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Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Old Aug 9th 2016, 9:11 am
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Default Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Been reading the forum for a wee while now and have learned a lot so hopefully I won't irritate the regulars by asking the same questions that always come up.

Background:
My wife and I are moving to Tamp on September 27th...or should I now be saying 27th September?...anyway...Spouse visa all approved and good to go. She is the USC but only by virtue on being born in America when her family were seconded to Kentucky when working for IBM and she moved back to Scotland when she was 2 months old - so neither of us have any friends or family Stateside and will be starting from scratch.

We've got a decent amount of savings so we shouldn't be under any financial pressures in the short term. We're currently both applying for jobs/recruitment agencies just now so hopefully have an interview or two lined up for when we arrive (I'm a Project Manager and she works in HR). We have arranged a 2 week holiday let in the center of Tampa and a two week car rental for our arrival. In that 2 weeks we hope to view and secure an apartment for 12 months or so and get bank accounts and my SSN sorted and the DL obtained. Here's my first concern:

From reading the forum it appears credit history, or our lack of, will be an issue with securing an apartment. We can pay the years rent upfront but that won't help us build our credit history. Does anyone know if we could come to some arrangement with the letting agent whereby we put the full years rent in an account and they report our payments to the credit agencies? Or is this impossible.

The same goes for a car. We can probably just buy one but it won't help with our credit rating. Would we be more likely to secure a credit agreement if we paid a significant deposit or will the simply not touch us without a history?

I've read on here about the secured credit card so we'll try for that too, but I'm not sure i quite understand this 180 day rule - can we not get a SCC until 180 days have passed or should we be able to get one if we make a large deposit with the bank?

I also read about getting an AMEX and they can transfer you over to a US card which would be ideal, however you have to be a customer for 12 months to qualify for this...although i have seen a few people get this in less time. I actually had a corporate AMEX for years but let it lapse after no activity when I left that company so i called them and couldn't re-establish my old account but have been approved for a new one. I'll just use that sensibly before we move and try my luck. Does anyone think they'll be able to view my previous corporate account and take that into consideration with my new account and maybe approve a US card sooner?

Also read the advice on store cards often being easier so thanks to all the contributors on here as I'm far more informed by your posts.

Other than that I'm not too concerned about the actual move...it's the settling of affairs here that are stressing us out. We're renting our home so need to get that up to code, shipping what we're taking, getting rid of the rest...the usual.

Any thoughts on the above would be welcome and anything you think I may have missed would be much appreciated.
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 10:02 am
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Also, I currently work as a contractors/consultant. Basically, I have a LTD. company and work short term contracts for companies but I'm essentially self employed, rather than being a permanent employee of a company.

Do they have contractor/consultant roles in the US?

I've searched but can only find results for construction and tradesmen that are known as contractors in the US. I can't find anything on IT contractors/consultants.
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 1:25 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Originally Posted by mandela View Post
Also, I currently work as a contractors/consultant. Basically, I have a LTD. company and work short term contracts for companies but I'm essentially self employed, rather than being a permanent employee of a company.

Do they have contractor/consultant roles in the US?

I've searched but can only find results for construction and tradesmen that are known as contractors in the US. I can't find anything on IT contractors/consultants.
There is a contractor market in the US, it is just different.

I am an IT recruiter, based in Florida. UK Ltd Company is roughly equivalent to 1099 status over here. A lot of Recruitment companies avoid this type of contractor, mainly down to co-employment legislation. My company have over 5000 contractors across all sectors, less than 10% are 1099.

Co employment at the most basic level is like IR35, however instead of the contractor getting sued, the company gets sued. If you are doing the same job as an employee, but not getting benefits, vacation, the chance of promotion etc, the employer can get sued.

Most contractors are W2, which means basically employed by the agency and put onsite. The agency then provides benefits, healthcare and insurances etc.

One thing to point out though is, contracting is way less appealing in the US than in England. Rates are not that much higher than a permie (although still slightly higher) and you have to have healthcare, so unless it is provided by a spouse or employer, that is a significant cost.

