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Hello everyone,

 

I am living in Canada and my spouse is in the US. She is sponsoring me and our case is currently with NVC and by the looks of it, I will not be in the US for another 8+ months or so (hoping for it to be sooner of course, but it's looking quite unlikely).

 

I saw a thread about tips and tricks for building a credit score in the US but, I'm not sure if I saw anything that relates to my current situation.

 

Because I won't be living and working in the US for at least 8 months and I won't have a SSN until then, how can my wife and I get a joint credit card to start building our credit score in the meantime? Is this even possible considering I don't have a US SSN? Is opening a US credit card even possible let alone building credit? I don't have a US bank account either and I'm not sure if that is required. My wife of course does have a bank account and has great credit. 

 

Would love any info that can be provided!

 

Thank you :)

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Brazil
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28 minutes ago, kryptonite said:

Hello everyone,

 

I am living in Canada and my spouse is in the US. She is sponsoring me and our case is currently with NVC and by the looks of it, I will not be in the US for another 8+ months or so (hoping for it to be sooner of course, but it's looking quite unlikely).

 

I saw a thread about tips and tricks for building a credit score in the US but, I'm not sure if I saw anything that relates to my current situation.

 

Because I won't be living and working in the US for at least 8 months and I won't have a SSN until then, how can my wife and I get a joint credit card to start building our credit score in the meantime? Is this even possible considering I don't have a US SSN? Is opening a US credit card even possible let alone building credit? I don't have a US bank account either and I'm not sure if that is required. My wife of course does have a bank account and has great credit. 

 

Would love any info that can be provided!

 

Thank you :)

Ask your spouse to add you as an authorized user. No SSN required.

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47 minutes ago, kryptonite said:

Hello everyone,

 

I am living in Canada and my spouse is in the US. She is sponsoring me and our case is currently with NVC and by the looks of it, I will not be in the US for another 8+ months or so (hoping for it to be sooner of course, but it's looking quite unlikely).

 

I saw a thread about tips and tricks for building a credit score in the US but, I'm not sure if I saw anything that relates to my current situation.

 

Because I won't be living and working in the US for at least 8 months and I won't have a SSN until then, how can my wife and I get a joint credit card to start building our credit score in the meantime? Is this even possible considering I don't have a US SSN? Is opening a US credit card even possible let alone building credit? I don't have a US bank account either and I'm not sure if that is required. My wife of course does have a bank account and has great credit. 

 

Would love any info that can be provided!

 

Thank you :)

Within 4 months after my wife's arrival via a CR-1, she had an established credit report and a credit record on CreditKarma.  Like you, she did not have a US SSN until 11 days after entry into the US.  Right after she received her SSN, I added her to my existing credit card as an authorized user.  Some cards (in our case, Citibank) report credit use directly to credit agencies for both primary and authorized users every time the card is used.  


"The immigration process demands a great deal of knowledge, planning, time, patience, and money.  A deficit in any of these areas can spell heartbreak."

   -GB, "old man of much life experience"

 

Retired 20 year United States Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

 

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It is possible to have US credit cards AND build credit history even BEFORE you get an SSN and even BEFORE you move to the US.

 

This is what happened to me:

 

1. Before I got an SSN

My husband added me as an authorized user to his Citibank cards in early 2021. I wasn't living in the US and I didn't have an SSN yet, so I was "invisible" to sites like Credit Karma. I couldn't even finish signing up. However, I knew I had some sort of credit history and was building some kind of credit score because I started getting credit card offers in the mail. I just didn't have a way to quantify what it was without an SSN.

 

2. After I got an SSN

I got my SSN last month. This month, I was finally able to create a Credit Karma account, and it immediately showed my credit history from early 2021, and was finally able to generate a credit score for me.

Edited by Adventine

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23 minutes ago, Crazy Cat said:

Within 4 months after my wife's arrival via a CR-1, she had an established credit report and a credit record on CreditKarma.  Like you, she did not have a US SSN until 11 days after entry into the US.  Right after she received her SSN, I added her to my existing credit card as an authorized user.  Some cards (in our case, Citibank) report credit use directly to credit agencies for both primary and authorized users every time the card is used.  

But this was AFTER your wife was already in the US, correct? For my situation, I won't be in the US for another 8 months give or take and I wanted to start building the credit while still living in Canada. Any insight on that? 

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3 minutes ago, Adventine said:

It is possible to have US credit cards AND build credit history even BEFORE you get an SSN.

 

This is what happened to me:

 

1. Before I got an SSN

My husband added me as an authorized user to his Citibank cards in early 2021. I didn't have an SSN yet, so I was "invisible" to sites like Credit Karma. However, I knew I had some sort of credit history and was building some kind of credit score because I started getting credit card offers in the mail. I just didn't have a way to quantify what it was without an SSN.

 

2. After I got an SSN

I got my SSN last month. This month, Credit Karma finally identified me in the system, showed my credit history from early 2021, and was finally able to generate a credit score for me.

