Useful advise for Expatriates | After moving from abroad to the San Francisco Bay Area you face quite a few changes. The following notes on topics such as Social Security, Driver License, Schools and necessary applications for water, electricity etc. should help a bit mastering the challenges.
No. 1: Social Security Number (SSN)
The U.S. American version of a pension insurance is called ‘Social Security’, and it’s not just making sure you’ll get a pension once you retire. It also provides you a basic heath insurance for the time after retirement. Every working man and woman in the United States is in posession of a Social Security Number (SSN). Without this 9 digit number you can neither work, nor open a bank account. There will be no chance for you to obtain a driver license. Also you will be asked for your SSN when buying a house or renting an appartment. Generally speaking you will not be able to live properly without this number. Each city got a Social Security Office. You will have to go there and apply for your own Social Security Account, including SSN.
No. 2: Schools
I have dedicated an entire web page to the topic Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please -> CLICK HERE.
No. 3: U.S. Driver License
As long as you can provide an SSN and an address to stay, you will be good to do the tests for a California driver license at your local DMV. In the United States the driver license can be indeed compared with a European ID or passport. Many US cititzens don’t have a passport, and there is no such thing in place like a “Personalausweis” in Germany. So the driver license will do it: identifying you wherever it is necessary. Compared to European prices a California driver license is very cheap. If you are already able to drive, it might not even cost you $100. With some driving school necessary you might face $700 all in all. Still a bargain to 2000+ Euros in Germany. The permit test at the DMV office should not be a problem. There are always 4 multiple-choice answers with each of the 26 questions you have to answer. 6 mistakes allowed :) After you successfully passed that it’s getting even easier: 10 Minutes of driving around the neighborhood. Done. For futher details and information about the nearest DMV office click here: http://apps.dmv.ca.gov/fo/fotoc.htm
No. 4: Applications for Gas, Water, Electricity, Landline, Garbage)