The term 'contractor' does really refer to a plasterer or laborer, so if you are searching for 'contract jobs' that is why it will be showing those types of roles
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 2:17 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Originally Posted by Canveydave View Post
There is a contractor market in the US, it is just different.

I am an IT recruiter, based in Florida. UK Ltd Company is roughly equivalent to 1099 status over here. A lot of Recruitment companies avoid this type of contractor, mainly down to co-employment legislation. My company have over 5000 contractors across all sectors, less than 10% are 1099.

Co employment at the most basic level is like IR35, however instead of the contractor getting sued, the company gets sued. If you are doing the same job as an employee, but not getting benefits, vacation, the chance of promotion etc, the employer can get sued.

Most contractors are W2, which means basically employed by the agency and put onsite. The agency then provides benefits, healthcare and insurances etc.

One thing to point out though is, contracting is way less appealing in the US than in England. Rates are not that much higher than a permie (although still slightly higher) and you have to have healthcare, so unless it is provided by a spouse or employer, that is a significant cost.

The term 'contractor' does really refer to a plasterer or laborer, so if you are searching for 'contract jobs' that is why it will be showing those types of roles
That's really helpful, man.

I was doubtful on the contracting market in the states as companies aren't really liable for as many benefits over there (such as vacation, NI, pension, etc) so there's no real incentive for companies to go down this route...and given the legal implications you've highlighted then even less so.

I guess i'll just go permie. On the plus side it'll help with me securing credit/a mortgage at some point which is going to be difficult enough.

If you're in recruitment maybe you can help me with something else I've been struggling with. In Scotland, and probably the same in England, most jobs are advertised via recruitment agencies. So an advert is placed on S1jobs, Monster, Indeed, Total Jobs, etc. If I apply for the job my application goes to the recruitment Agency not the company (generally speaking - i know there's some jobs you apply directly to the company for). The Agency then has your CV/Resume on file and they then contact you for other jobs that match your profile. Is it a similar model in the US?

I've assumed that it is so I've been applying for jobs that I don't particularly want just to get my resume out there for agencies to pick up. Will this approach work or do i have to actively contact recruitment agencies?
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 2:25 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Originally Posted by mandela View Post
That's really helpful, man.

I was doubtful on the contracting market in the states as companies aren't really liable for as many benefits over there (such as vacation, NI, pension, etc) so there's no real incentive for companies to go down this route...and given the legal implications you've highlighted then even less so.

I guess i'll just go permie. On the plus side it'll help with me securing credit/a mortgage at some point which is going to be difficult enough.

If you're in recruitment maybe you can help me with something else I've been struggling with. In Scotland, and probably the same in England, most jobs are advertised via recruitment agencies. So an advert is placed on S1jobs, Monster, Indeed, Total Jobs, etc. If I apply for the job my application goes to the recruitment Agency not the company (generally speaking - i know there's some jobs you apply directly to the company for). The Agency then has your CV/Resume on file and they then contact you for other jobs that match your profile. Is it a similar model in the US?

I've assumed that it is so I've been applying for jobs that I don't particularly want just to get my resume out there for agencies to pick up. Will this approach work or do i have to actively contact recruitment agencies?
The actual approach is pretty similar. Massive generalization here, but American recruiters are not that proactive, hence why I am over here, so don't be afraid to chase them.

What I would say is that they have no clue whatsoever about visa law, so pretty much every application from outside the US is binned. I get probably 50 emails a day from companies who have 'consultants' on H-1B's. I havent read one, ever.

What visa are you on and when do you get to Tampa? Also what do you do in IT? Happy to pass your details on to some of my more 'educated' colleagues!
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 2:46 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Originally Posted by Canveydave View Post
The actual approach is pretty similar. Massive generalization here, but American recruiters are not that proactive, hence why I am over here, so don't be afraid to chase them.

What I would say is that they have no clue whatsoever about visa law, so pretty much every application from outside the US is binned. I get probably 50 emails a day from companies who have 'consultants' on H-1B's. I havent read one, ever.

