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Hi - I'm new to this forum

Hi - I'm new to this forum

Old Aug 27th 2014, 10:25 pm
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Default Hi - I'm new to this forum

Hi all

I'm Amanda - currently living in Hertfordshire but will be moving to outside LA later this year, to an area called Santa Clarita.

There is a lot of advice I am looking for but right now the questions I'm hoping you can help me with are:
  1. In hindsight, what would you have done differently to improve your move?
  2. How hard was it to open a bank account - did you take some proof of credit rating with you to the States?
  3. As an ex-pat (not an American citizen) do we need to get social security numbers? If so, how is this done please?
  4. How do you buy a car if you don't have a credit rating - will we have to buy cash?
  5. How long can you drive for on your British drivers licence before you need to take your test again?
I have so many questions but will also try to look through some of the forum posts to see if these questions have already been answered (I'm sure they must have been). Any assistance would be great though.

Thank you!
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Old Aug 27th 2014, 10:35 pm
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

Originally Posted by CaliforniaDreaming2014 View Post
Hi all

I'm Amanda - currently living in Hertfordshire but will be moving to outside LA later this year, to an area called Santa Clarita.

There is a lot of advice I am looking for but right now the questions I'm hoping you can help me with are:
  1. In hindsight, what would you have done differently to improve your move?
  2. How hard was it to open a bank account - did you take some proof of credit rating with you to the States?
  3. As an ex-pat (not an American citizen) do we need to get social security numbers? If so, how is this done please?
  4. How do you buy a car if you don't have a credit rating - will we have to buy cash?
  5. How long can you drive for on your British drivers licence before you need to take your test again?
I have so many questions but will also try to look through some of the forum posts to see if these questions have already been answered (I'm sure they must have been). Any assistance would be great though.

Thank you!
Hi

On what basis are you moving? This will affect how you get a SS number.

Personally, I had difficulty opening a bank account without a SS no. But apparently it can be done.

You may be able to use International Autosource to buy or lease a car before you come .

Officially, you should get a California licence 10 days after becoming resident.

Check out the US section of the site.
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Old Aug 27th 2014, 11:10 pm
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

Thank you for your prompt response Sally.

We are in the process of applying for an E2 visa - it has been submitted so the waiting has begun.

Thank you for the pointer to the US section. I've now found it and am starting to read through some of the information.

Re the banks, are there any banks in the UK that you are aware of that are linked to banks in CA? My train of thought is that if I could open an account here so that by the time we get to CA we will have some sort of account history which could assist in buying cars etc.

Same question with car insurance. I've been told that we will get charged as 'new drivers' which I'd like to avoid if possible.

Again thank you for your response.
Amanda
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Old Aug 27th 2014, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

Originally Posted by CaliforniaDreaming2014 View Post
Thank you for your prompt response Sally.

We are in the process of applying for an E2 visa - it has been submitted so the waiting has begun.

Thank you for the pointer to the US section. I've now found it and am starting to read through some of the information.

Re the banks, are there any banks in the UK that you are aware of that are linked to banks in CA? My train of thought is that if I could open an account here so that by the time we get to CA we will have some sort of account history which could assist in buying cars etc.

Same question with car insurance. I've been told that we will get charged as 'new drivers' which I'd like to avoid if possible.

Again thank you for your response.
Amanda
You are most welcome.

There is also some information in the wiki which is in the bar at the top of the page.

It might be worth reposting your questions in the US section. I am not sure about the bank, I have seen HSBC mentioned but others in the US forum will know. Likewise with the car insurance. AIG used to have a policy for overseas people, although you had to pay a fee upfront. Not sure if that's still available.
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Old Aug 27th 2014, 11:42 pm
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

2. Should be easy once you have SSNs, and quite possible without. There are few, very few banks that provide retail services in the US and the UK. HSBC is one of them but they have only a handful of branches in CA, and a terrible reputation.

5. 10 days, technically, or as soon thereafter as humanly possible.

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 28th 2014 at 12:44 am.
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Old Aug 27th 2014, 11:46 pm
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

If the bank account is a non interest bearing account, there is no need for a social security number. Some banks may not know the rules but since there won't be any interest paid, nothing has to be reported to the government concerning income.

If you are both eligible to work, then you should both get social security numbers since they will be needed for your tax return even if one isn't working to be able to file married filing jointly and exemptions. You can only use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if you are not allowed a social security number such as for your children to claim them as dependents on your tax return.
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Old Aug 27th 2014, 11:53 pm
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post

5. 30 days.
In CA, technically it's 10 days...but realistically, it's as soon as you can reasonably book a test time as there is often a wait.

Anyway, most of the Q's can be found within a page or so, so worth having a gander as well as the wiki to fill in the basics.
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Old Aug 28th 2014, 12:06 am
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

Originally Posted by CaliforniaDreaming2014 View Post
Re the banks, are there any banks in the UK that you are aware of that are linked to banks in CA?
CitiBank has lots of branches in LA. I don't know whether they have any branches in Herts. - but they definitely do in London!

http://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/b...ches/index.htm

http://www.citibank.co.uk/personal/b...ngoverseas.htm

Here are some links to info re: their Santa Clarita branches:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Sant...x-a&channel=sb

Last edited by MMcD; Aug 28th 2014 at 12:36 am. Reason: added add'l. links
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Old Aug 28th 2014, 12:40 am
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

Why Santa Clarita specifically?
I'm near there.

