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Moving to Alabama

Moving to Alabama

Old Jan 17th 2015, 10:34 am
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Default Moving to Alabama

Hi all,

In the process of getting a K1 visa (still early as we've only received NOA1 up to this point having submitted in early December) which will take me to Alabama to marry my wonderful wife to be who is from there. Then we will look into change of status etc. in order for me to reside there permanently. I think I have the major parts of the actual visa process worked out, but wondered if any ex-pats in the States or, indeed, Alabama itself could help me out with some of the other details - applying for a bank account, SS number, what the situation is as regards to driving (i.e. How long can I use my British licence alongside an IDP) etc.

Any help and advice would be much appreciated!
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 10:57 am
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Hi and welcome to BE!

To answer your questions:

1) You can apply for a bank account without an SSN once you have entered the US, as long as it is non-interest bearing. Some banks may not be familiar with this (mine wasn't) and may require one anyway - or at least have to speak to someone at head office to confirm.

2) 2 weeks after your arrival you should go to the Social Security office and see if your details have been entered onto the SAVE system. If so, a number may have already been issued for you or, if not, you can apply for one.

3) As soon as you get to the US you will become an Alabama resident, depending on the state laws, you will only have a short time to pass your test and get your AL license - it looks like it's 30 days. An IDP is a totally worthless piece of paper in the US.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 10:58 am
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Originally Posted by Simon89 View Post
Hi all,

In the process of getting a K1 visa (still early as we've only received NOA1 up to this point having submitted in early December) which will take me to Alabama to marry my wonderful wife to be who is from there. Then we will look into change of status etc. in order for me to reside there permanently. I think I have the major parts of the actual visa process worked out, but wondered if any ex-pats in the States or, indeed, Alabama itself could help me out with some of the other details - applying for a bank account, SS number, what the situation is as regards to driving (i.e. How long can I use my British licence alongside an IDP) etc.

Any help and advice would be much appreciated!
Hi and welcome to BE.

Looking at the DMV website it looks like you can drive for 30 days using your UK DL. An IDP counts for nothing this side of the pond.

Alabama New License Application Info at DMV.org: The DMV Made Simple

You will apply for a SS number and open a bank account upon arrival in the US.

Take a look at the BE Wiki...there's loads of useful info in there.

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Category:USA

If you have any questions about your visa you should post them in this forum...Marriage Based Visas - British Expats. Lots of helpful people who have travelled down the same road hang out in there.

Last edited by Jerseygirl; Jan 17th 2015 at 11:01 am. Reason: Typo
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 11:12 am
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Ah interesting, I had read differing reports about the IDP and varying degrees of advice regarding the driving. I have been on the DMV site before... slightly embarrassed I missed that key sentence haha. I suspect the exception of those having a valid out-of-state licence not needing to take a test won't apply to people from out of country?!
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 11:22 am
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Correct - your UK DL doesn't mean squat in the US.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 11:29 am
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
Correct - your UK DL doesn't mean squat in the US.
Not necessarily. As I held a UK DL I only had to take a multiple choice written test to get a NJ DL. The DMV wanted me to hand over my UK DL but I refused.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 11:32 am
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Not necessarily. As I held a UK DL I only had to take a multiple choice written test to get a NJ DL. The DMV wanted me to hand over my UK DL but I refused.
I guess this is state dependent then, I was treated as a new driver and had to take the full GA 'test' such as it was.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 11:57 am
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Yes, me too, even though the officer actually forgot to take me out for the practical test until I reminded her! Then, after she got over her embarrassment, it was a quick spin around the parking lot and a ridiculously wide parallel park and done. My license had already been issued and printed at that point, so it would have been hard for her to not give it to me.

Not knowing what I know now, regrettably, they did actually take my UK license.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 12:04 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Aha, so it would be worth being reticent to hand over the UK licence. That makes sense as surely it's worthless to them so what's the point of them taking it.

Thanks for the answers. I had not heard of the SAVE system, so there's something else for me to do some research into!
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 12:07 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Originally Posted by Simon89 View Post
Aha, so it would be worth being reticent to hand over the UK licence. That makes sense as surely it's worthless to them so what's the point of them taking it.

Thanks for the answers. I had not heard of the SAVE program, so there's something else for me to do some research into!
Even if you have to take a practical test...it's nothing like the UK test.

My daughter had to drive forward for abut 100 yds in an empty car park. Then parallel park between two cones you could have parked two buses in.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 12:23 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Not necessarily. As I held a UK DL I only had to take a multiple choice written test to get a NJ DL. The DMV wanted me to hand over my UK DL but I refused.
As far as I can tell, New Jersey is now unique among the 50 states (plus DC), though I heard of one other state that used to swap a British license for a local one.
Originally Posted by Simon89 View Post
Aha, so it would be worth being reticent to hand over the UK licence. That makes sense as surely it's worthless to them so what's the point of them taking it. .....
I left my British licence with my wife when I took my road test, and the examiner didn't ask for it. FWIW that was in New York.

Last edited by Pulaski; Jan 17th 2015 at 12:26 pm.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 1:31 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

though I heard of one other state that used to swap a British license for a local one.
That's how I got my first US license in TX but it was more than 30 years ago.
They just looked at my UK license and gave me a TX one by reciprocity, no test written or practical. I also kept the UK license.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 1:51 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Originally Posted by mwdake View Post
That's how I got my first US license in TX but it was more than 30 years ago.
They just looked at my UK license and gave me a TX one by reciprocity, no test written or practical. I also kept the UK license.
Ditto for me in NYS, even longer ago. Though I seem to recall that there was a very brief written test and they did take my UK license.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 2:02 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

Originally Posted by mwdake View Post
That's how I got my first US license in TX but it was more than 30 years ago.
They just looked at my UK license and gave me a TX one by reciprocity, no test written or practical. I also kept the UK license.
Originally Posted by Nutmegger View Post
Ditto for me in NYS, even longer ago. Though I seem to recall that there was a very brief written test and they did take my UK license.
Three and counting. The one I heard of previously was CT, where someone succeeded in swaping a provisional British licence for a full CT one.
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Old Jan 17th 2015, 3:58 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Alabama

where someone succeeded in swaping a provisional British licence for a full CT one.
I actually thought about that for the mrs. as she only had a provisional license at the, she ended up taking the ridiculously easy test in a different state.

When I got my TX license I got the impression they weren't sure of the rules. The local drivers license office seemed confused and surprised when I applied for the license and showed them my UK one. I got the impression that they just thought 'he has a license from somewhere else, so give him a TX one'.
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