What visa are you on and when do you get to Tampa? Also what do you do in IT? Happy to pass your details on to some of my more 'educated' colleagues!
It's an IR1 Spouse so it's permanent and I'm eligible to work as soon as I step foot in the country. All I need is my SSN which I'll get asap, but my understanding is that my VISA is enough for an employer and they can use a temporary code to pay me then sort the tax when my SSN comes through ( I read that on here somewhere).

I land in Tampa on Sept 27th and I'm a Project Manager. If you can pass my details on that'd be amazing. I can provide you with whatever you need.

Thanks so much, man.
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Congratulations on getting your spousal visa and the impending move. The US places the month before the date, i.e. September 27, rather than the European way of day before the month. Letting agents are called realtors and you will find, particularly in Florida, that you don't require one for renting (not letting) an apartment. Most complexes have their own rental agents on site. Check on realtor.com or Zillow.com or apartments.com. In the description of the complex and the apartments available on each site will be what you can and cannot do in your apartment, i.e. washing machines, pets, parking spaces (covered or uncovered), number of cars allowed, etc. You can check out the area of the city the complex is in on city-data.com.

I have and have had several friends who have lived in Tampa and they like it. You might or might not as I don't know if you have visited before or just choose the location off the top of your heads. There are many lovely smaller towns around Tampa, both north and south of it, that you might want to look at. Then again, rental leases are usually only for one year so you can start off in one place and while living there look over the surrounding area and find someplace else that you might prefer.

You were already told about the term "contractor", so that has been cleared up.

Are you bringing furniture with you? If not, might I suggest that you do some of your shopping at consignment shops. Florida is home to a majority of senior citizens who die out quickly. Their heirs place their furniture in consignment shops and they are offered at a fraction of the cost of new furniture. My daughter when she was furnishing her apartment in Naples, Florida went to two consignment shops for her wooden furniture and I was with her. The shop was like a large furniture store and the pieces offered ranged from a single piece for a living room to an entire suite of furniture. The pieces she purchased were pristine and are still being used today in her home in Mississippi having traveled from Florida to Vegas to Mississippi when she married.

One concern I have is that you will not have a permanent address to give at the POE for the mailing of your green card. This might be problematic as your wife does not have family here and neither of you have jobs or friends in the US whose address you might be able to use. The green card can take a few weeks to several months to arrive.

As for a credit history, far out of my expertise. Good luck with your move and welcome to the US. I do hope that it lives up to your dreams and hopes.

Last edited by Rete; Aug 9th 2016 at 3:03 pm.
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 3:22 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Originally Posted by mandela View Post
It's an IR1 Spouse so it's permanent and I'm eligible to work as soon as I step foot in the country. All I need is my SSN which I'll get asap, but my understanding is that my VISA is enough for an employer and they can use a temporary code to pay me then sort the tax when my SSN comes through ( I read that on here somewhere).

I land in Tampa on Sept 27th and I'm a Project Manager. If you can pass my details on that'd be amazing. I can provide you with whatever you need.

Thanks so much, man.
Yeah, you don't actually need your SSN to start work - and I, on a CR-1, started work for a major international corporation, before I had my SSN.

Per Rete's comment about having an address for your green card to be delivered to, you might want to look into renting a mailbox at the UPS Store - which I think you can do online, and they have multiple locations in major cities.
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 3:40 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Just be sure that the address when you use it is not a box number and that you don't have to use the business name. I know that USCIS will not deliver to a PO Box. It should read something like:

John Adams
123 Ulster Street
Tampa, Florida 00000

Up north the UPS store goes under the name: Mailboxes, Etc.

Just googled it and in Tampa it is called the UPS Store as per Pulaski's post.

https://tampa-fl-4317.theupsstoreloc...campaign=Local

Last edited by Rete; Aug 9th 2016 at 3:42 pm.
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
Just be sure that the address when you use it is not a box number and that you don't have to use the business name. I know that USCIS will not deliver to a PO Box. It should read something like:

John Adams
123 Ulster Street
Tampa, Florida 00000 .....
Agreed, good advice - just use the "street address" of the UPS Store, and then "Apt #" or "Unit #" rather than "Box #", and it is highly unlikely that anyone will notice that the address is a drop box.

