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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

Really happy that I found this place. You guys seem great about answering the questions that are really pertinent to people's needs.

I have an (I)Visa, which is a media visa and I'm planning to move to Florida in August to be with my partner. I can only work for British Companies on this Visa, but I'm confident of getting enough work as a freelance Journalist to make things work.

My questions relate to the practicalities of living in the States.

Would I be able to rent a property without having an ID card, social security number and other privileges of a permanent resident of the US?

Also the same applies to opening an American bank account, although I believe that there are many US banks with offices in London (Citibank for example) that would allow me to do so.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris
 

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Hi there,

Really happy that I found this place. You guys seem great about answering the questions that are really pertinent to people's needs.

I have an (I)Visa, which is a media visa and I'm planning to move to Florida in August to be with my partner. I can only work for British Companies on this Visa, but I'm confident of getting enough work as a freelance Journalist to make things work.

My questions relate to the practicalities of living in the States.

Would I be able to rent a property without having an ID card, social security number and other privileges of a permanent resident of the US?

Also the same applies to opening an American bank account, although I believe that there are many US banks with offices in London (Citibank for example) that would allow me to do so.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Chris
An I-visa will give you both a SSN and, in most jurisdictions, a driver license -- your ID card.

Renting without a credit history will be more difficult -- however, money talks and private landlords are usually more accommodating than corporate ones. Craigslist will find you the private rentals in your area.

Despite the bs you'll occasionally hear for front-line employees, there is no requirement for a SSN to open a bank account. The Patriot Act states that if you have a SSN, you have to give it to them. If you don't, its requirement is merely suitable proof of identity. A bank's own policy may prevent you having an account without a SSN, but you'll find this is pretty much the realm of small banks. What you will find almost impossible is to open a bank otherwise than in person.

If you're opening a US bank account from the UK, make sure they have branches in your intended area.
 

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We moved over just over a year ago but opened our bank account on one of our house hunting trips. My suggestion are as follows:- See if you existing bank has a branch/partner in the USA, for instance HSBC have branches here. Second not having a credit history is a nightmare, you pay more for insurance, difficulty in getting credit cards etc. So find your self a friendly bank, take with you a equifax credit report from the UK. When you have a bank, ask them to arrange to have your british credit report translated into the american credit scoring system. Our bank in the US did this for us, and it has helped us go from no credit score to high [email protected] in just over a year. If you are renting in the UK, ask your landlord to write you a reference, get a police report before you leave the UK. This will help with new landlords. Hope this helps
 

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I don't know whether this is true or not, but somebody suggested getting an American Express credit card, buying a few things each month, and then paying off the balance in full each month. This apparently gives you a US credit rating (not just UK), plus means you have a credit card when going to the US - just transfer it over. At least that's what I've been told, so it would be interesting to hear if it's true.

Experian say on their website that, although they operate in the US as well, a UK credit report doesn't translate. Rather disappointing as my current score is 999 (!) but in the US it's a big fat zero from the same company. So instead you should print your report in full (costs £10 I think, plus your printing costs, could be dozens of sheets) and take it with you to the US bank as busybee says.
 

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I don't know whether this is true or not, but somebody suggested getting an American Express credit card, buying a few things each month, and then paying off the balance in full each month. This apparently gives you a US credit rating (not just UK), plus means you have a credit card when going to the US - just transfer it over. At least that's what I've been told, so it would be interesting to hear if it's true.

Experian say on their website that, although they operate in the US as well, a UK credit report doesn't translate. Rather disappointing as my current score is 999 (!) but in the US it's a big fat zero from the same company. So instead you should print your report in full (costs £10 I think, plus your printing costs, could be dozens of sheets) and take it with you to the US bank as busybee says.
Amex transfer Instructions here: American Express - Moving Abroad - Global Card Transfer

You may as well print your UK report out and take it with you. But if it helps out, that's going to be a bonus rather than the norm. Most credit decisions are pretty automated, and there's no room for a UK credit history in there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your help on these issues, guys.

I have a few further questions on my I-Visa, if you'd be kind enough to help. I've had no problems in entering the country on my I-Visa before, but this is when I've had a clear return date a few days later.

This time I'm intending to stay indefinitely to cover the US technology industry as a freelance journalist working for several British publicaitons. Am I likely to experience any problems getting through immigration? Is an indefinite stay allowed for the duration of the I-Visa?

I've done some reading around the subject, but information seems in short supply. Some folks have told me that I'm only allowed to stay for six months at a time, other sources have informed me that the six month limit doesn't exist. But if it does, does this limit return visits?

I'm assuming I'll need written documentation from the companies I intend to work for, proving that I'm there for legitimate reasons?

Considering the difficulty in obtaining other Visa's, having the I-Visa and living in the United States full-time, working for British companies, seems a little bit too easy, and a little bit too good to be true.

Any info you guys might be able to provide would really help set my mind at ease (or make me panic if it's not good news!)

