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Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Old Jul 19th 2009, 4:37 am
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Default Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment... Phew!

Hey Everyone

My last thread here was super super helpful and thanks to everyone's help I'm well on my way to getting the H1-B Visa.

But I have a couple questions for when I arrive. I'm a British citizen moving to Philadelphia and I'll need a car and an apartment. I've searched the forums extensively and I understand I need to:

1. Get off the plane.
2. Go to the Social Security Office, get a letter saying I've started my application.
3. Take that letter to the DMV and sit a theory test.
4. If I pass, I get a 'Driving Number' which I can use to get insurance quotes
5. Wait 4-6 weeks
6. When my Social Security number arrives, I can sit the driving test
7. If I pass, I can get insurance
8. I can take proof of insurance to the dealership and buy a car
9. Err,
10. That's it?
(Thanks to Sir D's previous posts)

Are those steps correct? At which point can I get a bank account/loan for the car, somewhere between points 3 and 4?

Further, can I get an apartment without a SS number/bank account or will I need both? It's already costing ~$2000 for the 4-6 weeks of renting a car until I get my license, staying in a hostel for 4-6 weeks will just be crazy!

And the process seems... non-linear... Like I assume I need to get my Social Security number through the post so the SS office needs my address. But the estate agent will want my SS number before he gives me the apartment. And similarly the bank account will require proof of address, but the apartment will require bank account details to set up rent payment. So... Catch 22?

Apologies if these questions all seem newbie-ish, I've been reading the forums a lot but still feel a little lost. Thanks for your help!

P.S. I know I COULD get insurance without a US drivers license, but I'm 22 so the insurance premium would be hard to get and expensive... but on the other hand, would it be less than the cost of hiring a car for two months? Hmm...

P.P.S. Instead of renting a car for two months while waiting for the SS, I can rent one for a week while I find and buy a used car with insurance on my UK license and then call the insurance company once I have my US license... Hmmmm indeed...

Last edited by agentred; Jul 19th 2009 at 4:56 am.
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Old Jul 19th 2009, 12:12 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment... Phew!

Originally Posted by agentred View Post
Hey Everyone

My last thread here was super super helpful and thanks to everyone's help I'm well on my way to getting the H1-B Visa.

But I have a couple questions for when I arrive. I'm a British citizen moving to Philadelphia and I'll need a car and an apartment. I've searched the forums extensively and I understand I need to:

1. Get off the plane.
2. Go to the Social Security Office, get a letter saying I've started my application.
3. Take that letter to the DMV and sit a theory test.
4. If I pass, I get a 'Driving Number' which I can use to get insurance quotes
5. Wait 4-6 weeks
6. When my Social Security number arrives, I can sit the driving test
7. If I pass, I can get insurance
8. I can take proof of insurance to the dealership and buy a car
9. Err,
10. That's it?
(Thanks to Sir D's previous posts)

Are those steps correct? At which point can I get a bank account/loan for the car, somewhere between points 3 and 4?

Further, can I get an apartment without a SS number/bank account or will I need both? It's already costing ~$2000 for the 4-6 weeks of renting a car until I get my license, staying in a hostel for 4-6 weeks will just be crazy!

And the process seems... non-linear... Like I assume I need to get my Social Security number through the post so the SS office needs my address. But the estate agent will want my SS number before he gives me the apartment. And similarly the bank account will require proof of address, but the apartment will require bank account details to set up rent payment. So... Catch 22?

Apologies if these questions all seem newbie-ish, I've been reading the forums a lot but still feel a little lost. Thanks for your help!

P.S. I know I COULD get insurance without a US drivers license, but I'm 22 so the insurance premium would be hard to get and expensive... but on the other hand, would it be less than the cost of hiring a car for two months? Hmm...

P.P.S. Instead of renting a car for two months while waiting for the SS, I can rent one for a week while I find and buy a used car with insurance on my UK license and then call the insurance company once I have my US license... Hmmmm indeed...
Through AIG, insurance with my UK license was cheaper than I am currently being quoted on my US license.