BTW Rete, I think you'll find that all Mail Boxes, Etc locations in the US were rebranded as "The UPS Store" a number of years ago. The rebranding started in 2003, and I think was completed before, possibly several years before, 2009. There still appear to be a few franchise locations in Manhattan with confusingly similar names to MBE.

Last edited by Pulaski; Aug 9th 2016 at 4:24 pm.
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Old Aug 9th 2016, 8:50 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Hi,
We (UKC, USC, and kiddo) just moved to Tampa last month. Within 5 weeks, we now have a great home, credit cards and 2 cars. We're loving Tampa ( although we have lived here before, so knew what to expect).

To find a home, we initially used a realtor, which was helpful, but actually rented a home ( which was on zillow), directly with a landlord. They were really nice, understood our situation, and needed no credit checks at all. In our experience, it's a very competitive market, (we are in South Tampa), but if you're well-presented, have some cash in the bank and are just honest about credit, they were all open to renting to us. Most wanted first and last month rent, but we ended up with a place that only wanted 1/2 month rent as deposit.

For cars, we asked a relative with good credit to co-sign. But, honestly I think we could have got the cars without them. We ended up with 2 vw's, no deposit and 0% finance for 5 years, which has been amazing...

For credit, we opened up Wells Fargo accounts, and we're instantly able to get secured credit cards. We also were able to get USA Amex gold cards, after having a UK gold card for about 6 months. We printed off our UK credit rating and brought it with us, which has been kinda useful. Also, through Amex you can monitor your credit score here, which we find helpful.

But so far, the whole move to Tampa has been effortless. People have been super helpful and we're loving it!
Best of luck with your move!
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Old Aug 10th 2016, 2:45 am
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

I moved to Bradenton, slightly south of Tampa about 10 weeks ago, also on an IR-1 visa. I initially rented a car for 2 weeks, using mostly air miles. SS card came after about a week, I'd had an Amex for about 2 years so did the global transfer thing. I also have a store card.

We now have a car through international autosource, they will take your UK credit history into account (although we actually got radically different rates in my wife's name than mine, so being a USC with some credit history does make a difference.) We got the car sorted after about six weeks so had to extend the hire car, but international auto source compensated us for most of the cost of the rental since there were some issues with paperwork on there end. They were happy enough with me working as an independent contractor, savings wise we need a 20% deposit and the costs for registration and taxes.

In the UK I was in a permanent role in IT and had spoken to a number of recruiters over here who said to call them when I got here. However pretty much at the last minute my employer asked me to stay on, due to them not having a US presence I'm doing this as an 'independent contractor', for six months at least. This has allowed us to get away with one car for now which helps. My rates would work out to the very low end of contractor rates on the UK market, and I do have to pay for my own healthcare (although the healthcare exchange helps with this a bit). I'd most likely make more finding a new role, but it would involve a second lot of car payments and commuting into Tampa.

The one thing I'd say about working as a '1099' employee and just getting here is I have no chance of a mortgage, I've been told they need to see at least a complete year's tax return being 'self employed'.

I'm only just looking at renting now, as our house in the UK was meant to complete a week or so after we got here but was delayed and has only just complete, fortunately we were able to stay with family. While I'm a little concerned about credit checks with regards to renting my wife says that she has rented an apartment twice in the past whilst unemployed and having significant savings in the bank meant that it wasn't an issue.

Haven't seen much of Tampa other than the airport and driving there to pick up the car, as well as a few trips to IKEA.
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Old Aug 10th 2016, 10:35 am
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Originally Posted by Rete View Post
Congratulations on getting your spousal visa and the impending move. The US places the month before the date, i.e. September 27, rather than the European way of day before the month. Letting agents are called realtors and you will find, particularly in Florida, that you don't require one for renting (not letting) an apartment. Most complexes have their own rental agents on site. Check on realtor.com or Zillow.com or apartments.com. In the description of the complex and the apartments available on each site will be what you can and cannot do in your apartment, i.e. washing machines, pets, parking spaces (covered or uncovered), number of cars allowed, etc. You can check out the area of the city the complex is in on city-data.com.
Thanks!!

