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First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

Old May 3rd 2013, 5:34 pm
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Default First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

I'll be moving out to California end of next week on an L-1B visa and am trying to figure out some practical questions around finances for the first few weeks.

It seems its best to wait 10 days before applying for the SSN, which will likely mean no possibility to open a bank account. I get paid bi-weekly, but without an account to deposit it in will end up with one or more paychecks I can't do anything with.

How did other people deal with this? I can last a few weeks on funds I brought in from the UK, but if I want to rent and need to pay a large sum like a deposit that seems difficult without a check or local credit card.

I do have an ITIN I applied for several years ago. It seems that is usually accepted, though will need to rescind that when I receive my SSN. Would it be possible to open an account using the ITIN as documentation and then swap it out for the SSN when I receive it?

Thanks!
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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:41 pm
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Default Re: First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

We opened our bank account before we had our SSN. They just asked us to call back in to update our file when we had them.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:42 pm
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Default Re: First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

Originally Posted by siliconpete View Post
It seems its best to wait 10 days before applying for the SSN, which will likely mean no possibility to open a bank account.
This is not true. If you open a non-interest-bearing account, you do not need to give the bank a SSN. They just need some sort of unique identifying number, which can be your foreign passport number.

I do have an ITIN I applied for several years ago. It seems that is usually accepted, though will need to rescind that when I receive my SSN. Would it be possible to open an account using the ITIN as documentation and then swap it out for the SSN when I receive it?
Probably, yes.

Rene
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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:45 pm
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Default Re: First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

When you arrive, find out what bank your company uses, and open a bank account with the same bank/branch if possible, The bank's are usually more than willing to help once you explain the situation, and since the company is already an account holder it can make things easier. You just need to update the bank with the SSN when you get it so you can earn interest. There is no requirement to have a SSN to open an account, even though the bank staff may say there is at first.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

Thanks everyone, that is great information - opening the bank account has been one of my major worries.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 10:42 pm
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Default Re: First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

Originally Posted by siliconpete View Post
It seems its best to wait 10 days before applying for the SSN, which will likely mean no possibility to open a bank account. I get paid bi-weekly, but without an account to deposit it in will end up with one or more paychecks I can't do anything with.
Open a bank account. It's not a problem. You just can't open a interest bearing without a SSN, but really, it's no big deal as the rates are crap anyway.

The issue tends to be the teller at the desk not knowing the rules, but a supervisor should be able to do it. The other issue might be the default backend that they use not being about to input info other than a SSN, so it needs to get put in manually, hence speak to a supervisor. If it's any more trouble than that, go next door to the next bank.

The issue with payroll will be them withholding max tax until you provide them with a SSN.
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Old May 3rd 2013, 11:49 pm
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Default Re: First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

And. Don't close all your UK accounts. Worst comes to worst you can send your paychecks back to Nat West or whatever, and draw cash from ATMs here. Or cash paychecks at a check cashing place (names escape me now but they are everywhere)

Not efficient, but you should have no problem opening a local account.

My Dad opened an account while here on vacation a couple of years back, just used my address and his passport.
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Old May 6th 2013, 2:49 pm
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Default Re: First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

Well, if he tries to cash his US paycheques via a UK bank, that'll take 4-6 weeks usually. By that time he should have his SSN...

Also, I have this vage recollection that the employer might have an issue paying someone without an SSN but that might only apply to LPRs. I certainly was told by my employer that I could work but they wouldn't be able to pay me until I had the SSN.

Re the SSN - once the ten days are over, go to the local SSO, apply for an SSN in person and go back the next working day. After the overnight batch run they can give you a letter confirm your SSN - you don't have to wait until the card shows up.
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Old May 7th 2013, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: First few weeks in the US... finances while SSN pending

Another 'no problem' - I had a checking and savings account for several months before I got a SSN, and just let the bank know later. I seem to recall there was some tax form to complete, to say whether the bank should or shouldn't withhold interest and why, but something along the lines of 'recently arrived on an L2 visa and not yet able to apply for a SSN' seemed to cut it; the bank withheld federal interest at source and it all worked out fine.
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