Previously, after a foreign national was granted employment authorization in the US, he or she then needed to submit a separate application, in person, at the local Social Security Office to obtain a Social Security card. Further, once granted permanent residence in the US, he or she had to revisit the local Social Security Office to notify the Social Security Administration of the change and receive an updated Social Security card.
USCIS has partnered with the Social Security Administration to allow applicants filing for an Application for Employment Authorization, Form I-765, or Application to Register for Permanent Residence, Form I-485, to simultaneously apply for a new/updated Social Security card. Typically, the Social Security card will be issued within a few weeks of the approval of the filing by USCIS, greatly reducing the administrative hurdles and timeline for issuance of a new card.
Those foreign nationals who are applying for Student OPT Employment Authorization can apply online.