Your Social Security Number has arrived!  You are now a human being who exists in the USA.  This nine digit number gives you immediate authorisation to set up a bank account, apply for jobs, set up medical insurance and apply for your state identification card.   Treat your SSN as you would your bank account PIN code: safe and secure.  Do not carry it around with you.  Identity Theft is real and you do not need that in your life.

You are now able to set up your bank account.  You will need roughly $100 to open the checking account which will likely be accompanied by a savings account.  Opening an account is pretty simply and fairly quick, just remember to take your passport and SSN for identification purposes. We used the Transfer Wise Website to transfer all the money from the UK account to the new USA account and in doing so, avoided multiple transfer fees.

Despite the accent, you are beginning to slowly but surely, fit in.  You are now able to go shopping without exchange rates and international fees flooding your brain as you line up in Nordstrom with your cute LBD and your morning coffee experience is much more enjoyable as you no longer have to witness the judgemental eyes of the store assistant as she mesmerisingly stares at your Natwest card, as you would a UFO.

Next on your list will be ‘State Identification Card‘.  You will need to go to the Pennsylvania Department of Transport (PENDOT) or your state equivalent, to apply for your State ID.  This is not a driving permit nor a driving license but it will save you having to carry around your British passport for identification purposes.

When you step foot into PENDOT you will feel miserable.  To date, it is the most depressing place in Philadelphia, filled to the brim with dull-faced people sat waiting.  Waiting for their number to eventually appear on screen.  One very dull hour later, your number will show and you will take your evidence to an employee who will scan and assess it, in exchange for your ID. This process costs $25 (cheque only) and is surprisingly the cheapest part of the whole immigration process.

Timmy and I did not do our research sufficiently and therefore ended up spending two miserable Saturday mornings left comatose by the smells of stagnant cannabis from the Philadelphian locals who were also waiting in line at PENDOT.

In our defence, the evidence list required for the K1 fiance Visa applicant online did not state ‘marriage license’ so when being told that they would not be able to process my ID for a fiance visa without a marriage license we were baffled.  Despite the fact that their information online was incorrect, still to this day, Timmy and I cannot comprehend why one who has a K1 fiance visa needs to provide the required evidence of a marriage certificate in order to gain ID. After all, the fiance visa is a gateway to marriage.

So again, we were left to pointlessly wait until after our ‘Wedding day’ to then repeat our Saturday morning two weeks later, at PENDOT.

We therefore took two steps forward and one back, feeling pretty sour towards the one of many, bumps in the road on our bittersweet ‘journey of a thousand miles’.



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