Importance of Having a Transportation Plan Prior to Arrival

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The Resource Center content, including all videos and other media, is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice. The advice and information contained in the Resource Center is not a substitute for financial advice from a professional who is aware of the facts and circumstances of your individual situation


Hello, everyone. My name is Presley Owusu-Bonsu, and I'm an international deployment advocate.

Hi, everyone. My name is Violet Bird. I'm on the arrivals team.

And welcome to today's webinar, and we are going to be discussing the importance of having a transportation plan prior to your US arrival.

So why is transportation important?

Whether you know how to ride a bike, use a flight to travel, train, boat, or car, it's very important to know how to get around town.

And so we think that the importance of having transportation is to know how to get around town, and it also helps you to get to know your own city and also you can be confident when you know how to drive in a new country, and also helps you adjust quicker in the US.

From personal experience, I grew up in a city where transportation was easily accessible, trains, bus, you name it. Unfortunately, when I moved to a different city, it was a a rude awakening where I had to learn how to drive and figure out how to get around town. So it's definitely important to know what your transportation plan is.

Do you wanna share?

Yeah. Absolutely. So I, was kind of the opposite. I grew up in a city where transportation was not as readily available.

And so in order to have the independence and the ability to get around in my day to day life driving was a necessity for myself, my siblings, my parents, my friends, everyone I knew growing up.

It was pretty much given that you were going to get a driver's license and become someone who was able to transport yourself from place to place.

So on that topic, different cities, different states in the United States, they all have different standards of public transportation accessibility.

Pretty much the only common thing is that public transportation in the United States is largely less available than it is in most other countries and probably most likely less available than where it is that you're coming from and what you're used to. So in the United States, depending on the state and city, depending on how populous the area is, they might have a larger availability of public transportation. But on the whole, it's not considered a very reliable method of transportation when you're here in the United States unless you're somewhere in one of our really big metropolises like New York City, LA, Chicago.

That's those are pretty much the big three. So if you're just about anywhere else, you might have a local bus, you might have local taxis, but the schedules that those run on are not going to be very frequent.

In the cases of the taxis, you'll probably have to call the service. You won't be able to just wave one down in the street.

And so even when using those services, you really have to plan ahead. And because they don't run very frequently, you might not be able to get where you're going when you want to go there. So It's incredibly important to have an idea of what the public transportation is like in your city and understanding that it might not be the most reliable method of transportation. As far as when you have to get to and from work, the bus schedule might not align with your work schedule.

Depending on the city, there's the possibility that it could be a walkable area. So you might have some grocery stores, some schools within walking distance. But in most cases, I would say that's pretty unlikely. About an average commute to work time is about a twenty to thirty minute drive for most Americans.

Same thing goes for schools. A lot of our areas are very are more rural and so they're a little more spread out. So relying on a walkable area is not necessarily going to be the best idea. It's not gonna be the most reliable thing. It'll probably cost more. There's a good chance that your area just might not be walkable.

But to really understand what all is available in your area, it's always best to do research on your city ahead of time. If you have questions, you can always reach out to your IDA. They can kind of give you an idea of whether or not your city will have readily available public transportation or walkable grocery stores, schools, your assignment.

Another thing that people think that they are going to be able to rely on will be Uber's or Lyft's ride share options.

In some cases, this might work for you. In others, some of our more rural cities, they don't have readily available Ubers and Lyfts. Those services are fantastic when they are abundant, but in some areas, they haven't really reached there.

They haven't become as popular yet. And in those cases, a lot of times ride shares can become incredibly expensive. And so on the whole, the most reliable option, the cheapest option is always going to be to rely on yourself for your public transportation. Awesome.

Now let's talk about ways that you can start thinking about transportation.

And so Health Carousel PassportUSA has partnered with International Auto Source.

Now this is a car service where they are able to provide all of our nurses brand new cars. This is so exciting where the loan amount is not restricted to $25,000.

There is no haggling with dealers for the best vehicle prices. You don't even need to start the process with a social security number. Excuse me.

Or a good credit score.

From past experience, you would need a a good credit score, social security number in order to finance or purchase a car. But this eliminates that process. You also get factory direct prices. Now international auto source has partnered with Nissan and Subaru.

So that is so exciting where you can have access to such cars.

You can also shop a wide selection of other vehicle brands in one place. Their point of contact will guide you through the process if you need to start working with them.

They also have home delivery service. So right after you have arrived and you have selected a car, once the car has been made available, they will directly deliver it to your address of your choice.

It also with the services comes with a free rental car upon arrival.

So right after you have arrived in the US, usually the next following day, your arrival coordinator, which is someone that will be assisting you your first few days after arrival, will take you to the car rental to pick up your free car rental. And the good thing about this is you can use it up until they deliver your car that you selected with IAS.

Also, you have access to low rate auto insurance with no membership fees or driving history.

Also, you have access to driving lessons to obtain a driver's license if you're looking forward to do that if you don't know how to drive yet in the US. Also, they can deliver your car in all fifty states no matter where you are, they will find you and deliver your car that you have selected with them.