And yes, renting a car for 2 months is likely to outweigh any possible benefits IMO.
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Old Jul 19th 2009, 10:27 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

use the search facility at the top to get most of your answers, there have been lots of threads about all the things you ask.

you need to wait about a week to ten days before you go to the SS office so that you are in the system. We got our numbers really quickly, others have had to wait weeks.

you will need the SS number to get your licence, if you have a spouse who is not entitled to a number then you may be able to get a letter from the SS office to say so. I had no problem getting a licence without a ss number.
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Old Jul 20th 2009, 3:13 am
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Whether you need your SSN to get a license varies by state - check for PA. In Ohio I didn't need to wait. I rented a car for 18 days while I got used to the roads then took the written and skills tests, I still had a week left to shop for a car before the rental went back. My SSN arrived in the mail only two weeks after I did.

And the dealer doesn't care whether you have insurance or not.....but the police would if they pulled you over or attended an RTA you were involved in.

Last edited by BritishGuy36; Jul 20th 2009 at 3:15 am.
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Old Jul 20th 2009, 6:02 am
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Originally Posted by BritishGuy36 View Post
And the dealer doesn't care whether you have insurance or not.....
That depends on whether you are paying cash or financing the vehicle.

If you paid cash they don't care about insurance - if you are financing it they care a lot.
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Old Jul 20th 2009, 1:48 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Originally Posted by BritishGuy36 View Post
And the dealer doesn't care whether you have insurance or not.....but the police would if they pulled you over or attended an RTA you were involved in.
Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
That depends on whether you are paying cash or financing the vehicle.

If you paid cash they don't care about insurance - if you are financing it they care a lot.

In NJ the car dealer must verify insurance cover before the car leaves the forecourt...he does this by calling the insurance company.
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Old Jul 20th 2009, 2:55 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Gah!

Thanks for all the replies everyone, but it turns out PA will not let me own a car without a PA license. So even if I can find insurance on my UK license, I won't have a car to be insured on.

Two very expensive months of driving a rental it is, unfortunately. Hopefully the SS office will process my application quickly.

Also spoke to a rental company, they said I should be able to start renting while waiting for my social security to come through.

Now all that's left is a bank account, and that I should be able to open with an I-94 and employment contract.
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Old Jul 20th 2009, 5:40 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Originally Posted by agentred View Post
Also spoke to a rental company, they said I should be able to start renting while waiting for my social security to come through.
By which I mean apartment rental. So everything should work out ok in the end...
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Old Jul 20th 2009, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Originally Posted by agentred View Post
Now all that's left is a bank account, and that I should be able to open with an I-94 and employment contract.
Just proof of ID is all that's usually required notwithstanding the idiocy level of the local branch staff.
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Old Jul 20th 2009, 7:28 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Originally Posted by agentred View Post
Gah!

Thanks for all the replies everyone, but it turns out PA will not let me own a car without a PA license. So even if I can find insurance on my UK license, I won't have a car to be insured on.

Two very expensive months of driving a rental it is, unfortunately. Hopefully the SS office will process my application quickly.

Also spoke to a rental company, they said I should be able to start renting while waiting for my social security to come through.

Now all that's left is a bank account, and that I should be able to open with an I-94 and employment contract.
I'm not sure where you are getting the two months; it should not take that long to get your SSN and if you apply shortly after arrival and you get evidence of your application, that appears to be on PA's list for H-1Bs.
http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms...s/pub195nc.pdf
 Passport,
 I-94,
 Visa,
 Social Security Card, or letter from SSA indicating that SSA did not
make a decision yet,
or SSA rejection letter
 Written verification showing proof of employment, and
 2 proofs of residency.

