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Newbie to New York

Newbie to New York

Old Sep 8th 2016, 2:18 pm
  #1  
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Default Newbie to New York

I understand there's no official intro thread so thought I would post here just to say a hello to everyone.

I arrived in Scarsdale, NY 2 weeks ago today with my 3 dogs and husband.

I'm deep into getting general stuff sorted, most pressing at mo is driving license. Our furniture is showing as 'in fleet, customs' so I'm hoping that will be here soon as we are getting by on the very minimal amount of rental stuff. I'll feel much more at home when it arrives.

I have to wait for my EAD as I'm on an L2 visa but I hope to get a part time job just to get out and about and meet people.

Does anyone else live in Scarsdale? I have added myself to the map and see there is potentially one other expat here. Otherwise, are there any meet ups in NYC?
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 2:27 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Welcome!!!

I couldn't wait to get my NYS drivers license. Its really straight forward - Before you go, read the DMV leaflet, take in your points of proof (once your EAD is in hand) and do the multiple choice test. I got my social security number pre-EAD which also counts as proof (despite having stamped all over it you need DHS authorization). Just remember alcohol %ages as thats a large chunk of the test. Rest is common sense with a few differences with UK roads like school buses, blinking amber/red lights.etc

Once that's over, book in your 5 hour class-room test (I did mine one evening, it was a mix of teenagers, people from out of state and a few people that had their license revoked), and then book your road test (wait time is about 3 months).

If you pass your road test, you get a 'receipt' that's literally your temporary drivers license till the plastic one comes through - and you're good to drive! (once you have insurance).

The most difficult bit for me when I first arrived was actually setting up a bank account, that took way longer than anything else!
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Hi living

Thanks for the welcome!

Can I ask how did you get your SSN pre-EAD? Our lawyers have told us I can't......

We already have a car and I'm insured, it's the whole DMV process which is clear as mud and I'm getting conflicting advice. I read a really good thread on here about the process and am keen to get it underway.

As i understand things, I need to get an ineligibilty letter from the SSA to take to the written test at DMV (along with other proofs of address/DOB to 6 points). I already have a bank account and utility bills will arrive soon so this is ok I think. It's really important I get this underway as my husband is away a lot and I have to be able to drive with 3 dogs!

Any and all advice very welcome!
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 2:47 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Originally Posted by livinginnyc View Post

Once that's over, book in your 5 hour class-room test
A 5 hour classroom test? As well as your multiple choice and practical?
Over here they practically give them away...
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 2:51 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Yes, Hotscot, 5 hours classroom!

I've also looked at a recommended Westchester driving school on here. I'm going to go for the 1 hour lesson and road test package - $150.

Just trying to decide if I brave Yonkers DMV for my written test or make a day of it in Manhattan!
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 2:52 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Sorry, to clarify, the 5 hours classroom isn't a 'test', just learning.
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

I did my test in Monticello, up in the mountains and just before Christmas last year... Was hoping the wait time would be lower (wasn't), but it way way way quieter streets.

My only faults were doing a 3 point turn too quickly (but he said it was well done), and I went 1 mile over the speed limit going down hill (ironically back to the test drop off). He was super unhappy about that, but I told him it was just nerves and I had a squeaky clean UK license, so he passed me.

I'd say the road test took less than 5 mins (and that's generous), covering all of 3 blocks.

Oh also if you have your UK drivers license on you *dont* take it to DMV as you're supposed to surrender it. I wasn't asked so didn't say anything about it, but I know someone who was, and just said they left it with parents back in the UK.
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 3:05 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Do you have to parallel park in the test? I'm still getting used to judging my nearside!
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 3:08 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Originally Posted by anna_banana View Post
Do you have to parallel park in the test? I'm still getting used to judging my nearside!
Yeah! He made me do it downhill with a curve in the road due to a tree! When it was over he gave me a nod and told me to drive on.

I practiced in our drive way with two bins (sorry trash cans).
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 3:10 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Originally Posted by livinginnyc View Post
..... and then book your road test (wait time is about 3 months). .....
That's what they told me after my 5 hours of classroom "education" in White Plains. I declined their offered date three months later because you can take the test anywhere in the state. The further north and/or west you go from NYC, the shorter the wait (avoiding the larger towns and cities), and Mrs P found me a time slot the following week, in Herkimer.

BTW the road "test" is an utter farce. No wonder Americans are so appallingly bad drivers.

Last edited by Pulaski; Sep 8th 2016 at 3:14 pm.
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 3:14 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
No wonder Americans are so appallingly bad drivers.
Two words: New Jersey (sorry to any NJ'ers on this forum but OMG in driving to Newark).
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 3:17 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
I declined their offered date three months later because you can take the test anywhere in the state. The further north and/or west you go from NYC, the shorter the wait
I would do this but my problem is getting someone to accompany me as I understand I can't drive myself there.
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 3:25 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Originally Posted by anna_banana View Post
Hi living

Thanks for the welcome!

Can I ask how did you get your SSN pre-EAD? Our lawyers have told us I can't
Your lawyers are wrong. You go to the SSA office with your passport, stamped visa, proof of your husband's status and your I-94. My SSN was mailed to me about 7 days later. It was a good 2 months after this that I got round to applying for my EAD and I have several friends who haven't bothered with an EAD at all, but still got their SSN at the same time as their L1 spouse.

Can't help with NY driving advice as it's completely different in Il.
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 3:28 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Originally Posted by anna_banana View Post
I would do this but my problem is getting someone to accompany me as I understand I can't drive myself there.
I have heard that can be a problem (the rule is aimed at US learners, but doesn't make much sense if you still have a valid foreign license and are within the "validity window" of arriving in the state), and while I suspect that they don't always check, especially in the smaller, rural locations, it probably isn't worth chancing it. I was traveling with Mrs P anyway (she's a USC and had a VA license that she could swap) and as the test was on a Friday, we made a long weekend of it. After the test we carried on through the Adirondacks and into Vermont.
Originally Posted by livinginnyc View Post
Two words: New Jersey (sorry to any NJ'ers on this forum but OMG in driving to Newark).
Well NJ drivers have a certain reputation, but designs and state of repair of roads in that part of NJ are also utter §4!t, no other description does just to how bad they are!

Last edited by Pulaski; Sep 8th 2016 at 3:32 pm.
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Old Sep 8th 2016, 3:36 pm
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Default Re: Newbie to New York

Originally Posted by anna_banana View Post
Can I ask how did you get your SSN pre-EAD?
So sorry, only just saw your question!

As loubiblu said, your lawyer is wrong. You can absolutely get a SSN pre-EAD, but it will just have a stamp on the card saying that you can only work with homeland security approval.

Once you get EAD - go back to the social security office and let them know you're good to work, USCIS *don't* update them (I wrongly assumed that they did), and only found out after I got my Green Card when I went around getting my data updated with DMV/SSA. I was told it takes about a month for the updated social security card to come out as they have to do some extra checks. I was interviewing for a job at the time, so the SSA manager wrote a letter with his details that I could provide if I needed to prove authority to work and wasn't appearing on e-verify (not that it's needed though as I had a green card in hand).

Regarding the driving test - yes you need someone to drive you to the test site, I think its got something to do with the law around how, as a learner you're not allowed/supposed to drive in a test zone without an instructor. My mother-in-law drove me, I drove back.
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