Beating bureaucratic challenges as an expat in the USA

Published:  21 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, USA, Jobs
Expats heading for a new life in the USA face a good number of bureaucratic challenges, but taking advice from those who’ve gone before is the best way to deal with officialdom.

The USA is one of the most popular destinations for expats, with the majority relocating to take up new jobs in one of the country’s massive cities. For almost all, the most difficult of all the adjustments necessary is dealing with unfamiliar bureaucratic requirements. A new survey identifies the three most challenging systems to beat, and gives advice on how to proceed.

Even for English-speaking expats, the American way of law and life can be tricky, especially as regards the necessary permits, licenses, bank accounts and so on. For those not fluent in English, it’s far worse, but translations can be easily had. Once a Green Card has been issued, getting your social security number and driving license is fairly straightforward, but bank accounts and other financial necessities are a different story.

Banks in the USA are infamous for making it difficult for foreigners to open local accounts. Much of this is due to the drive for a former credit history, without which you’re stick. Unfortunately, even if you have an A1 credit history in your country of origin, it will be totally ignored once you enter the USA.

Respondents to the survey reported numerous incidents of not even being able to open an account with a bag full of cash, simply because they had no USA credit history. As regards getting loans or credit cards, don’t even ask! The way around this is to seek out companies offering expatriate programmes basing your credit-worthiness on more than just a credit history. These people work with clients to build an acceptable credit history and are the best way forward.

Renting a home when you’ve no credit history as yet can be frustrating to say the least, but local resources are there to help, as are work colleagues who know the neighbourhood, its properties, schools, shops and commuting time to work. Once you’ve got over all the hurdles and settled down, you’ll be well able to help other new arrivals having similar problems.
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