details on the card are incorrect, you must provide the following:

  • Your valid, signed, U.S. passport or    U.S. Permanent Residence Card in original.
  • Form SS-5 (PDF, 56KB)
  • In case of an incorrect date of birth, the original birth certificate must be included


If you have married or divorced and need to change your name on your Social Security records:

  • Provide the following original documents - photocopies are not acceptable. The completed application and documents should be mailed to us.
  • Proof of the name change

Proof of the name change, such as an extract from the population information system in Finland  from the Maistraatti stating BOTH old and new name with the original seal/stamp of the Maistraatti, a U.S. marriage certificate, a U.S. divorce decree, adoption certificate, a U.S. court order, or other official and legal document (such as a deed poll or a statutory declaration).

If the marriage or divorce certificate is over 2 years old or does not contain biographical data such as a date of birth or age, you must also submit proof of identity in your OLD name. If you have no identification in your old name, you must write a statement as to why you do not have such proof of identity and submit proof of identity in your NEW name.

  • Proof of identity in New Name,


Original current U.S. or foreign passport, must be signed

Processing time for a social security card

The processing time for non-U.S. born applicants is approximately 3 months. The card will be mailed directly from the U.S. to the address given in the application.

For U.S. born applicants who have never had a SSN, processing time may be up to six months as the applicant's birth must be verified by Social Security Administration with the custodian of the record in the state where the applicant was born.

Social Security Cards

Occasionally, when a US citizen or Legally Admitted Permanent Resident returns to their home country, they renounce their US citizenship or permanent residence status. Often, they contact us to ask what they should do with their Social Security card.

Our advice is to keep the card in a safe place. The Social Security Number assigned to them is theirs forever. None else will ever be assigned that number again.

Furthermore, their earnings, while in the United States, are filed under their Social Security Number. Thus, when it is time to file for retirement benefits or Medicare, they will need to provide us with their number.

Lastly, the change in citizenship or alien status doesn’t affect their earnings record. The earnings posted on their record remain on their record forever.  So when it comes to filing for benefits, the credits earned as a result of those earnings will be used to determine their eligibility to benefits and payment amount. Benefits to non-U.S. citizens/residents living in Finland will however be subject to an alien tax of 25.5%.

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