American adventures part 1 – SSN and bankaccount

I´ve been here for about two months now and slowly getting the things I need done.

My first objective after getting married(More on that in another post, after the ceremonial wedding :)) was getting a social security number(SSN).

First attempt at getting one failed pretty horribly. As it turns out, the nearest Social Security Administration(SSA) office in Kissimmee stopped dealing with registering new cards and we were sent off to Orlando. Unfortunately we had no time to drive up there that day.

The second attempt was more successful. We went up to the new SSA building up in Orlando, which was actually split into two separate buildings with one building specifically for dealing with social security cards. I had already researched and done the things required thanks to my wonderful sidekick and so didn’t have to do anything but wait.

In short, as a K-1 visa holder, I had to fill out the application form and bring my passport with valid visa(alternate ID requirement) and valid I-94. Due to recent changes in eligibility and status, I also printed the full list that proves I’m a “Legal alien allowed to work”. Apparently not every SSA employee has their knowledge up-to-date and other people were denied their social security card because of it.

Due to the very specific purpose of the building(social security cards), we waited about half an hour before it was our turn. I handed over my filled out form and passport and the guy started his work. At one point he called over a colleague. This had me worried that I had to actually use the list I had printed and argue my way to my SSN.

As it turned out, the computer did something he did not expect. Apparently it was supposed to seek confirmation of my papers electronically first, but it didn’t. It was asking him to send in the papers for confirmation by mail. He ensured me that they were going to do all that and that I had nothing to worry about. And sure enough, a few weeks later I got my social security card in the mail.

Now that I had my SSN the next thing we went to do was open a bank account. The bank of choice in this case is Chase. Due to a new policy(possibly as a result of the PATRIOT Act) I, as an immigrant, had to prove my current address. This proved to be somewhat difficult, because I don’t own a home or have bills in my name. In fact, I barely get any mail to begin with. I did have a letter from the SSA and one from the Dutch tax office. The SSA letter wasn’t valid proof and the Dutch tax letter was a bit iffy due to the fact that they had no idea what it was saying and as far as they’re concerned it could be anything.

They did accept this as proof of my address in the end, although it took a few hours. And so, after signing a few times and handing over $100 as an initial deposit, I now have an American bank account with a debit/”credit” card(It’s a debit card with a credit card number on it, apparently this is normal here) that I can use for other stuff. Like change my country on Spotify and finish my American PayPal account.

Next part will most likely describe getting my driving license. I’ve also yet to write about the courthouse wedding and post the pictures from that, even though I’ve promised people to do so at “the end of the week” about a month ago. Oops.