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Federal Benefits/Social Security/Filing Taxes in the United States
 

Social Security Benefits

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

You can apply for a social security number (SSN) at the Embassy in Reykjavik, or apply for a replacement SSN card if you have lost your card or changed your name. 

Procedures for Obtaining a Social Security Card Number

Social security numbers are issued to U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPR's, also known as "green card holders").  LPR's acquire their number after they are admitted to the United States in LPR status.  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.

TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT please click BOOK AN APPOINTMENT.

Minor Children (under age 12) Who Have Never Had a SSN

To apply for a social security number for a child under the age of 12 the following steps are required:

1.  Complete an Application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS (PDF 233KB).  All questions must be answered and be legible. 

2.  Provide the following original documents - photocopies are not acceptable:

  • Proof of the Child's Birth:  Original birth certificate (either U.S. or foreign document).  If the child was born in Iceland you need to submit his/her Icelandic birth certificate.  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
  • Consular Report of Birth Abroad (if issued before the child attained age 5)
  • If the child was born in the United States you must also submit proof that the child has resided outside of the United States 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 Icelandic Office of Vital Records and it must specify all periods of residence in Iceland.  Other documents include medical and school records. 
  • If the child was born in the United States, form SSA-L706 (PDF 215KB) 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 (CRBA)
  • Proof of the Child's Identity:  Original U.S. or foreign passport, must be current and signed. 
  • Proof of 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 a Child Over Age 12

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

TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT please click BOOK AN APPOINTMENT.

Complete an application for a Social Security Card, Form SS-5-FS  (PDF 233KB)- 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 the child was born in Iceland you need to submit his/her Icelandic birth certificate.  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 attaining age 5)
  • If you or the child were born in the United States:  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 Icelandic Office of Vital Records and it must specify all periods of residence in Iceland.  Other documents you can submit include medical, school and employment records.
  • For U.S. born applicants, form SSA-L706 (PDF 215KB) 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 U.S. birth certificate OR original Consular Report of Birth Abroad 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. 

How to Replace a Lost Card or Obtain Your Social Security Number

Please note that a Social Security Card itself is not needed.  Knowing your number is what is important.  All employers, financial and 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 50KB).  The form should be e-mailed to the Federal Benefits Unit in Oslo at fbu.oslo@ssa.gov

The U.S. Embassy in Oslo will call or mail you a verification of your Social Security Number within three (3) business days.

Details of Your Card are Incorrect

You must provide the following if the details of your card (e.g., name, date of birth) are incorrect:

  • Your valid, signed U.S. passport or U.S. Permanent Resident Card in original
  • Form SS-5 (PDF 233KB)
  • 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

  • Complete an application for a Social Security Card - Form SS-5 (PDF 233KB)
  • Provide the following original documents - photocopies are not acceptable:
  • Proof of the name change:  Such as an extract from the population information system in Iceland stating BOTH the old and new name with the original seal/stamp of the issuing office; OR a U.S. marriage certificate; OR a U.S. divorce decree; OR an adoption certificate; OR a U.S. court order or other official and legal document (such as a deed poll or statutory declaration).
  • 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 three months.  The card will be mailed directly from the United States 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 the Social Security Administration with the custodian of the record in the state where the applicant was born.

Social Security Cards

Occasionally, when a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident returns to their home country, they renounce their U.S. citizenship or abandon their 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.  No one else will ever be assigned that number again.

Furthermore, their earnings, while in the United States, are filed under their Social Security Number.  As a result, 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 does not affect your earnings record.  The earnings posted on the record remain on the 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 for benefits and payment amount.  Benefits to non-U.S. citizens/residents living in Iceland will however be subject to an alien tax of 25.5%. 

Useful Links

You are encouraged to visit the following federal benefits' agency website for the most current information:

 

Tax Filing Information for U.S. Taxpayers Abroad

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides the following tax filing guidance for U.S. taxpayers living abroad.  Links to further IRS guidance are available on the Federal Benefits and Obligations page on travel.state.gov.  

Taxpayers may call to the International Taxpayer Service Call Center at 267-941-1000 (not toll-free).  Note that U.S. embassies and consulates cannot mail tax returns on behalf of U.S. taxpayers.

Questions?

If your questions are not addressed here please contact us by email at reykjavikconsular@state.gov

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