I hope you enjoy air pollution, some of the worst in the country.

Also the LA commute can be soul destroying.
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Old Aug 28th 2014, 12:45 am
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

Originally Posted by CaliforniaDreaming2014 View Post
Same question with car insurance. I've been told that we will get charged as 'new drivers' which I'd like to avoid if possible.
Assume it won't be possible, then you won't be disappointed! We're with State Farm, who were quite flexible about my UK license (insured me on a 'could you get your US license in the next few weeks and let us know the number as soon as you do' basis), but even so there was nothing they could do about 'importing' driving history. Even if you can get an insurance company to somehow take into account your UK no-claims bonus, your premium is still going to be hugely swung by your newbie status until you've had a US license for 3 years. There doesn't seem to be any way of flagging decades of non-US driving history on their systems and having it taken into account in calculating the premium.

Our 3 years as beginners is up at the end of this year, so I'm hoping the premiums will drop. We're currently paying a total of about $3,600 pa for two cars, but our agent says that should drop around 20% or so when we pass the magic 3 yr mark - we shall see..
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Old Aug 28th 2014, 12:48 am
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

I have no SS number yet (it should be coming late this week or early next), but I have an a checking & a savings account that I opened a week or so ago with Wells Fargo. No problem at all that I didn't have the number yet, just had to show my passport & visa.

I am doing the car lease thing through Intl Autosource. So far everything has been smooth sailing with them, although the process isn't complete yet so..... But fingers crossed it all continues to go smoothly!

Good luck with everything!
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Old Aug 28th 2014, 12:51 am
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

Originally Posted by CaliforniaDreaming2014 View Post
Hi all

[*]How hard was it to open a bank account - did you take some proof of credit rating with you to the States?
[*]How do you buy a car if you don't have a credit rating - will we have to buy cash?
Opening a bank account is a complete doddle - all you need is some ID, and an address they can use (temp or work one is acceptable). You can walk into any branch of any bank and get it done within an hour or so.

The hard part is getting credit, which is an entirely different matter. In general, your UK credit history is entirely worthless here, but HSBC can use your UK history 'internally' to give you a US credit card, which helps start to build your credit history here. We used HSBC for the transition and to get the credit card, then immediately opened an account with Chase at a local branch, for convenience. There are no HSBC branches within thousands of miles of where I live, but I'd been with First Direct in the UK anyway, so was used to doing everything remotely. A local branch is helpful, though, once you've arrived and got settled in, as they're still very fixated here on paper things like bankers' drafts (cashiers' checks), or going in to arrange standing orders, etc.

Buying a car with finance is possible - you'll just pay a much higher rate of interest than someone with a good, established credit history.
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Old Aug 28th 2014, 3:16 am
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

Originally Posted by kodokan View Post
Assume it won't be possible, then you won't be disappointed! We're with State Farm, who were quite flexible about my UK license (insured me on a 'could you get your US license in the next few weeks and let us know the number as soon as you do' basis), but even so there was nothing they could do about 'importing' driving history. Even if you can get an insurance company to somehow take into account your UK no-claims bonus, your premium is still going to be hugely swung by your newbie status until you've had a US license for 3 years. There doesn't seem to be any way of flagging decades of non-US driving history on their systems and having it taken into account in calculating the premium.

Our 3 years as beginners is up at the end of this year, so I'm hoping the premiums will drop. We're currently paying a total of about $3,600 pa for two cars, but our agent says that should drop around 20% or so when we pass the magic 3 yr mark - we shall see..
I think you should shop around for insurance. I've had problems with State Farm pricing before wanting to charge substantially more than what others charged.
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Old Aug 28th 2014, 3:18 am
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

And my Santa Clarita question?
I have some input depending on your feedback...
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Old Aug 28th 2014, 3:42 am
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Default Re: Hi - I'm new to this forum

I know others have answered but to reiterate/expand:

Originally Posted by CaliforniaDreaming2014 View Post
In hindsight, what would you have done differently to improve your move?
Some lesser-known things here

  1. Originally Posted by CaliforniaDreaming2014 View Post
    How hard was it to open a bank account - did you take some proof of credit rating with you to the States?
Bank account - easy. No SSN required initially but passport with visa was instrumental. Didn't need proof of address either. That was Wells Fargo.


As for credit rating, yes the UK one means nothing, but take a full printout of your Experian report and/or others. If you don't have it then there is zero chance of your UK credit being taken into account. If you do have it then there is a greater than zero chance of somebody respecting it. Worked for us more than once, put it that way.





  1. Originally Posted by CaliforniaDreaming2014 View Post
    How long can you drive for on your British drivers licence before you need to take your test again?
Just do it as soon as you can. It's easy and believe me, it will make your life so much easier to have ID that everybody recognises, whether it's for credit card verification purposes or to buy a bottle of beer.
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