What to consider for employees who relocate to the U.S. for work

Thierry Gabadou
Posted by Thierry Gabadou
International Banking

Consider this scenario…

Two male computer engineers looking at the screen of an open laptop.This is it, you are ready to start your new role at the headquarters, or U.S. subsidiary, of your firm. You know that upon arrival, you will be expected to be efficient fairly quickly. However, you are not worried about it, since your hiring firm is providing the service of a relocation agent and the support of an internal global mobility human resources team.

You are assuming that you will be able to get a cellular phone subscription upon arrival, and you know that you have a car and a home for a couple months provided by your firm. You have an appointment with your relocation agent on your first work day, to bring you to a local bank to open an account. And he/she will take you to a U.S. government office to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN).

What could go wrong?

Finally the day has come when you arrive in the U.S. You know that time is of the essence and that several meetings are waiting for you at work. The relocation agent has your first day fully planned.
This is when things start getting more complex than planned. With the relocation agent, you go to a local bank and find that opening an account without a SSN is challenging. You have to go back later once you have received your SSN.

You apply for a credit card and it gets rejected, since you have no credit history in the U.S. Also, because you have no credit history in the U.S., you have to put down a large deposit to be able to subscribe to a cellular phone carrier’s plan and purchase a new phone. Once your car rental has expired, you find it challenging to borrow money to buy a car. Before your temporary home rental has expired, you realize that buying a house without credit history is also problematic. And if you rent, you have to provide a large deposit (first and last month, or more) prior to moving in.

How do I know this? Because I was this person.

What did I learn?

Ask questions prior to leaving your home country. Upon arrival, rely on the specialists: your human resources global mobility team and relocation agent. Do your due diligence concerning your future U.S. financial partner to assess how effective the bank is empathizing with your needs and providing solutions to help with your journey. Having programs that deal with your immediate needs such as temporary non-resident accounts, credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages for people without any credit history can be very helpful.

This infographic may also useful to review and share with others who are getting started or relocating for jobs in the United States.

Bank of the West has many programs available for international clients. To learn more, visit our International Banking website.

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