Support Your Expat

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Use these resources as your personal guide when talking with candidates and employees prior to moving or shortly upon arrival to the Dallas Region from another country.

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  • DFW MAP | The Dallas Region is home to some of the most livable cities in America. When deciding where to live, the sky is the limit. To help you understand living opportunities in the Dallas Region, communities are grouped into 12 distinct areas. Quick Links: DFW Map
  • POPULATION | The Dallas Region’s population of 7.5 million is larger than the combined populations of Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming!  We are the fourth largest metro area behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, but we have the lowest cost of living. Quick Links: DemographicsPeopleCost of Living Calculator
  • DIVERSITY | People of all backgrounds and interests will find a welcoming place in the Dallas Region. Quick Links: Demographics
  • AFFORDABILITY | The Dallas Region is one of the most affordable in the country for individuals. There is no state income tax in Texas. A typical middle management home is 223 square meters, has 4 bedrooms and 2 baths, and costs as much as 50 percent less than other major U.S. metro areas. Quick Links: Cost of Living Calculator
  • WEATHER | The average year-round temperature is 76 degrees Fahrenheit (24 Celsius), and the Dallas Region has more than 230 sunny days a year. Quick Links: Parks & Outdoors
  • GETTING AROUND | Our highway infrastructure is conducive to an easy commute. Quick Links: Highways | Drive Times | Public Transportation
  • TRAVEL | DFW International Airport is the fourth busiest airport in the nation, located midway between Dallas and Fort Worth with 1,850 daily flights, seven runways on 26.9 square miles (17,207 acres) property. Texas Central Railway is developing the first high-speed rail line in the United States, which will connect Dallas and Houston. Quick Links: Taking Flight
  • ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | The Dallas Arts District is nearly 70 acres – the largest urban arts district in the United States. Quick Links: Arts
  • SPORTS | Baseball. Basketball. Football. Hockey. Soccer. Whatever your passion, Dallas has a winning professional team to cheer on (and if you prefer a professional team from elsewhere, that’s cool, too, because chances are that team will be in town in the future). Quick Links:  Sports
  • SAFETY | The Dallas Region offers many safe and secure communities that are a great environment for families. Quick Links: Dallas Regional Map  | Family
  • INTERNATIONAL ESSENTIALS GUIDE | Newcomers are looking for a Dallas expert, someone to navigate the options when moving to the Dallas Region from an international country. Say Yes to Dallas provides an International Essentials Guide to help your candidates navigate a move to the Dallas Region. Quick Links: International Essentials Guide
  • 12-WEEK MOVING CHECKLIST | There are countless details to consider when your expat is preparing for an international assignment. This printable, 12-week moving checklist from Altair Global highlights important action items an expat will need to complete before departing to a new host location. Quick Links: Download Moving Check List
  • U.S. DESTINATION TIPS | Your expat will need to get established in the Dallas Region. This printable U.S. Destination Tips from Altair Global highlights all the important action items an expat needs to complete upon arrival in the Dallas Region. Quick Links: Download Destination Tips
  • SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (SSN) | Upon arrival in the U.S., a valid work visa will be required to apply, in person, for a social security number.
  • TIMELINE FOR SSN | Individuals may apply within 5-10 business days after final arrival. This timeline may vary depending on location. Once your expat has applied, it takes typically about 2 weeks to receive the social security card in the mail. A marriage certificate is required for the accompanying spouse. If the marriage certificate is not in English, your expat will either have to leave a copy with the Social Security Administration office to translate (which may take up to a month) or obtain a translation of the form from the country of origin’s embassy in advance and submit this along with the original certificate when applying.
  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR SSN | A list of required documents is below. A birth certificate is not a required document. However, rules can vary by location and taking an original birth certificate and letter of employment is recommended. Spouses only need the first three documents.
      1. Passport
      2. Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record from U.S. Customs and Border Protection
      3. Original copy of marriage certificate
      4. Work Visa
      5. Any other documents received by U.S. Immigration
  • OBTAINING A U.S. DRIVER’S LICENSE (Adults 18 and Older) | New Texas residents can legally drive with a valid, unexpired driver’s license from another U.S. state, U.S. territory, Canadian province, or qualifying country for up to 90 days after moving to Texas.
  • U.S. DRIVER’S LICENSE RECIPROCITY | Texas has license issuance reciprocity with France, Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan only. Expats who have a valid, unexpired driver’s license from one of these countries is not required to take the knowledge or skills exams if the out-of-country driver’s license is surrendered. However, if your expat does not wish to surrender the out-of-country driver’s license, all required exams must be taken and passed. The reciprocity only applies to passenger vehicles, not commercial vehicles or motorcycles. Foreign licenses not in English or Spanish will need to have a translation service or consulate translation prior to arriving. This translation requirement also applies for marriage licenses. An international newcomer with a driver’s license from any country other than the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, or Taiwan must take and pass both the knowledge and skills exams.
  • TIMELINE |  A new Texas resident can legally drive with a valid, unexpired driver’s license from another U.S. state, U.S. territory, Canadian province, or qualifying country for up to 90 days after moving to Texas. An expat must wait until receiving a Social Security number and card before applying for or testing for a U.S. license. Prior to the end of the 90-day grace period, a new Texas resident must apply for a Texas license in person at any driver’s license office to continue to drive legally. When applying for the new Texas license, the individual must surrender any unexpired U.S. state, U.S. territory, or out-of-country driver’s license.
