Because we guide immigrants through the bail bond process, we deal with a lot of immigrants on a daily basis. Some have adjusted, and others are still finding their way through the U.S., learning as they go. Here is some advice for new immigrants in the U.S. that we hope is helpful.
In the U.S., credit score is king. Though there are some countries around the world that keep a credit score, no other country in the world takes it as seriously as the U.S. Your credit score follows you around for your entire life, and every financial decision you make follows you with that score.
There are plenty of ways to build good credit, but it’s simply too much to delve into all of these credit tips here. There is no decision too small or mistake too short to make a difference. Even missed credit card payments can hurt you. For the most part, we want to tackle some of the most important advice for new immigrants in the U.S. on how to build and maintain a good credit score.
Your first hurdle is creating credit. “Immigrants moving to the U.S. often face a difficult financial situation — even if you have great credit in another country, it doesn’t transfer when making the move to the United States,” says Jackie Nelson, Staff Writer at Reviews.com. If you don’t have credit history, you cannot get loans or credit cards. It’s a catch 22.
You have 2 options:
- You can either sign up for a high-interest rate, prepaid credit card known as a “secured credit card” that your bank will allow you to use for several months to determine your payment habits.
- You can ask someone you know in the U.S. (a friend or family member) to add you as an authorized user on their credit card. This is the best method. If approved, you can wait just a few months and you will have the same credit score and history as the person as your family member.
The Value of Money
You have to change the way you view money in the U.S. This piece of advice for new immigrants in the U.S. is often overlooked; but the fact is, you are not used to how much things cost. If you come from a third world country, it’s easy to see how “low” the cost of living is in the U.S. However, you have to remember that those low values correspond to the value of the money. Each dollar is worth more, it’s more difficult to make each dollar, and those dollars can buy more.
Don’t go on spending sprees until you understand the value of the dollar.
We recommend equating how much your time is worth. If you are working at an hourly rate, use that to decide how much to pay for things. Think of every purchase in terms of the hours you worked to make that money. Also, feel free to ask people you trust if a purchase is cheap or expensive. Never ask the sales assistant, always ask someone you can trust.
Always stay informed about immigration laws. There might be subtle changes that can and will affect your visa or green card. You don’t want to be detained and fighting for an immigration bond. Always stay on the right side of the law. Know what counts as grounds for deportation, and remember that the U.S. is a country governed by lots of laws.
Keep Records of Everything
Keep everything you get. Agreements, contracts, any immigration documents – everything – and stay organized. As an additional piece of advice for new immigrants in the U.S.: take time to put everything you get in order to make it easier for you to find later. If you find yourself in a lawsuit at some point, people can get really nasty. Be ready and have everything documented.
Don’t Just Sign!
Always talk to a trusted friend or family member before you sign anything. You can always come back to a deal, but you cannot take back a signature.
Do your best to learn the language as soon as you can. It will make your life easier as you navigate through the United States: applying for jobs, loans, meeting people, and more. Keep a close tie to your native language because using both will be fantastic, but the more you understand English the better.
Don’t Sit At Home – Explore!
If you take no other immigration advice from this post, we hope that you at least take this piece of advice. It is very easy to feel overwhelmed and retreat to comfortable spaces. Maybe you want to stay home or only spend time with friends and family. This is a mistake, and the biggest mistake you can make when you immigrate. It’s imperative that you get out and explore. You will know you’re on the right track if it is difficult and feels uncomfortable. It should be difficult, but the rewards are worth it.
Talk to People & Ask Questions
Embrace your naivety and ask questions. Whether you are looking for immigration-related resources or you just want to know what the best item on the McDonald’s menu is, do not be afraid to ask. Everyone loves to talk about their culture, so ask Americans questions and you’ll be surprised how helpful they will be.
Immerse Yourself in The Culture
Eat American food, make American friends, date American people! Read the news, go to local events, become an American. You will assimilate soon or later, so rather sooner than later. Don’t be shy, get out there and mingle.
Other Important Immigration Advice
You Will Miss Home
It’s inevitable, but that’s why you should get out of the house and mingle with locals. Keep yourself busy and remember that America is now another home. This is your chance to make it the best home possible.
Be Careful of Other Immigrants
Everyone has a unique experience, and immigrants all have their troubles with the process of moving to America. Don’t let the negative people get you down. Take all the immigration advice you can with a grain of salt. Learn to make up your own mind and choose experience over advice at times.