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Driving Question

Driving Question

Old Jan 27th 2004, 3:19 pm
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Default Driving Question

Am hoping to across very soon on H1B.
Think I've read somewhere that my wife and child need the H4 so that they can leave the US without me.

My question is, will my wife be able to take the US driving test on the H4?. if not, does that mean that we can't get her a car?, or can she legally drive with her UK driving license?.

Thanks
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 3:35 pm
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yes I believe she can get a license.
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 3:39 pm
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cheers Manc..
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 3:49 pm
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Default Re: Driving Question

Originally posted by scubadude
Am hoping to across very soon on H1B.
Think I've read somewhere that my wife and child need the H4 so that they can leave the US without me.

My question is, will my wife be able to take the US driving test on the H4?. if not, does that mean that we can't get her a car?, or can she legally drive with her UK driving license?.

Thanks
Hi

I came across to the US at the end of October on a H4 with my hubby on a H1B. In illinois (we live in the north suburbs of Chicago) as a H4 visa holder I am not allowed to be issued with the all important Social Security Number (SSN). Without this I am unable to apply to take the driving test or even apply for a state id. (or other things such as open my own bank account or apply for a supermarket loyalty card in my own name!!!!!).

I have spoken to the Driving agency and I can drive on my UK licence as long as I carry my passport with me and my international driving permit. It's annoying as they just won't budge on the issue of the SSN. In other states I understand that they do issue SSNs to H4 visa holders marked 'Not for Work' - but it does depend on which state. Things have been tightened since 9/11 with the Patriot Act.

Anyway - hope this helps.

Cheers
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 3:57 pm
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Thanks Kite..

Lets hope the Florida is different..

I'm sure somebody will let me know if it ain't
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 4:20 pm
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Default Re: Driving Question

Originally posted by Kite Chick
Hi

I came across to the US at the end of October on a H4 with my hubby on a H1B. In illinois (we live in the north suburbs of Chicago) as a H4 visa holder I am not allowed to be issued with the all important Social Security Number (SSN). Without this I am unable to apply to take the driving test or even apply for a state id. (or other things such as open my own bank account or apply for a supermarket loyalty card in my own name!!!!!).

I have spoken to the Driving agency and I can drive on my UK licence as long as I carry my passport with me and my international driving permit. It's annoying as they just won't budge on the issue of the SSN. In other states I understand that they do issue SSNs to H4 visa holders marked 'Not for Work' - but it does depend on which state. Things have been tightened since 9/11 with the Patriot Act.

Anyway - hope this helps.

Cheers
Kite
The social security administration is a federal entity and as such you should get the same answer to your question at any field office, regardless of the state.

According to their website, you both should qualify for a social security card that is stamped "not valid for employment"
Taken from http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10002.html
Types Of Cards
We issue three types of Social Security cards:

The card most people have shows your name and Social Security number and lets you work without restriction. We issue it to:
U.S. citizens, or people lawfully admitted to the U.S. with permanent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) work authorization.

The second card bears the legend, " NOT VALID FOR EMPLOYMENT." We issue it to people:
from other countries lawfully admitted to the U.S. without work authorization from DHS; and who need a number because of a federal law requiring a Social Security number to get a benefit or service.

The third card bears the legend, " VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH INS AUTHORIZATION." We issue it to people:
lawfully admitted to the U.S. on a temporary basis; and
with DHS (formerly INS) authorization to work
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 4:23 pm
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thanks Pete..
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 4:42 pm
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Originally posted by scubadude
Thanks Kite..

Lets hope the Florida is different..

I'm sure somebody will let me know if it ain't
Florida is different, you can get a drivers licence with an H4 visa, but no SSN.
I was told by the SS office that as I wasn't allowed to work I could not get a SSN. I have managed without one, but I haven't applied for any credit in my own right, just used the DH's instead. Same goes for the bank account.
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 4:48 pm
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Default Re: Driving Question

Originally posted by ScousePete
The social security administration is a federal entity and as such you should get the same answer to your question at any field office, regardless of the state.

According to their website, you both should qualify for a social security card that is stamped "not valid for employment"
If only!!! You wouldn't believe the discussions I have had with the SS dept. In IL they say they are not issusing SSNs to H4 visa holders - end of story!

Never mind - just happy to be here
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 5:03 pm
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Scubadude; which State are you intending to move to? Each State has it's own laws (actually it's almost like they are individual countries) so what may apply in one State may not necessarily apply in another (even neighbouring) State.

At one time SSN's were issued marked "not valid for employment" but this is no longer the case (probably too much fraud was going on); for tax purposes dependents can apply for ITINs (Individual Tax Idendification Numbers) instead.

When I moved to the US on an L2 I went to take my driving test (pre 9/11) and had no SSN. The driving test centre sent me to the nearest Social Security office to get a (badly copied) letter on their headed notepaper to say that I was ineligible for a SSN. The driving test center then proceeded with my test when I handed this letter to them! However, none of this information was/is in their DMV Handbook (NJ's version of the "Highway Code" or on their website.

