Over the last 3 months I’ve had to overcome quite a few challenges in moving to the United States, and I figured it would be good to share with whoever comes across this page.
The first step was getting a legal work visa to work in the US. Because of my line of work I was able to qualify for a TD-1 Visa under the Computer Software Analyst category. While the TD visa is a border petition, it really helps to have all documentation prepared. For this I had 2 attempts, one where I thought I was prepared…and another where I really was. With my first attempt my employer wasn’t sure of the process and wrote a simple letter. Prior to the second attempt I found an online company that specialized in helping immigrants with the TD process and provided sample letters and guidance. This really was the key in getting this step complete. Special note here, ensure that your name is entirely correct on the I-94. For me, as I go by my middle name the agent put both my first name and second name on the I-94 form under first name. Months later, I’ve come to realize this made a terrible mess.
After I had the TD visa, the next step was to acquire a Social Security Number. That was pretty simple and straight forward. Once I had the SSN, I was able to talk to companies for making purchases and subscribing for services.
First I went to AT&T to place my owned iPhone 5 hardware onto a plan. Even though I had the hardware, I still had to place a $500 US deposit (times two as we had another phone for my wife) because I had no credit. Over the course of the first couple months living in the US I’ve had to put out over $2,000 in deposits at various places…so far!
Another thing I started immediately was to find a bank that would give me a mortgage. Because my SSN was new and I had no credit, most lenders would not even touch my file. Luckily for me, RBC Bank USA was able to look at my Canadian credit (which was a score of 764) and give me a very good rate for my mortgage. This process took longer than I would have expected. Buying a house down here is quite a bit different than Canada, especially with not getting possession until after closing.
When I tried to purchase a vehicle..I found out most places required a valid Georgia drivers license. Well…that was the next thing I did. I went to the Department of Driver Services and spent 4 hours going thru the process of getting a learners permit. What I should have done is immediately schedule the drivers test…as they get booked 5 weeks out. However, a learners permit was enough to purchase a vehicle and get insurance etc.