Welcome to the US of A. Now that you are going to be here for long, please take time to read this post and save yourself (and others) some time/energy.
If you are a contractor, I presume that you are on East Coast and most likely in NJ area…..
First thing you would need here is a cellphone and a calling card to call up home (India?).
There are a couple of T-Mobile stores around NJ and NY which help people with no credit to get a postpaid (contract) cellphone.
One such T-Mobile store is Hi-Touch Wireless, Stelton Road, Piscataway, NJ
For cell phones…
a) Sending SMS – Sending and receiving SMS costs money
b) calling up people randomly just because you are bored – Incoming calls are NOT FREE in peak hours
There are lots of options for calling home – Reliance, Airtel, StanaCard etc. Just a Google search will show you many more options. And then there is a whole world of VoIP as well.
Second thing you would need is a bank account – more specifically a Checking Account.
Depending on where you are on East Coast, you may chose your bank. I found Bank of America to be very convenient. Many banks have “Refer a friend” offers, use them to make some free money by the way of referral bonus.
Next thing is getting a Social Security Number (If you studied or worked – F1/H1/L1 in the US in the past, you already have one). Best time to apply for a SSN would be two weeks after your arrival in the US.
Once you get SSN, you can apply for a “Secured Credit Card” which would help you build Credit History.
*** You need to UNLEARN the habit of applying for too many credit cards, late payments and maxing out the Credit Line/Limit ***
Get a driving license too. Except for a few metros (mostly on the East Coast), US public transport sucks. Driving around is the best mode of transport in US. Otherwise you’ll be at the mercy of some one else to transport you around.
The above mentioned tasks would get completed in the first 5-6 weeks of your arrival in US.
In case you are looking out for a job or meeting people for business, consider buying decent clothes in case you don’t have them already.
You need to have a formal suit and a matching tie, leather shoes for attending interviews in person.
Check the weather, address/map, train/airline schedule before you travel. (and need I say carry an umbrella, coat etc.?)
Google/Yahoo is very useful in searching for information on deals on hotels, air tickets blogs etc. Its an essential skill.
Have your contact numbers, address handy (local contact, employer, office telephone/fax numbers etc)
- Learn to use voice mail effectively
- Get into habit of checking weather
- Internet is beyond email, chat, cricket score, movies, mp3s and duh! porn!! So use it effectively
- You are on your own, so learn to be ***independent ***
So next time, before you bug some one for general information, probably someone like me (who is tired of babysitting fellas) has taken the pains to document it on the internet. PLEASE read it.
Before you start to US ….
There will be an Indian grocery store within your vicinity, which stock ready-to-eat packs, maggi noodles, spices – MDH, MTR; pickles, so avoid carrying this stuff from India. Use your baggage limit for better purposes – viz. home made masala, pickles, chutney powders, sweets you are fond of, mom’s specialties etc.
Carry ready-to-eat stuff for a week or so, just to help you survive in a new place if it doesn’t have a kitchen.
Carry a few $1 bills and a few quarters (25c), they are very handy on the airports.
If you have a cell phone which can work in US, bring it here and you can save $130 with T-Mobile.