Aye, we're finding all of this just now as we do our research. So hopefully save some money by not having a realtor and and the city-data link looks really useful

I have and have had several friends who have lived in Tampa and they like it. You might or might not as I don't know if you have visited before or just choose the location off the top of your heads. There are many lovely smaller towns around Tampa, both north and south of it, that you might want to look at. Then again, rental leases are usually only for one year so you can start off in one place and while living there look over the surrounding area and find someplace else that you might prefer.
Our plan is to rent for around a year or so in a fairly central location. This is mainly to ensure that we're not too restricted in where we can work. If we can position ourself fairly centrally we should be close enough to most of the main Business areas. that's our logic, at least. This will then give us some time to research areas for the longer term.



Are you bringing furniture with you? If not, might I suggest that you do some of your shopping at consignment shops. Florida is home to a majority of senior citizens who die out quickly. Their heirs place their furniture in consignment shops and they are offered at a fraction of the cost of new furniture. My daughter when she was furnishing her apartment in Naples, Florida went to two consignment shops for her wooden furniture and I was with her. The shop was like a large furniture store and the pieces offered ranged from a single piece for a living room to an entire suite of furniture. The pieces she purchased were pristine and are still being used today in her home in Mississippi having traveled from Florida to Vegas to Mississippi when she married.
This is actually really helpful as one of the things we've realized is that most places do not offer furnished apartments, which is what we were planning to do. So this is a great alternative. we were worried about spending a lot of money on furniture which would suit apartment life for the first year but wouldn't be ideal for when we move to a house so this is a great idea.

One concern I have is that you will not have a permanent address to give at the POE for the mailing of your green card. This might be problematic as your wife does not have family here and neither of you have jobs or friends in the US whose address you might be able to use. The green card can take a few weeks to several months to arrive.

As for a credit history, far out of my expertise. Good luck with your move and welcome to the US. I do hope that it lives up to your dreams and hopes.
Hmm...we may have a friend who would let us use their address. Not so much a friend but a couple we met on honeymoon a few years back who we've kept in touch with. Not sure I'd like to ask this of them but it may be prudent as a back up plan. I'm sure they'd understand our predicament.

EDIT: Just read the advice below about a PO box so that another good option.
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Old Aug 10th 2016, 10:37 am
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Thanks Pulaski and Rete - this is something I'll look into tonight. it sounds like a more secure option and would allow me to avoid asking favors from people.
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Old Aug 10th 2016, 10:39 am
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Default Re: Moving to Tampa in Sept. Here's my plan and concerns.

Originally Posted by littledorrit View Post
Hi,
We (UKC, USC, and kiddo) just moved to Tampa last month. Within 5 weeks, we now have a great home, credit cards and 2 cars. We're loving Tampa ( although we have lived here before, so knew what to expect).

To find a home, we initially used a realtor, which was helpful, but actually rented a home ( which was on zillow), directly with a landlord. They were really nice, understood our situation, and needed no credit checks at all. In our experience, it's a very competitive market, (we are in South Tampa), but if you're well-presented, have some cash in the bank and are just honest about credit, they were all open to renting to us. Most wanted first and last month rent, but we ended up with a place that only wanted 1/2 month rent as deposit.

For cars, we asked a relative with good credit to co-sign. But, honestly I think we could have got the cars without them. We ended up with 2 vw's, no deposit and 0% finance for 5 years, which has been amazing...

For credit, we opened up Wells Fargo accounts, and we're instantly able to get secured credit cards. We also were able to get USA Amex gold cards, after having a UK gold card for about 6 months. We printed off our UK credit rating and brought it with us, which has been kinda useful. Also, through Amex you can monitor your credit score here, which we find helpful.

But so far, the whole move to Tampa has been effortless. People have been super helpful and we're loving it!
Best of luck with your move!
Thanks, littledorrit.

This is actually really reassuring.

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the move and we didn't really appreciate the difficulties with things like credit until I started reading this forum so it has been something that has been causing a bit of stress for us recently. It's good to see that although it may not be all straightforward it's certainly doable.
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