Oh wow!

 

So even though you were "invisible" since early 2021, it was still calculating your score. That's good to know!

 

Thanks!

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9 minutes ago, kryptonite said:

But this was AFTER your wife was already in the US, correct? For my situation, I won't be in the US for another 8 months give or take and I wanted to start building the credit while still living in Canada. Any insight on that? 

Yes.   I think it might be difficult to establish a credit record without a SSN.  My point was that credit can be built and a credit report generated within a reasonably short time after receiving a SSN.  If your spouse can add you as an authorized user without a SSN, then do that.  Getting added as an authorized user is, in my opinion, the fastest way to start the process.

Edited by Crazy Cat

"The immigration process demands a great deal of knowledge, planning, time, patience, and money.  A deficit in any of these areas can spell heartbreak."

   -GB, "old man of much life experience"

 

Retired 20 year United States Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

 

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2 minutes ago, kryptonite said:

Oh wow!

 

So even though you were "invisible" since early 2021, it was still calculating your score. That's good to know!

 

Thanks!

 

No problem, I also edited my post a bit to clarify that I was building a US credit history even BEFORE I moved to the States :) Glad it helps.

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Just now, Adventine said:

 

No problem, I also edited my post a bit to clarify that I was building a US credit history even BEFORE I moved to the States :) Glad it helps.

Love that! Happy to see so many people on here with similar experiences. Makes this process a whole lot smoother.

 

How do you think Credit Karma or other agencies know that your credit history from early 2021 was tied to you after you got your SSN? Maybe with personal information like age and DOB? 

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1 minute ago, kryptonite said:

Love that! Happy to see so many people on here with similar experiences. Makes this process a whole lot smoother.

 

How do you think Credit Karma or other agencies know that your credit history from early 2021 was tied to you after you got your SSN? Maybe with personal information like age and DOB? 

Yes, they record several aspects of your identity.  Credit Karma is an excellent, FREE tool for monitoring credit.

Edited by Crazy Cat

"The immigration process demands a great deal of knowledge, planning, time, patience, and money.  A deficit in any of these areas can spell heartbreak."

   -GB, "old man of much life experience"

 

Retired 20 year United States Air Force Missileer (Retired E-8)

Retired Registered Nurse with practice in Labor/Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent Psych, Adult Psych

Retired IT Professional, Software Developer, Database Manager

 

 

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Yes, I think Credit Karma matched up my name, DOB, and address from my early 2021 credit history, with the info that I entered when I created an account with them. 

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Do you and your spouse file taxes together?  Do you have an ITIN?  That works, too.  As does the authorized user bit. 

 

Also, if you're in Canada, I'd recommend looking at RBC or TD and their cross border banking packages.  I had my RBC US bank account and US visa all based off my Canadian credit score before I even entered the US.  It's all shown on my US credit report.  It's also the easiest way to send money across the border because you can do direct transfers between your CAD and USD accounts without delays.  Nothing is more frustrating than American banking when you're used to the convenience of Canadian banking and things like direct, instantaneous transfers and EMT's! 


Montreal IR-1/CR-1 FAQ

 

Montreal IR-1/CR-1 Visa spreadsheet: follow directions at top of page for data to be added

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Also when he adds you to his bank account/ credit card your credit history will reflect it as an existing account from the day he opened the account not just from the day you were added. Since the length of existing accounts is a part of the score calculation that's a nice bonus.

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Some banks will add authorized users without an SSN. IME Chase will (easily done online) and Barclays will not.  
 

People without SSNs can indeed have credit scores and credit reports. 
 

 

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44 minutes ago, mam521 said:

Do you and your spouse file taxes together?  Do you have an ITIN?  That works, too.  As does the authorized user bit. 

 

Also, if you're in Canada, I'd recommend looking at RBC or TD and their cross border banking packages.  I had my RBC US bank account and US visa all based off my Canadian credit score before I even entered the US.  It's all shown on my US credit report.  It's also the easiest way to send money across the border because you can do direct transfers between your CAD and USD accounts without delays.  Nothing is more frustrating than American banking when you're used to the convenience of Canadian banking and things like direct, instantaneous transfers and EMT's! 

Can you explain a little more about the ITIN?
 

My spouse and I have been married since February 2020 and I haven't filed my taxes for last year. I remember both of us being confused on how to properly file our taxes in our respective countries. I did hear of the ITIN number and how I have to apply for one. Do I need this number to do my taxes in Canada? Or does my spouse need me to have this number for her to file her taxes in the US? And how does having an ITIN play into the whole credit card and credit score scenario?

 

Did you open a cross border banking account while you were in Canada with RBC? Then you opened a RBC US Visa card, or some other visa card? Was this US Visa card then helping you with your US credit score? 

 

Do you suggest I have my spouse open a new credit card and have me as an authorized user or should I go with this cross border banking route?

 

 

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