Thanks again,

Chris
 

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We have found the only way to build up a US credit score is by applying for a secured credit card and use it regularly. A lender in CA did try to do a manual credit check by phoning through to UK companies but that came to nothing. If you have no social security that can be a problem too. A way round this is to apply for a TIN no. through the IRS (tax)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for your help on these issues, guys.

I have a few further questions on my I-Visa, if you'd be kind enough to help. I've had no problems in entering the country on my I-Visa before, but this is when I've had a clear return date a few days later.

This time I'm intending to stay indefinitely to cover the US technology industry as a freelance journalist working for several British publicaitons. Am I likely to experience any problems getting through immigration? Is an indefinite stay allowed for the duration of the I-Visa?

I've done some reading around the subject, but information seems in short supply. Some folks have told me that I'm only allowed to stay for six months at a time, other sources have informed me that the six month limit doesn't exist. But if it does, does this limit return visits?

I'm assuming I'll need written documentation from the companies I intend to work for, proving that I'm there for legitimate reasons?

Considering the difficulty in obtaining other Visa's, having the I-Visa and living in the United States full-time, working for British companies, seems a little bit too easy, and a little bit too good to be true.

Any info you guys might be able to provide would really help set my mind at ease (or make me panic if it's not good news!)

Thanks again,

Chris
Hi guys,

Thanks for the answers you've provided. I wondered if anyone had any specific information they were able to pass on on the above questions, especially the bits in bold...

Cheers,

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Things have taken a bit of a turn for the worst, with my company telling me that my I-Visa is tied to them and that they wouldn't give me a freelance contract to work in the US if I were to leave the company as a full-time employee.

This leaves me in a difficult (dream shattering) position.

I have the I-Visa from that company, but it is tied to my current company.
I have no freelance contract with that company saying they require me to work in the US.

Is it still possible for me to enter the US, live and work on that Visa?

I really think not.

Would marrying the girl be a far better and far easier option? I'm sure and she's sure we just didn't want to have to do it this way.
 

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Would marrying the girl be a far better and far easier option? I'm sure and she's sure we just didn't want to have to do it this way.
It's often the reality of the situation.
 

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Do we know how long it takes to obtain a K1 fiance visa?
Used to be around 9 months out of London. Although folks seem to be posting that they're getting a little quicker these days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Used to be around 9 months out of London. Although folks seem to be posting that they're getting a little quicker these days.
Thanks so much for all your help, Fatbrit.

Do you think it's best to apply now, even though we're not engaged yet? Just to get the process moving. I assume, after the original application, I'd need to travel over for an interview.
 

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Thanks so much for all your help, Fatbrit.

Do you think it's best to apply now, even though we're not engaged yet? Just to get the process moving. I assume, after the original application, I'd need to travel over for an interview.
If you're doing the K1, she can file an I-129F now to start the clock, and your interview will be scheduled much later in London. When you have the visa, you'll have 6 months to travel out, and you then need to get married within 90 days of arriving. Unfortunately, you now have to carry on with the paperwork before you're allowed to work. It's a crappy visa in terms of payments and paperwork required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you're doing the K1, she can file an I-129F now to start the clock, and your interview will be scheduled much later in London. When you have the visa, you'll have 6 months to travel out, and you then need to get married within 90 days of arriving. Unfortunately, you now have to carry on with the paperwork before you're allowed to work. It's a crappy visa in terms of payments and paperwork required.
Thanks once again. Your help is invaluable.

Paperwork is do-able, I can handle that. From my reading I can see that I'd need to fill in a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization?

Is the only difference in payments the $355 required to file the form compared to the K3 Visa? Or are there more?

Would we not be interviewed together? Or would my interview following her petition be considered suitable evidence?
 

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Thanks once again. Your help is invaluable.

Paperwork is do-able, I can handle that. From my reading I can see that I'd need to fill in a Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization?

Is the only difference in payments the $355 required to file the form compared to the K3 Visa? Or are there more?

Would we not be interviewed together? Or would my interview following her petition be considered suitable evidence?
You need to file a load of stuff to adjust status to permenant resident. Included in that package is an application for an EAD which will keep you going until you get your green card. Budget 90 days from getting married and filing AOS to getting your EAD -- though it may come quicker.

The K3 is obsolete -- forget it. The visa to use for those who are already married is the CR1/IR1 immigrant visa. Takes around the same time but you're a permenant resident from entry with the right to work here.

Of course, if you were over here legitimately on your I visa and then decided to get married, you wouldn't need a visa at all -- a visa is just permission to knock on the door.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks again, so very much.

My I-Visa plans appear to have been resurrected. I just need to be able to check that I'm free to work for other UK companies as well as the company that supported my I-Visa application.

I don't want to, and can't be tied to work for that organisation alone.

I called the US Embassy who were very helpful on some matters, but told me to email some questions on other matters, which I'm kind of wary about doing to be honest.... especially giving my details.

Does anyone know whether I exclusively have to work for the one company while I'm based over there?

Best wishes

Chris
 
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