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Moving to America – Things to do Before and after Entering USA

One of our readers Praveen posted this nice write up as a comment. Publishing it as article as it would help others.  Thanks to Praveen  for sharing his thoughts. You can share your experiences/thoughts  by submitting article here .


Things to do Before and After Entering America  

1.  Flight Tickets : After you get your H1b, you are all set to go. Book your flight ticket in advance and better to book a direct flight so that you feel good.

2. Port of Entry (POE) :  If you are coming for the first time, just do not worry. At the POE, they generally do not ask much questions, but if some one asks you like – Are you carrying any food items, just say no. Fill your I-94 form given to you in flight carefully. It is important. Make sure that all the particulars on I-94 are correct after the officer stamps it. Because for you to establish your identity, this is the START.

Also read : Things to do in Home country before entering USA 

3. International Calling Phone – you can very well use Skype. If you are going to stay in a hotel or any room, internet is fast and free. So just have a skype account and take a subscription by paying for a monthly subscription (calling to India, Monthly 4 Euros approx). You can set your phone number as caller id also. So finish this business before you reach US. If you can activate international roaming on your phone, it is ok, but not required. At least you can see who is trying to call you and call them back using skype.

4. Local Phone in US : Go to any Walmart, Bestbuy store and you have prepaid phones (AT&T go phone) with SIM. Take the cheap one, which should be available for $20 and you can choose the plan and all online at AT&T.   If you are worried about paying $50 monthly for unlimited, go for 10cents/min and take another subscription in skype for making calls to USA unlimited for $3 a month.   Read Article  : Prepaid Vs Post Paid Plans in America

5. Learning Driving – It is better to download and read the driving manual of the state you are going to enter in USA. So that in a week or so you can take a car for rent and start using it. For car rental – Relayrides is the best option as you need not pay exorbitant prices like $600 per week or so.

6. Bank Account : Immediately after coming go to any bank and open one Checking account. TD Bank generally opens checking account without SSN. So that you will have a USA debit card immediately.

7. Social Security Number (SSN) : Apply for SSN at least after 7 days of your arrival to get it without any delay.

8. Apply for Driving License :  Once you get your SSN, Debit Card from Bank, you can approach DMV for your drivers licence. Do bring your international driving licence. It is helpful.

9. Building Credit History :  It is very important to establish a credit history here in USA, and no body gives you a credit card without credit history. So the best way is to have a secured credit card. Open a checking / savings account with DCU online and send all the documents by email to them. Once you become member of DCU, you can apply for a secured credit card. This is IMP.

10. Searching for Apartment : You may look for rentals even before you land here at Sulekha. So see the one near to your office or university and it should be near to public transportation. Do not think that you can walk for 1 or 2 km. Its just not possible in winter here.

11. Buying Car :  Search for a used car online and be ready, once you get your SSN you can buy it immediately.  Also read : Why NOT to buy a cheap car 

Have a safe trip. Good luck.

You can also read other article on : Things to do after Entering America on a Visa 


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  1. Hi,

    I am going to US in 10 days and I have a query on SSN.

    My name is XXXX YYYY, and I have my given name in the passport as XXXX YYYY and surname as ZZZZ where ZZZZ is expansion of my initial which is indeed my father’s name. So, my complete name as per passport is XXXX YYYY ZZZZ where as it is XXXX YYYY in all of my documents (educational, employment, etc). I have spoken with passport authorities in India and they refused to remove my father’s name and make my second name as surname saying father’s name will be surname (expansion of the initial).

    Since I have my own name everywhere correctly, except for the passport, can I apply for SSN without my surname? I want my SSN to have only as XXXX YYYY, not XXXX YYYY ZZZZ (I can mention XXXX YYYY ZZZZ as my other name in SSN form where there is a field to mention other known names)


    • Ben,
      You should be able to do that. All your immigration documents contain XXXX YYYY, and it should be fine to use that in SSN. If there is a column asking about any other names used, you can mention XXXX YYYY ZZZZ as the other name used.


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