Since 9/11 their website has loads of info about the documents needed to get a driving licence if you have moved from overseas (Six documents, 2 from a primary list and 4 from a secondary list). Still no mention of those ineligible for a Driving Licence however!

Scubadude; just look up the State you are going to and the DMV (Dept of Motor Vehicles) eg. Texas + DMV for the official State website. If your question isn't answered there, you should find an e-mail or telephone enquiry number listed and they should be able to assist.

Good Luck and do post when you get some feedback!

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Old Jan 27th 2004, 6:19 pm
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OK, since my wife (H4 visa) and I (H1B) went through this just last week, I can give you some answers - most of which are not specific to Texas, but some of which may be.

The question of whether you're entitled to a Social Security Number is clear, since the SSN system is Federal, not State, run. H4 visa holders, and anyone else on a visa which does not allow them to work, are not allowed to have a SSN anymore. Not even one marked "Not for work". This is a definite, and there's no way around it.

However, if you talk to the Social Security people (I found their phone help to be very good) they will tell you that other government and private entities are never allowed to demand a SSN as the only acceptable form of ID.

In my experience that's all well and good, but often difficult to persuade people of!

Anyway, at least on the Texas department of transport website it is spelled out clearly that if you are not entitled to a SSN because you are not entitled to work, you need to bring a letter from the Social Security Office saying this, or swear an oath that you are not entitled to a SSN. In my wife's case, she did the latter with no trouble.

Another issue here is that, at least in CA and TX (and I think in all states) it is not true that someone can drive indefinitely on a UK driver's license and International Permit. In TX and CA you must take your theory and practical test for a state licence within 12 months of arriving in the state.

More importantly for your finances, you will be HAMMERED on the cost of auto insurance until you have a state driver's licence!

Finally, do bear in mind the advice I received from the SSN people, reminding me that people must ALWAYS be offered an alternative to providing an SSN as ID. I politely used this line with my health insurance, auto insurance and many other organisations, and when reminded that you are not REQUIRED to furnish an SSN for their various applications, I always found that they spoke with a supervisor and found another acceptable form of ID that my wife or I could provide.

Be aware, too, that it can take up to 12 weeks to get an SSN, even if you're entitled to one (on your H1B, for example) and until then it can be VERY hard to set up things like health insurance, car loans etc. Again, the advice in the last paragraph applies - firmly remind people that they CAN'T demand an SSN of you if you don't have one yet!

The previous post about getting an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service is also something you should be aware of. It currently takes 6-8 weeks to get this, and you need one for EACH member of your family (even children) who is not entitled to a SSN in order to file your tax return. I found this out just before Xmas, and given that the tax filing deadline is April, and I still don't have my wife and children's numbers it's worth applying as soon as you arrive!
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 7:33 pm
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Originally posted by dbj1000

The previous post about getting an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) from the Internal Revenue Service is also something you should be aware of. It currently takes 6-8 weeks to get this, and you need one for EACH member of your family (even children) who is not entitled to a SSN in order to file your tax return. I found this out just before Xmas, and given that the tax filing deadline is April, and I still don't have my wife and children's numbers it's worth applying as soon as you arrive!
That's really something scubadude won't have to worry about until next year. Even if he does arrive here before April, he won't have to do a return until April 05. This happened with us. We arrived here January 20th 02 but didn't have to file our first returns until April 03. If you've not been long here yourself, maybe you don't have to either?
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 8:30 pm
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Oh, we've been here since May 2003...

...we were just really slow about getting our driver's licenses and ITINs.

Oh well, looks like I'll have quite a wait for my rebate cheque!
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 9:42 pm
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Originally posted by dbj1000
Oh, we've been here since May 2003...

...we were just really slow about getting our driver's licenses and ITINs.

Oh well, looks like I'll have quite a wait for my rebate cheque!
Oh well, it was just a thought Don't worry about the ITINs too much, I didn't apply for mine until mid feb last year. When it got to 2 weeks before the deadline, I went to the IRS office with a copy of the application, and they were able to look up the numbers for me there and then. Funnily enough they arrived in the mail the next day.
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Old Jan 28th 2004, 8:56 am
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The reason you need a SSN is:

so when Mr Joe Friday busts you for a speeding ticket -- the information can be entered in and connected to yoru SSN.

Otherwise you could get DUI's, Tickets -- and then just go back and get another DL. Since you have no SSN, there's no way to know this Jose Mendez is different than that Jose Mendez.

You could even go to Arizona and get another DL and voila, clean record.

SSN requirements are not just "to give applicants a hard time". There's a valid integrity reasoning for it. So when DMV's say they require a SSN, it's cuz they're not scanning your retina yet.

Until they start scanning retinas and taking DNA samples, you'll need a SSN.

Oh, and DL's are the #1 way for officers to find people with warrants and felonies. Another reason they need DL's to be secure and only applicable to one person.

That's your lesson of the day class. Recess time.

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