DRIVER’S LICENSE, BANK ACCOUNT, CREDIT CARD, AND OTHER OPTIONS FOR H4
– Contributed by Choy. (thanks for the write up !)
Hi to all,
I’ve been in the US for a year now and like everyone else, it has been a long and tiring struggle eversince. It’s really a frustrating situation to be on H4, it’s like having both your hands and feet tied up because you are actually limited to only a few options and opportunities here.
Just would like to share some of my experiences for the past year:
1. DRIVER’S LICENSE/STATE ID
For H4, this is one of the most important things you have to consider getting first as this will establish your identity here.
Start this process by acquiring a LETTER OF DENIAL from Social Security Office Nearest you. Documents needed I guess varies from state to state but what they ask of me are Passport, Visa, I-94. Additionally, they also asked supporting documents coming from the primary visa holder (whom you are dependent with)….these documents include your spouse’s passport, visa, i-94, SSN and form I-797. As I have said documents needed might vary from state to state so call the SS Office first before going.
When you have the Letter of Denial you can now go to DMV to apply for either Driver’s License or State ID. These are the docs DMV asked of me:
1. Proof of Residence-this maybe any utility bill on your name, or if you are renting an apartment ask your land lord to add your name on the lease contract (this is what we did and i guess the easiest option).
2. Letter of Denial
3. Passport, Visa, I-94
4. Supporting Docs from primary visa holder: Passport, Visa, I-94, I-797, and SSN
5. Study or atleast brush trough the “Rules of the Road Booklet” (This is available at DMV office or the DMV webiste of your state), as you might take the written exam on the same day of your application (Don’t worry ! Most of these questions are purely common sense).
After sumbitting all of these documents at the DMV nearest you, the rest will just be procedural. Again documents to be presented might differ from state to state make sure to call DMV first.
2. OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT
-the best option is to apply for a joint checking account together with your spouse. Now from here on, if you decide to open a separate account for yourself and on the same bank, it will not post any problem anymore since you are already an account holder. Documents asked to open an account usually are 2 Valid IDs. Passport and Driver’s License or State ID will suffice.
3. STARTING YOUR OWN CREDIT HISTORY
Contrary to what others are saying and as per my experience it is possible to have your OWN CREDIT CARD and CREDIT HISTORY (Not a secure Card) even though you are on H4 status. At first I was also led into believing that this is not possible because I can’t establish a Credit History because I don’t have an SSN. Here is how I started:
1. Apply for Individual Tax Idendtification Number with the IRS. This is very easy just download the W-7 form from IRS website and follow the instruction given on the form. After mailing it to IRS you’ll have to wait like 3-6 weeks for them to process this and send your ITIN.
2. As soon as possible, ask your spouse to add you as an authorize user of his or her credit card. I think this is what made the difference, upon arriving to the US, my wife and I decided to include me as an authorize user of her credit card. As much as possible use your card in your purchases specially on big or frequent purchases. I believe (this is only my own speculation), in doing this you make your name known to the credit agencies. Very Important…..never miss a payment on your credit card, keep it on good standing.
After like 4-6 months, I started recieving pre-approve credit card application from different banks. I was skeptical at first in applying, thinking that it will not be approve precisely because I don’t have an SSN which is required when you apply. I did the application anyway using my ITIN in place of an SSN. And it worked, I was approved. Three months after I recieve my card, i was eligible for a credit line increase. Bottomline is, you must keep your credit record on good standing from the very beginning of the process.
Of course, I can not guarantee that you will have the same outcome as mine. Different factors might affect your application such as current credit standing of your spouse and the bank where you applied for a credit card. I’m just saying this to rectify the information given by others that you can’t have a credit card or credit history while on H4.
4. OTHER LEGAL OPTION TO EARN FINANCIALLY WHILE ON H4
-It has already been established that there is no way an H4 can work. Coming from me who have tirelessly sought different avenues to circumbent this situation for the past year and for most i guess share this feeling, unless of course you do things illegally which I believe will do more harm than good for you specially now a days that immigration is being strick on their policy on illegal allien (Of course we are not illegal alliens here but when you start working as H4, then it is). However, there is one avenue you can look into. And that is INVESTING in stocks and forex, we are allowed to do this. I did some investing already in the past couple of months, drive by boredom I guess …. LOL. But of course, this is a very risky option specially now a days when the market is very unstable, however, on the upside, stocks right now are quite cheap to buy. I warn you though that investing in the market carries with it a great amount of risk….so before you dive into it….make sure, to make your own research on the risks involve. There are a tons of books you can read to atleast give you insight on this option. Again, investing carries with it some amount of risk make sure you do your homework even before contemplating on this option.
5. GET AN EDUCATION
-If there is one option which will be beneficial to us on H4 here in the US is to continue our studies. At least, you are investing on something you can use in the future. At least it will make the wait worthwhile.
I would like to thank the moderator/Administrator of this site. You are really doing a good job in keeping this site going. I really applaud you for your efforts. Keep up the good work.