Also, they will provide guidance through all your vehicle licensing and registration requirements depending on your state. If you would like more information about IAS, please reach out to your point of contact in the program. They'll gladly send you all their information, their brochures, their flyers. That way you can reach out to them and see what their car selections look like. They do provide modules of cars within the year that you're arriving. So once you have a better idea of your deployment, please reach out to them if you're interested in their services.

Alright. So another transportation option that we have is Advancial Credit Union.

So, Advancial Credit Union, they actually offer a lot of different services. They are a Credit Union as their name suggests.

So through them, you are able to actually open a checking account prior to your arrival in the United States. They also offer auto loans. If you want to get a credit card through them, they offer that service as well. So they offer a wide variety of financial services. And they're a really great option because like IAS, they understand that, you know, most of you aren't going to have Social Security numbers yet. You won't have a credit, and so they're able to work around those things to help you get loans and credit cards and get set up with the things that you need in order to make those big dollar purchases. So Advancial Credit Union is a really great resource for this. As regards their auto options so they do not, like IAS does, sell you a car directly. They are not an auto seller or dealer.

They don't provide you with a rental car. What they do provide you with is an auto loan. So that auto loan is just, you know, it's money that you can put towards purchasing your own vehicle. So this would require doing your own research as to what kind of vehicles you want, perhaps dealerships in the area that you are wanting that you're going to be moving to.

But it does give you a little bit more flexibility with the type of vehicle you get. So as Presley mentioned, IAS will be a method of purchasing a new vehicle. It's not going to be used, and they have their different manufacturing partners.

But if you are looking for a different brand of vehicle or perhaps want to look into used vehicles, at Advancial Credit Union you can get a loan and then use that money to purchase a vehicle on your own and you can shop around a little bit in person.

However, this process does not happen overnight, so it is important to remember that with Advancial Credit union, you will not receive a rental car immediately upon arrival, the same way you will with IAS.

So you will need to make alternate plans for transportation for at least the first few days until you've had some time to explore your vehicle purchasing options. So this could mean getting your own rental car ahead of your arrival to the United States. Please bear in mind that if you do plan to get your own rental car, a credit card is required in order to receive a rental car, and the owner of that credit card must be present at the time of picking up the vehicle. So you can if you have an aunt or someone who is able to rent a car on your behalf, that person would need to be present at the time of picking up the rental car. If that is not an option for you, it's just important to kind of make sure that you've thought about how you will be getting around even if that is buses in the temporary. Uber's, Lyft's in the temporary. Just understanding that that's going to be a less flexible option, but making sure that you're planning ahead for that.

So to make sure that we know that you have put some thought into it. We will have you fill out what's known as a transportation declaration in which you will let us know that your intention is to get an auto loan through Advancial Credit Union, and then it will also ask you what your plan is for your transportation in the interval between the time that you arrive in the United States and the time that you are able to purchase a vehicle on your own.

Right, so if you don't think that IAS or Advancial Credit Union is not a good fit at the time of your arrival, no worries. Just like Violet said, we do need you to fill out a transportation declaration. That way, we know that you have at least some type of plan or an idea of how you're gonna get around town.

So some other resources that you may take advantage is if you have a family or friend in the United States already, they can go ahead and help you purchase a car on your behalf and meet you at your final destination.

Or like Violet said, as well, they can help you rent a car based off of their credit card system.

If you would like to purchase a used car, you would also have to find your own dealership, go to that dealership, and we are able to purchase in cash fully. That way you can avoid credit card checks, social security number, checks, and then eliminate any interference with banks and other institutions, if you're not going with IAS or Advancial Credit Union.

You can also use Uber or Lyft just like Violet said, the previous slide.

Do know that depending on your location, Uber or Lyft may not be easily accessible.

And there may be limited timeframes where you can use Uber or Lyft. So please, please research your area, to see what you have access to and see if such transportation like Uber and Lyft is accessible in your area and you're able to use that to and from work or to even get around town. And like we said, you would have to make sure you fill out a transportation declaration form right before you arrive. That way we know how best you're gonna get around town.

Alright. So we've done a lot of talking about making sure that you've found a way of getting your own car, you're having your own vehicle under your own control. Obviously, in order to be able to operate that vehicle, having a driver's license and having the skills to operate a vehicle on your own are a necessary thing. So some of you may have a lot of experience driving in your home countries, others of you may not have as much experience.

That is okay.

We have all kinds come to the United States. People get their driver's license at all ages. Not everyone always has their driver's license until they're an adult. It is pretty common practice for us to get them as we're growing up. But since, you'll be coming here as an adult, no worries. You can still get lessons.

So, during your arrival, if you do have a rental car from IAS, your arrival coordinator will assist you in just showing you the basic of how to operate that vehicle in case you're unfamiliar. They'll help you learn how to pump your own gas. They'll help you learn you know, what the different gears of the car are and all of that, all of those important details.

It's important to note that if you yourself are not comfortable driving your vehicle, but perhaps you have a spouse who is a little more familiar, with IAS your spouse is able to drive your rental vehicle. So their insurance, on those rental vehicles, are fully insured and it covers you, your spouse, or any other Health Carousel employee. So if you have a brother, a sister, a child, a cousin, none of those people would be covered under your rental car's insurance. It is only your spouse and other Health Carousel employees. So your spouse can drive your rental car on arrival day if needed.

