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Laminate a Social Security Card

Why Can’t You Laminate a Social Security Card?

We’d like to inform you that the US government categorically states that you can’t laminate your social security card. Laminating your social security card keeps it from being verified as authentic.

Can you Laminate Your Social Security Card?

No, you can’t laminate your social security card. It’s very simple – if you laminate the card, you can obscure information, and there won’t be a way to tell it’s real or counterfeit.

Social security cards are made of banknote paper, meaning they’re slightly thick. But they can still tear or get damaged if you aren’t careful with them.

If the card gets damaged, replacing it is easy. Just go to the closest social security office and get a replacement. You’ll only need to provide identification documents like your passport or your driver’s license.

Alternative Ways of Keeping Your Social Security Card Protected

Now that laminating is out of the question, it doesn’t mean that your social security card should stay exposed to the elements. Here are a few ways in which you can protect your social security card without laminating it:

  • Keep it in an envelope or a removable plastic sleeve – like the ones employees use for their badges at work.
  • Don’t carry the card everywhere you go – only carry it when you’re going to a place where you’re sure you’ll be asked to produce the card, like when applying for a job, during military enlistment, or college enrollment. It’s wise, however, memorize your social security number.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it okay to laminate a social security card?

No, it’s not okay to laminate a social security card because laminating it cuts access to the card’s features and the possibility of verifying the card’s authenticity.

Do laminated social security cards get accepted?

Most of the time, a laminated card is assumed to be invalid, especially when it’s stated at the back of the card “not valid if laminated”, and it’s rightfully so because the card’s features are obscured by the lamination.

What can I do to protect my social security card?

First, you could keep it in a plastic sleeve or an envelope that doesn’t change the card in any way.

Apart from that, you could avoid carrying the card unless you’re going to a place where you’ll be needed to show your social security number like when applying for a new job.

Can you accept an unsigned social security card?

Yes, if the card looks genuine. Although it’s good to sign one’s social security card, the signature isn’t necessary for validating the card.


You can’t laminate your social security card, because the card can’t be validated. And again, there are other ways of protecting your social security card, like keeping it in a plastic sleeve.

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James M. Rai has been screen printing T-shirts and other textiles professionally and as a hobby for more than 15 years. During that time, he owned and operated a small screen printing shop in northern California for more than 7 years. More recently, James has gotten involved with Cricut and other cutting machines.


  1. Since when is a SS Card made of hard-plastic? Is this a recent change? The two SS cards I’ve possessed in my lifetime have both been made of some truly crappy “card-stock” that tears and fades incredibly easily.

  2. My recent 1 month old SS card is paper and the others I’ve had are paper. SS card is paper with security features , colored dots arranged in some sort and lettering only visible at certain angle, not plastic in any way it gets wet , the reason mine was unacceptable.

  3. I don’t know why this information says the SS card is made of “ hard plastic paper”!— I just received my replacement card ant it seems to be made of flimsy paper—

  4. I was born in the fifties
    The cards back then did not say anything about lamination

    So are cards from that time acceptab lb e?

  5. Got my SS card mid 1960’s. It is made of paper and has no discernible security features – no holographs – no plastic with embedded this or that – nothing at all – just printing and colors on cheap paper, all that is easily seen through plastic lamination. Don’t get it .. seems like more bureaucratic meaningless BS to make citizens lives harder and bureaucrats feel important – because one more thing where they can stamp ‘rejected’ after you waiting in line an hour to get served.

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