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Author: DiamondMask Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 52  
Subject: This Board Date: 8/18/2004 11:29 AM
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Hi and welcome to anyone who has stumbled on this board. It was created to discuss the particular problems that non-US people encounter when moving to the States. For example, problems with social security numbers, mortgages, insurance etc and that's not to mention the terminology!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Diamond Mask
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Author: HedonistiX Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 15 of 52
Subject: Re: This Board Date: 9/13/2004 11:32 PM
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Directed to this board by Atrio, my Reds partner-in-crime, up at the Football board.

I was an immigrant myself, arrived here in 1993 from Indonesia and decided to get naturalized in 1999-2000. The Mrs. hailed from Europe and currently in the process of naturalization as well (interview next month).

Let me chip in on the subjects mentioned so far:

- Social Security: I believe under the new rule, if adults immigrate here, they'll automatically be given and mailed the SS card without having to go through the SS Admin. office to apply. My brother/sister in laws just moved here couple months ago, this is how they got theirs.

- Driver's license: a non-issue, should be ready in 2-3 weeks.

- Bank Account: ING Direct is good for online banking/high interest but IMHO banking with a local bank for ATM convenience should still be done. In other words, put something with your local bank just to maintain minimum balance (ideally, find some banks with most ATMs, like BofA with NO minimum balance requirement) and connect the account with ING Direct for the other remaining balances.

- Credit Cards: when I first got here, building a credit history was a serious task. I had to go through the regular secured card and the other easy way is applying a gas card (with only little limit $100-200 from Chevron, Shell or 76), slowly and gradually building credit history. When built, what you should look for is those that pays you back the most (either miles, points or cash back). Some of the big name issuers here are: Citi, Chase/Bank One, MBNA, Capital One, Amex, Discover, and just any bank. As of now, all of my cards have rebates/points but we're using only 1 card from Chase which gives us 1% cash back for net purchases and 3% cash back for gasoline purchases; hard to beat.

- Car insurance: another headache as I got here single and under 25 (they rip you off if you are under this demographic class). One way to offset the high cost is if you are a student, otherwise depending on your car and needs, I'd just suggest to buy a cheap used car and only buy third-party liability insurance. Upgrade to newer car and full-coverage insurance after 1-2 years.

I also saw that many of you that have posted here are from the UK, so (I'm assuming everyone likes footie) the next board you are to visit is this coolest board in Fooldom (we'll take you in even if you are a Manc fan, despite begrudgingly):
http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=21302942&bid=116008

Or visit/comment on my personal blog if you want to:
http://hedonistix.blogs.com/

Lastly, welcome to our country and shoot me any emails or post here if you have any questions.
Contrary to what the world perceives about Americans, we are really nice people (at least I think I am).


:o)
--H

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Author: rog56 Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17 of 52
Subject: Re: This Board Date: 9/14/2004 2:54 PM
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Social Security: I believe under the new rule, if adults immigrate here, they'll automatically be given and mailed the SS card without having to go through the SS Admin. office to apply.

I don't know about that rule - maybe it depends on the type of visa. I've applied in person for an SSN. I'm trying to call the office to see if a number bas been assigned, but I got bored with the recorded message after 20 mins.

Bank Account: ING Direct is good for online banking/high interest.

As far as I can see, ING Direct offer a (good) savings account, but a checking account with another bank would be necessary as well.

I see a lot mentioned about online billpay, but (anyone) what are the usual US terms to describe regular standing orders or direct debits? (ACH, I've seen mentioned.)

Credit Cards: when I first got here, building a credit history was a serious task.

From UK TMF Boards, I picked up the notion that building a credit history in the US can mean that they want to see you actually get into debt. Thus, paying off a credit card each month in full might not count? Does anyone have experience on this?

rog56


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Author: HedonistiX Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 18 of 52
Subject: Re: This Board Date: 9/14/2004 4:43 PM
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rog 56:

I don't know about that rule - maybe it depends on the type of visa. I've applied in person for an SSN. I'm trying to call the office to see if a number bas been assigned, but I got bored with the recorded message after 20 mins.

Yes.
My BIL got here through the green card lottery.


As far as I can see, ING Direct offer a (good) savings account, but a checking account with another bank would be necessary as well.

Exactly my point.
ING Direct Orange saving is NOT intended to be one's primary liquid account.


I see a lot mentioned about online billpay, but (anyone) what are the usual US terms to describe regular standing orders or direct debits? (ACH, I've seen mentioned.)

I don't fully understand your question.

But in general, if you have a checking account with online billpay and you want to pay to your credit card company, you are paying by the billpay feature (but in the back door, the processes are executed through ACH).

i.e.: when you type American Express or Citibank as your payee, some different options and mailing addresses from Amex or Citi will usually appear. This usually show that your bank and Amex or Citi receives each other's payments via ACH (and this also mean that usually your payments will get there faster, 2-3 days instead of 5 days for regular online billpay via checks)


From UK TMF Boards, I picked up the notion that building a credit history in the US can mean that they want to see you actually get into debt. Thus, paying off a credit card each month in full might not count? Does anyone have experience on this?

That is obviously an exaggeration.
Yes, they'd prefer you to carry balances but NO, the way you handle your accounts matters more than how much you owe in building credit history.

I have never had any balance and always pay my bill in full since I first got here.
From $0 limit in 1993, I think I have almost $100,000 total in credit lines from all my cards today.


--H


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Author: Atrio Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23 of 52
Subject: Re: This Board Date: 9/14/2004 9:28 PM
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From UK TMF Boards, I picked up the notion that building a credit history in the US can mean that they want to see you actually get into debt. Thus, paying off a credit card each month in full might not count? Does anyone have experience on this?

That is obviously an exaggeration.
Yes, they'd prefer you to carry balances but NO, the way you handle your accounts matters more than how much you owe in building credit history.



Rog,
H is spot on here. I know where you may be coming from though. When I first got here I went into the bak and asked for a credit card, the teller told me I had no chance since I had no credit history and the best thing for me was to take a loan out and pay it back to let the system learn my credit habits.
Rubbish. Go the secured credit card route, dont pay the bank to build your credit history.

Just my opinion

Atrio


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Author: kcdesi One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 43 of 52
Subject: Re: This Board Date: 9/24/2004 2:33 PM
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Hello DiamondMask

Did you create this board? If so hats off to you. Having recently become a Resident Alien and bought a new home I was hoping there is some place I can post my questions and get answers.

This seesm to be the perfect place. I will be watching this board and contribute my .02 cents.

Came to USA as a student in 94 and finished graduate studies and got a job and started the long and arduous green card process. Eventually got it after 5 long years of processing.

KCDesi

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Author: DiamondMask Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 47 of 52
Subject: Re: This Board Date: 9/29/2004 7:07 PM
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Hi KCDesi

Welcome! Yes, I created this board as I got frustrated looking for stuff relevant to newbies to the States. We are technically Non Resident Aliens i.e. on a 3-6 year visa but the issues are pretty much the same re. houses, visas, credit cards etc.

I hope the board proves useful to you. Please encourage anyone other "expats/new residents" to join us.

Cheers
DM

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