Arriving in the U.S.: first steps

  1. Getting a bank account: Agonne Abri Credit Union  (only the on-site branch) allows you to open a bank account without a Social Security Number (SSN). However, you must provide your SSN as soon as you obtain one.
  2. Applying for a Social Security Number (SSN): You must be in the U.S. for 10 days before you can apply for a SSN. Information about paperwork you need to fill out is available online.
  3. Finding an apartment:
      1. Consider these questions when looking for an apartment: What is included in the rent? What kind of maintenance are you responsible for? What kind of parking is available? Do you have access to a washing machine and dryer? Are there any additional costs? Is there an exercise room?
      2. Contact the Newcomers Assistance Office at ext. 2-8472 for area information and for potential living addresses. Some rental complexes provide an Argonne discount.
  4. When you move into your new home: Contact utility service providers, such as ComEd (electricity), Illinois American Water (water), Nicor (natural gas) and TV/internet providers, to have services turned on. Ask your landlord who the best companies in the area are.
  5. Drivers License/ID Card: Once you have a SSN, you can get an American Driver’s License or Identification (ID) card through the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles. Information about obtaining a Driver’s License or ID card is available online. Note: some countries have an agreement with the State of Illinois, so you may not need to take a driving test.
  6. If you came to the U.S. with family and your spouse is not eligible for a SSN, your spouse has to get a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License through the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles.
  7. Getting a car:
      1. You must have an American Driver’s License.
      2. To get a bank loan for a vehicle in the U.S., you need a credit history. With a SSN and a U.S. drivers license, Argonne Abri Credit Union (on-site branch) may be able to help you obtain a loan for a vehicle. Or you might want to think about leasing a car, particularly if you are in the U.S. temporarily.
      3. It is recommended that you purchase an I-Pass. Chicagoland has some Toll Roads. You can pay tolls in U.S. coins or with an I-Pass device. Using an I-Pass is 50% less costly than paying in cash.