Top 5 "things to do" for a first time US immigrant !!

Settling in U.S. is diffcult, is it?

This article provides 5 most essential "things to do" for those who travel to USA for the first time. Whether you are a worker, a student, a businessmen or a family member of the US citizen, the information on this page will empower you with knowledge about five essential things of living in the United States. This information is based on the real life experiences of the author. These experiences are not only related to his own settlement, but also related to a number of his own friends who came here on student or work VISA and shared their journey.

I, Hub Chief, immigrated to US in 2004 and learned about these essential items organically and painfully. As I remember my experiences, it was harder and stressful to not have completed these items within first month. By not having one of these items, I had to defer or wait to get the other among the list. Today I wish, if I had the information below during my first week, I would have saved a lot of pain. Internet has definitely made things easy for us today to share this information.

Well, Here are those top 5 things you must address when you immigrate to the United States:

  1. Social Security
  2. Driver's License
  3. Bank Account
  4. Residence/Mailing Address
  5. Phone

1) Social Security: As a US resident (permanent or temporary) social security number (SSN) is the number one document you should obtain after landing in US. This document is provided in the form of a credit card sized inked paper. Without the SSN one can not get paid by an employer. SSN is must when filing for US tax return at the end of every calendar year. So when you immigrate to the United States of Anerica, the first thing to take care of is to file for social security number on a working day. While filing, you can use the address of a fellow colleague or relative for receiving the social security card. Later on when you rent or buy your own residence (rented/owned) you can submit another application to update your address on records of social security administration. More information is available from social security administration at ssa.gov.

2) Driver's license: this is something that many states would not allow an application unless you get social security. So sleep on it until you get social security. Meanwhile, make sure to take at least one driver's training class. It definitely helps. I have been driving for few years before coming to U.S. but it really helped taking a 2 hour class for about $60.

3) Bank Account: Banks also need social security for opening accounts; however some banks may be flexible and would allow you to open account with some time commitment on providing social security. Try finding out from employer about any credit union affiliation. Having accounts in credit union helps you a lot for car loans etc.

4) Residence/Mailing Address: In fact if you can, I think first item one should immediately be prepared for is to establish a mailing address. For all items like social security, drive license, bank account etc, an established residential address is essential. you can use work or university address instead, however I would highly recommend a residential address. when I came in, I rented an apartment within 6 days and established an address. afterwards, it was easy for me to open an account, apply for social security etc. here are the implications of this:

a. As your credit builds, this address on your account would always show up as first address where you got social security or a credit card. as time passes by, for verification purposes, you would be asked about your first address most times. so you do want to make sure your first address is something you remember.

b. if you use any temporary address, as soon as you get a permanent one, you would need to update that address, in all of the cards, like social security, credit card, bank account etc.

5) Phone: Now that you established the residence, got a social security, and a driver's license and a bank account, phone comes next. In United States, phone part is a bit tricky. You can get a best deal if you consider this:

a. buy a contract phone on a friend's account: this is the most cheap option, avoids any hassles you would have and gives you best call time, internet and a great phone. I think if you are savvy for new phones, then buying a new phone on your friend's account is the most reasonable option. as it would be low cost, you would need 2 years of contract and would have best data/calling service.

b. buy a pre-paid phone: in first 30 days, if you want a phone, you still need a friend's help. However you can keep operating cost lowest, if your calls are going to be minimal, low data usage, then these phones are best. Today we get android operated prepaid phones that behave mostly like expensive smart phones. An average cost of phone less than $30 and carries pay as you use freedom. But keep in mind, when you use this phone more have more than 200 minutes call time, it is expensive option than option a. One of the option to buy phone is Amazon.com. Amazon provide decent options to buy a Phone.


Hope these top 5 things can help you focus your energy and research on right things and save you frustrations at the end. Feel free to post questions here. I can help answer any of your questions related to your settlement in US.

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Comments 5 comments

yamanote profile image

yamanote 7 years ago from UK/Spain

do you have any tips on securing the visa to get in?


HubChief profile image

HubChief 7 years ago from United States Author

posted the hub on temporary visitor's VISA related.


suraj 4 years ago

Hey good info provided here!!! sure it takes around 2 months for one to get all of the documents provided above(DL takes maximum time)

i would also like to add that one should get a credit card(secure) immidiately after coming to us and make good credit history in 6 months or so and get a unsecure credit card too..

for more on life in usa http://thekapils.com...

buying a used car is also a big assignment and may take good amount of time and patience


Chandan 4 years ago

Thanx for sharing your experience..


Junaid Khan 3 years ago

dear sir/madam

i have sponsor form US they want to come there for a month VISIT purpose i am here in Dubai what should i do.

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