This week, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published an updated Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. The updated form will allow certain immigrants to simultaneously apply for work authorization from USCIS and a Social Security number from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The updated USCIS form aims to simplify the process of obtaining employment authorization and a Social Security number. Before, an applicant would first submit Form I-765 to USCIS. If the authorization was approved, the applicant would receive an employment authorization document (EAD). This process typically takes several months. Once the applicant was eligible to work, he or she would need to personally go to the SSA office and request a Social Security number by completing an application. Now, if the applicant’s request for work authorization is approved, he will automatically be issued a Social Security number by the SSA. USCIS estimates the individual would receive the Social Security card within a few weeks.

The updated form allows the applicant to chose whether he or she wishes to request a Social Security number; it is not a requirement.