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Shamus

DV-2019

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6 hours ago, FranetteM said:

Ok, so our tickets are all sorted. We're flying on 16 Oct! Can hardly wait, but the house is in a terrible state! 🙈

Fabulous! How exciting!

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Hi all. I’m not sure if this question’s been asked before - how long, after first arriving in the USA and “activating” one’s immigrant visa, does it take for the SSN to arrive? Reason I ask is that I read on the “welcome letter” that it shouldn’t take longer than three weeks, however, I called the SSN office and I’m not on the system yet (it’s been just over three weeks). I was hoping to start to build a credit record by applying for a credit card, but it seems the bank needs the SSN for the application... 

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Ours took just over four weeks to arrive which was in 2005. I believe they are much quicker now.  The Green cards took about 6 weeks.  This was around Thanksgiving time. So we only initially stayed in the US for a week and then went back to SA for three months.

For newer folks, the process is a bit quicker. I know as someone used our address and their  SSN Cards arrived within a week of their arrival.   

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[at]Kallas, it sounds like something has gone wrong (happens occasionally) and you will need to go into a SSA office to get yourself on the system. Take your passport with the immigrant visa with you. 

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Ok thanks, was hoping it didn’t come to that. I see there is an SSA office in Hilo so I’ll have to go as soon as I arrive. Not quite sure where my new company will pay my first week’s salary into...

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For what it is worth, we were able to open up an account with Bank of America back in 2009 as 'visitors' when we arrived and changed it over as soon as we received our Social Security numbers.  We had to go into the SSA offices, which was quick and easy as our info was not forwarded to them by Immigration. I think at the time (2009) us clearing Immigration at the airport in the USA was supposed to 'activate' the SSN and not before.

 

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On 10/15/2019 at 4:36 PM, Kallas said:

Ok thanks, was hoping it didn’t come to that. I see there is an SSA office in Hilo so I’ll have to go as soon as I arrive. Not quite sure where my new company will pay my first week’s salary into...

Hi Kallas, not sure whether you have been sorted by now. We had the same problem. We arrived 17 Oct and when we went to the Social Security Admin after almost 2 weeks, we were told we're not in the system yet. We had our passports with us and also our unabridged birth certificates. That is basically all the info they ask for. It was really quick to apply and we received our SSN's yesterday, which is basically a week later.

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Just to let everybody know that we arrived at JFK on 17 Oct and it was easy and relatively quick to pass through immigration. The only thing that held us up was that we were on the same plane as a lot of refugees. Our fur baby was waiting for us at SAA cargo, already cleared through customs. Unfortunately the staff there were very rude (I intend to lodge a complaint) and they definitely also didn't even give our dog any water.

But all's well that ends well and we managed to get a home leased in Savannah (it was hard work). We drove down from JFK and stopped over at Motel 6 in Philadelhia (they will never see us again), then Clarion Inn in Fredericksburg (Excellent!!). WE spent the weekend with our friends in Raleigh, NC and from there drove to Florence. We arrived in Savannah the next day and our house was ready to move into!

The fur baby has been to the Vet and has passed the heart worm check. We are all settling in nicely. We received our SSNs yesterday (after we had to apply again locally) and now we're ready to open bank accounts and get the secured credit cards.

Thank you again for all of your input and advice. It would have been much more difficult without it!

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Hey franette, welcome, glad you are already sorted with somewhere to stay and that the fur baby is good! 

(I had to laugh at your motel 6 comment, we also had a first and last experience at one, ours was in Orlando, trying to save money back when we were traveling on rands...never ever again lol)

Good luck with everything from here!

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Motel 6 is generally not the greatest place to stay. - Often hear about murders and a place for guys to stay when their wives have kicked them out of the house.

As you stayed at a Clarion they have loyalty points register and ask for your rewards number. There is a nice Clarion at Ocean City Maryland,   right on the beach and the also have a dog floor for guests that are traveling with dogs. Really a nice place to stay for a few days in the summer.

 

 

 

 

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Murders? Lol. The one in Orlando anyway is clearly aimed at tourists, not fugitives, it’s in the middle of a strip of hotels and motels (hilton, days inn etc) and near the main drag, universal, water parks etc. No, the problem was just that it was filthy. We got our room changed as the sink in the first bathroom still had hair in the drain hole, ugh. But everything just felt dirty. Like I said, never again. It was also the days before things like TripAdvisor were widely used. 

 (We tend to stay at either Hyatt or Hilton brands now, both of them have a range of options per city from budget (clean budget lol) to luxury, and the points do rack up.  Occasionally will go for a boutique hotel or something like a kimpton.)

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Haha, yes,, Motel 6 can vary tremendously - and is positioned as a very much a budget hotel.  I stayed at about a dozen of them across the USA about 5 years ago during a 3 month roadtrip - never more than 1 night at a time.  However, my choices were limited - traveling with a dog around 100lbs.  Many hotels are 'sizeist' and won't take large dogs at all - e.g. Clarion only takes dogs up to 35lbs, and then at $35 per night, Marriott charges $100 per night, Hyatt $75 per night on top of the room rate etc.

The first one I stayed at in Northern California was redone, and actually pretty nice - the worst was near Billings in Montana - a bit sketchy, but I always felt safe (maybe having a 100lb dog helps).  Biggest boon was, that with AARP discount, I never paid much more than $60 per night, dog included, wheras many other chains would have been $160, once I took the pet fee into account.  But, haven't stayed at once since!

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Just looked up The Orlando motel 6 we stayed at on TripAdvisor, rated #308 out of 360 hotels in Orlando lol. Wonder what #s 309-360 are like!

Possibly my most disappointing stay was at the Waldorf Astoria in nyc - on a work trip a few years back - it’s now part of Hilton. The entrance /lobby was grand and I’m sure some of the rooms were too, I think there are two towers and one is old-style Waldorf, but the room I was in was exactly like any other “business class” Hilton anywhere. It was almost identical to the Hilton in Sandton once inside the room! I was expecting something special but .... nada. 

Edited by SJ272

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I have learned over time no matter how fancy the Hotel is always run the shower in the bathroom before you unpack, often the bath is blocked up with hair and other matter that the water builds up before draining out. So you could be standing in all sorts of fecal matter.  If the shower/bath does not drain.  Ask for another room or get housekeeping to fix it immediately.  Another tip is to unplug the phone at night. We once got a call at 2:00 am in the morning saying we were making too much noise, but we were actually fast asleep.  I gave the manager quite a dressing down the next morning, they gave us a $150.00 discount and $50,000 point credit but we would never stay there again. This was in an upmarket Hilton. So there are no guarantees with any of the hotels.        

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