The wait is over for you…You are in America ! You might be wondering what are the things that I should I do after I enter America on H1B Visa. Here is the checklist, read below for more info on each of them.
- Calling Home – Calling Cards, Online Skype, Google Voice, etc.
- Update Employer or H1B Sponsor
- Apply for SSN
- Apply for State ID
- Apply for Learner’s Driving Permit
- Search for Apartment to Rent, Add your name to Lease
- Open a Bank Account
- Apply for Secure Credit Card
- Get Utilities bills like electricity, gas or home phone on your Name
- Get a Mobile Phone with plan – Prepaid or Postpaid
- Get Health Insurance from US health care providers
Calling Home – Calling Cards, Online Skype, Google Voice, etc.
The first thing you want to do is call home. Quick and easy way is to buy calling cards from any gas station or in airport to make calls. When buying ask the guy in gas station or other store the cheap calling card to your home country and get it. Also, if you have access to internet, you can add credit in Skype or Google Voice and call your home. For instance, I got free internet at JFK airport Jetblue terminal, I used Google Voice to call home. Don’t just delay, your family would be waiting for your call…
Update Employer or H1B, L1 Sponsor
You need to update your employer that you have reached America and ready to start work. You will need to get information from them on what all things have to be done prior to joining the company. Some companies have restrictions like you need to go through drug test, etc.
Apply for SSN
You cannot get paid without having Social Security Number(SSN). The very first thing you need to do is apply for SSN. Make sure you check the SSN website online and carry all the required documents to SSN Office. You will need to work with your employer on this and get guidance if needed.
Apply for State ID
You should not carry your Passport to all the locations as Photo ID as it is risky. Read the importance of Photo ID in America. You need to apply for a state ID, to use it as a Photo ID. Just apply it. You may not need it after your driving license as it can add as photo ID. But, honestly, don’t try to save $20 and avoid it….Just get the State ID.
Apply for Learner’s Driving Permit
Make sure you visit the state DMV website and get the information on Learners driving license Permit. You be prepared, read the material related to Learner’s permit and give the exam. It is important for you to do this, so that it does not delay your time to getting Driver’s license . Read the article : How to get Driving license in America for Internationals
Search for Apartment to Rent, Add your name to Lease
You need to look for the apartments around your work or wherever your colleagues live, your choice. Visit few of them and make a decision. Best thing is to search online or use websites like rent.com or craigslist. Having rental lease on your name will build your rental history, which will help you to get apartments in the future. If you are new, the apartment’s management would ask for a letter stating your stay in US and work info just to verify your identity. You may need to get that in order to rent a place.
Open a Bank Account
First thing you have to do is open a bank account and deposit all your cash in it. You can open a checking account or savings account. Just make sure the account you open does not have any minimum cash holding requirements or annual fee. Also, it is a good idea to check with your employer their preferred bank and open an account in that bank, just will make your life easier. This is very important for building credit history. It is your first step to build credit history.
Apply for Secure Credit Card for Credit History
After opening a bank account, the next thing to do is apply for a secure credit card. You should ask the bank that you opened either checking or savings account to issue you a secure credit card. It is nothing but a credit card that is given by the bank for less amount like $500 by taking cash from you as deposit. This is very important for building your credit history. Read Importance of credit history . You will need to have good credit history to take any car loans, personal loans, mortgage, etc.
Get Utilities bills like electricity, gas or home phone on your Name
Once you rent an apartment or share your friend’s apartment, the first thing you need to do is get utility bills on your name. It could be electricity bill, home phone or cooking gas bill. This is an important thing to start building your credit history. Many ignore the importance of this and just leave it on someone else’s name as it is work, but do NOT do that…it is important for your own good. In America, everything is driven by history.
Get a Mobile Phone with plan – Prepaid or Postpaid
You will need a Mobile Phone, nothing works without a mobile phone. You have two choices. Prepaid and Postpaid. Read this article Which mobile plan to buy in US ? You may be asked for deposit, if you are going for postpaid plan as you do not have history…it is not a bad idea to go with it, if you have long term plans to stay in US…Or you can add your account with your friends account and make it a family plan. At one time, I had about 5 phones on my name…
Get Health Insurance from US health care providers
The most important thing in America is having proper Health Insurance. Read Why NOT to be in America without Health Insurance. Check with your employer and see the health insurance options available…If it takes long to process, get a temporary health insurance until you get that sorted out. But, make sure you have a health insurance plan on your name all the time…
What has been your experience moving to America for work ? Share your thoughts.