  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Two forms of identification are required when applying for a U.S. driver’s license. A passport (including the I-94 card) must be accompanied by the newly obtained Social Security card.
  • QUICK LINKS | Expats can visit Texas Department of Public Safety  or call (512) 424-2600 for more information on obtaining a U.S. driver’s license in Texas. For more information on general reciprocal driving provisions, please review the Driving Privilege Reciprocity page.
  • PURCHASING OR LEASING AN AUTOMOBILE | ExpatRide provides assistance with car purchases or leases for new and used cars to individuals and businesses without a U.S. credit history. Competitively priced insurance can also be obtained for new or used cars. No U.S. driver’s license is needed to set up insurance coverage.
  • PURCHASING AN AUTOMOBILE TIMELINE | The process can begin before or after a move to the U.S.; 7-9 days from application approval to delivery of automobile.
  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO PURCHASE AN AUTOMOBILE | A U.S. driver’s license may or may not be required in your state. However, the following documents are required in order to apply:
      1. Copy of passport with photo and work visa
      2. Copy of valid driver’s license
      3. Letter of employment stating salary, term, and allowance
      4. A Social Security number and card are required to register a vehicle and take possession.
  • OBTAINING AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE | Insurance costs vary state by state, city by city, and zip code by zip code. In order to get a quotation for automobile insurance, a description of the car and the address of permanent housing is needed. If the home country automobile insurance provider will issue a safe driver certificate, individuals can bring the document and may be eligible for a lower insurance rate
  • OBTAINING RENTER’S INSURANCE | Insurance can also be purchased through the same company that provides automobile insurance. Renter’s insurance is strongly recommended (and may be required by the lease for the new property). This type of insurance protects individuals from loss or damage to personal effects. More importantly, it provides liability insurance for accidents to others that might occur on property.
  • AUTOMOBILE QUICK LINKS | Visit ExpatRide for more information on purchasing or leasing an automobile. Other resources to purchase an automobile include Edmunds and Carmax. Visit American International Group (AIG) for additional information on obtaining renter’s or automobile insurance.
  • OPENING U.S. BANK ACCOUNTS | U.S. banks and credit unions offer many financial services, checking/savings accounts, credit/debit cards, online bill pay, loans, insurance, and financial planning. Look for the acronym “FDIC” to be displayed to ensure the bank is insured. FDIC is short for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an independent agency created by the United States that insures up to $250,000 per depositor per bank and consumer protection is at the core of its mission.
  • TIMELINE TO OPEN U.S. BANK ACCOUNTS | Opening a bank account is one of the first major tasks that can be accomplished upon arrival into the U.S. Accompanied assistance to set up a local bank account takes an average of two hours.
  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO OPEN U.S. BANK ACCOUNTS | The documents and information typically required to open an account with a U.S. bank are:
      1. Two forms of photo identification such as a passport, visa, and/or employment ID
      2. Social Security number (some banks do not require a social security number)
      3. Local mailing address (a local business address may suffice). Once permanent/temporary residence is established, an expat will need to update this information with the bank.
      4. Letter of employment
      5. Cash for initial deposit (ranges from $25-$500 depending on type of account being requested)
      6. Some financial institutions may have additional criteria.
  • OPENING U.S. CREDIT CARDS | If interested in opening a credit card in the U.S. without having a credit history, an expat can check with his/her bank to determine if the bank can issue a credit card against money that has been deposited into the account. An individual can make monthly payments on the card to help establish credit history in the U.S. If interested in opening a bank account prior to arrival to the U.S. or applying for a credit card without having credit history in the U.S., Altair partners with HSBC who can assist your employees with these processes.
  • ARRANGING AND CONTRACTING FOR UTILITIES IN THE U.S. | “Utilities” describe the services provided by the electric, gas, television, cable, satellite, internet, and telephone companies. Some utility companies may require that a deposit be paid prior to establishing service. If a deposit is required, the customer service department representative will provide the amount due and how payment must be made. Some deposits may seem unusually high, but the collection of deposits is standard in the U.S. for anyone without a U.S. credit history. Any required deposit will most likely be refunded in its entirety after a period of time (typically one year or less).
  • UTILITY QUICK LINKS | Visit AT&T and Verizon for television, internet, cellular, and telephone. Visit Power to Choose for electricity and Atmos Energy for gas utilities in Texas.
  • TIMELINE TO ARRANGE UTILITIES | Each utility company has its own timeline and waiting period. Contact utility companies directly as soon as all required documents have been obtained.
  • DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO ARRANGE UTILITIES |  Recording or service representative may state that a Social Security number and/or a U.S. state driver’s license are required to set up utilities. For an expat who has not yet obtained these documents, the individual can inquire if a passport can be used in lieu of these standard forms of identification. When requesting service, an international newcomer will typically need to provide the following information:
      1. Social Security number and/or passport number
      2. Address of residence and a daytime telephone number
  • OBTAINING CELLULAR SERVICE | Cellular service is difficult to obtain without a U.S. credit history. While a contract may be possible, the provider will likely charge anyone without a U.S. credit history a high deposit to be paid before establishing service. To avoid high deposits, an expat can purchase a prepaid or pay-as-you-go phone. Several cellular phone providers offer prepaid plans allowing cellular phone service without a contractual agreement. Most prepaid plans offer international long distance plans. This type of service requires the user to purchase additional minutes on an as-needed basis.