You will probably be able to register a car sooner than you estimate, too.
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Old Jul 20th 2009, 8:09 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
I'm not sure where you are getting the two months; it should not take that long to get your SSN and if you apply shortly after arrival and you get evidence of your application, that appears to be on PA's list for H-1Bs.
http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms...s/pub195nc.pdf
 Passport,
 I-94,
 Visa,
 Social Security Card, or letter from SSA indicating that SSA did not
make a decision yet,
or SSA rejection letter
 Written verification showing proof of employment, and
 2 proofs of residency.

You will probably be able to register a car sooner than you estimate, too.
Oh wow, perfect! According to that pdf,
"If letter from SSA indicating that SSA did not make a decision yet issue a
1 year Learner’s Permit, PA Driver’s License or PA ID Card"

You made my day, thanks!!
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 6:08 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Originally Posted by agentred View Post
Thanks for all the replies everyone, but it turns out PA will not let me own a car without a PA license. So even if I can find insurance on my UK license, I won't have a car to be insured on.

Two very expensive months of driving a rental it is, unfortunately. Hopefully the SS office will process my application quickly.
In that case they've changed all the rules since last summer.

I bought a new car from a dealer, insured it, and all on a UK (plus international) license. No problems at any stage. PA will let you drive on the UK license for a year. Once SS was sorted I took the theory test and then drove around for a few weeks to get the feel of things before taking the actual test. Given that it was PA the actual test was over before I realised it had started...

On the hire car front, in theory you could arrange that from the UK, as a holiday rental. Much cheaper, though not strictly true, of course.
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Old Jul 21st 2009, 9:50 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Originally Posted by celticgrid View Post
In that case they've changed all the rules since last summer.

I bought a new car from a dealer, insured it, and all on a UK (plus international) license. No problems at any stage.
That's so weird, I specifically asked an insurance agent today if these were new rules and he said nope they've been around for three years

Plus I'm looking to buy a car from 1976-80 and a lot of insurance companies won't insure it, and if I do buy a car from, say, 1990, it comes to $2000 a month!! I guess being 22 doesn't help...
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Old Jul 22nd 2009, 11:50 pm
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Few things that seem off to me from when I did this in PA last year.

1. You don't need a SSN to rent an apartment - the SSN lets them check your credit, but you don't have any so it's no good to them anyhow. Better to offer a larger security deposit. You must have an address for the SSA office.
2. After 10 days or so, go to the SSA office. You can apply for the SSN and they give you a number to call to check when SSN is issued (usually overnight). Then you can go back to the SSA office in 1-2 days and get an official printout which has your number on it. You do still need the actual SSN card which comes in the mail for your job. I got the number after a day, and the actual card within a week of visiting the office.
3. You are not permitted to take a license test in a rental car in PA.
4. I have never heard of taking the DMV theory test first and getting a "driving number" then going back to take driving test.

Here's what I did:
1. As soon as I had a lease document and mail sent to my new address, I went to the DMV and got a PA State photo ID.
2. Bought a car on ebay and paid cash, was able to register and insure using my aussie driver's license and PA state ID.
3. Got my SSN.
4. Went to DMV, sat theory and driving test and got PA temporary license.
5. Called insurance company and gave them my SSN and my PA D/L number. Insurance premium went down a little, but not much because I still didn't have a US driving history.

Last edited by augigi; Jul 22nd 2009 at 11:54 pm.
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Old Jul 23rd 2009, 2:28 am
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Default Re: Social Security, Drivers License, Bank Account, Insurance, Apartment

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
 2 proofs of residency.

You will probably be able to register a car sooner than you estimate, too.
The proofs could be a problem....get a PO Box? But anyway, once getting an apartment, send mail to self and then get a library card, that gets you a bit of mail to your address and a library card showing residence in the town.

SSN ain't needed for a private rental, other wise as mentioned put down a larger deposit, it's usually first/last plus a month or two anyway, so if you can afford to put down 3-6 months, that's all they'll care about. A letter from your employer showing you'll be earning X amount of dollars won't hurt either, especially if your a young 'un.
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