Can You Laminate a Social Security Card?

Your social security number (SSN) is the number the federal government uses to identify you and track your financial history. Created in 1936, the SSN is one of America’s most commonly used numbering systems. Every American has a 9-digit social security number assigned to them at birth or has one assigned later if they were born abroad. Although assigned to you, you need to apply for your first social security card (or a replacement card). A social security card is the size of a business card and is on rather flimsy paper. That leads many to ask: Can you laminate a social security card?

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The answer is that no, you can’t laminate your social security card per federal government regulations. When laminated, certain security features built into the card won’t work correctly. However, placing your social security card into a plastic sleeve or a “window” wallet or purse is legal. (A business card case works well, also.) You’re good to go if you can take the card out when needed! 

Security experts recommend keeping your social security card safe at home. It’s rare to need your card in your daily life, so keeping it safe at home makes perfect sense. It won’t get damaged or lost and, when you need it, will be in pristine condition. We have more info, advice, and tips below that tell you how, why, and where! If you have more questions about protecting your social security card (and other essential documents), read on.

Is it Possible to Remove Laminate From a Social Security Card?

Let’s say you didn’t know better and laminated your social security card. If so, you might wonder if it’s possible to undo the lamination. The good news is that, in most cases, removing lamination is possible. Below are the steps you can follow to remove laminate from your social security card.

  1. If the plastic extends past your card, use scissors to cut it off close to the edge.
  2. Using a hair dryer, heat the credit card until the plastic becomes soft and pliable.
  3. Using a razor knife, carefully remove the plastic, starting at one edge.
  4. If the card gets too cold and the plastic stops coming off, heat it again with your blowdryer.
  5. Take your time, be careful, and the laminate plastic should come off in no time.

What Are the Security Measures on Social Security Cards?

Like any official government document, a certain criminal element tries its best to counterfeit them. The federal government has updated the social security card several times to prevent that. Forty-seven times, to be exact since they were first printed (which was on cardboard). 

Today the newest social security cards have several features that make them almost counterfeit-proof. The stock paper, for example, has a blue-tinted, random pattern that is, surprisingly, erasable. The reason; if someone tries to erase data, it’s very obvious. Small, multi-colored discs are on the stock paper in a random order, and similar printing is found on US banknotes. There are also several other security features that, for obvious reasons, the federal government doesn’t publicize. 

How to Protect All your Important Documents

Your social security card is just one of the dozens of essential documents you probably possess. How do you protect them? Where should you put them? There are several options, some better than others. Let’s look at the pros and cons of all of them.

Can You Laminate a Social Security Card

A Cardboard Box 

A cardboard box is the storage device of choice for many Americans regarding important documents. 


  • Very inexpensive
  • Easy to use


  • Easy to open and steal things
  • Not waterproof
  • Not flood, fire, and earthquake-proof
Can You Laminate a Social Security Card

A Plastic Storage Bin

A plastic bin or other plastic container has one or two more benefits than a cardboard box.


  • Waterproof
  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • It can be in the basement when closed tightly.


  • Easy to open and steal things
  • Not flood, fire, and earthquake-proof
Can You Laminate a Social Security Card

A Home Safe

A safe is probably the best place to store important documents in your home. Even better would be a fire-proof safe, just in case. The very best would be a fire-proof, built-in safe.


  • Difficult to open and steal things
  • If fire-proof will withstand fire.
  • Earthquake-proof.
  • Difficult to steal the entire safe when it’s built-in.


  • More expensive
  • A small safe that’s not built-in can be stolen easily stolen.

A Safety Deposit Box

This option is a good one if you have a small number of important documents.


  • Very secure.
  • Almost everything-proof.


  • Very Expensive
  • Time-consuming to get paperwork when needed.

Storing your Important Documents, Files, and Paperwork in a Storage Unit

A storage unit is one of the best places to store many important documents, paperwork, and files. If you do, we strongly suggest putting everything into plastic bins or filing cabinets. This recommendation is especially true if you live in an area prone to flooding. Below are the Pros and Cons of a storage unit for storing important documents.


  • Storage facilities have 24/7 video security and on-site managers.
  • More affordable than a bank.
  • You can store other essential items with your paperwork and documents.
  • Accessing your docs and files is easy and fast. Just put in the keypad code at the front gate!


  • It takes a few minutes to drive to your self-storage location.

Final Thoughts

Protecting your social security card is critical today as identity theft is on the rise. We hope the information and advice we’ve given today will help you keep your card safe and secure. At iStorage, our self-storage centers are very secure, with 24/7 video cameras and on-site managers keeping watch. In short, they’re a great place to keep your SSN card and any other important documents you might have.

Speaking of storing important documents, iStorage is a great place to store anything you hold precious and dear. Antiques, baby furniture, clothes, collections, even vehicles. Click this link to visit the iStorage main website to find out more. There you’ll find all our locations and phone numbers for each one. We also recommend you visit your local iStorage self-storage facility in person. The on-site manager will happily help you with any self-storage questions you have.

This post was originally published on 12/01/2020. It was updated on 09/19/2022.