However, it is best to, learn how to drive yourself so that way you are not relying on other people to be able to get you where you need to go and when. So if you already know prior to your arrival that driving lessons are something you're interested in and think that you would benefit from, you can let your IDA know, and they will let my team, the arrivals team knows that we can reach out and begin looking into driving lessons on your behalf.

As far as payment, you receive your continuing education allowance as one of the benefits of being a Health Carousel employee. That money can go towards receiving driving lessons.

Right. So, what do you do when you have dependents under eight years old? And you have your own vehicle, as a lot of states require that is a law that all any child under the age of eight had must have a car seat.

So this is very important that you consider. If you have any dependents that you're traveling with under the age of eight, especially toddlers or infants you wanna be able to make plans for their cart seat, as it is definitely a number one safety concern in the US.

So if you would like more information about that, please reach out to your IDA or your point of contact in the program. They will provide you links to various places where you can purchase them. We usually purchase them through Walmart. You can go through your own selection process, provide your preferred car seat for the child, and we will make sure that the arrival coordinator has this upon your arrival. Make sure they can also assist you on how to even set up a car seat in your own car. That way you're making sure that your dependent is safe wherever you go as well.

Again, it is a law, that we cannot pick you up without having a car seat for any dependent under eight years old. So please consider that. If you would like to bring your own, you're more than welcome to bring your own car seat or booster seat for any dependent under eight years old. Please do consider, the dependents height and weight as well. If they're over eight and they're under the weight or height requirement, they may need a booster seat so please do the research.

It's very, very important. Again, we cannot pick you up from the airport if you have a dependent under eight without a a car seat or a plan to have a car seat on arrival. So please do take note of that.

And again, if you choose for us to purchase a car seat on your behalf. we would gladly do so and make sure that the arrival coordinator has a car seat or booster seat readily available to use after you have arrived.

I would also like to add that it's not just your own vehicle that this is required in. If your transportation plan includes using Ubers or Lyfts or taxis or anything of that nature, children that are small are still required to be in a car seat. In those situations, you will probably need to provide your own. So there's no guarantee that an Uber will come with a car seat. There's no option for ordering Ubers that have the car seat pre installed.

So if that is involved in your plans for transporting yourself at all, you will still want to make sure that you have a car seat and that you won't know how to install it in the car of the rideshare that you are planning to use in order to transport your child.

And just to conclude on car seats, if you do choose for us to purchase on your behalf, do bear in mind that we will payroll deduct once you start working, for the price of the car seat just to keep that in mind.

Well, thank you all so much for joining the importance of having a transportation plan prior to arrival. I hope this gives you some type of idea and some decisions to make prior to your arrival.

Additional Resources
Transacting with International Auto Source (IAS)

Either for a car purchase or a rental car (the most convenient option). This company helps individuals from around the world to acquire a car, and who are about to leave for the U.S. and work. Even if you have no credit history yet in the U.S., they will be willing to work with you. We will connect you to an IAS agent to facilitate your car application. You will have to coordinate with them directly. One of the benefits of getting a car from IAS is that they will provide you with a free car rental for 45 days upon your arrival in the U.S. while waiting for the delivery of your vehicle.

Transact with Advancial

Advancial offers affordable rates and flexible terms for new and used auto financing and leasing. Also, enjoy an additional rate discount when you establish automatic payments.

Rent a car in the U.S. (not through IAS)

While you figure out when to buy a car. It is best that the car rental should be pre-arranged prior to deployment and you must submit to us a copy of the car rental agreement with insurance and the attached guarantee letter for transportation. Be reminded that you MUST have a major credit card to pick up the rental car along with the required type of foreign driver's license. Please reach out to your advisor for rental car discount codes.

Communicate directly with a car dealership in the U.S. to purchase a car

This option is for those who have the financial means to buy a car in cash a few days upon arrival in the U.S. While you process this in the U.S. you also have to rent a car. You should show us proof that you have a transportation arrangement via the transportation form that will be completed at a later time. Note that this option may be in your best interest if you have friends or family that can co-sign with you.

Will not get a car in the meantime and prefer to commute via Uber or Lyft as the primary mode of transportation

This option is allowed as long as you have made sure that you will be familiarized with the modes of transportation of the state you are deploying to and will arrive at your work on time. A one-hour trip via taxi or Uber can be very expensive. You can search for service availability in a specific city or town, enter pick-up or drop-off locations, and determine the cost and any other pertinent information directly online. This will help you determine whether or not using Uber or Lyft would be the best option for you.

Important Info Regarding Uber/Lyft:

  1. Before you arrive, visit the websites to search for service availability in your specific city. You need to develop a solid plan B for transportation to and from work in the event Uber or Lyft is not available. 
  2. Please note that the only way to pay for an Uber or Lyft is via a debit (ATM card) or credit card that you will need to be able to enter directly into their website or mobile app.
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The Resource Center content, including all videos and other media, is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice. The advice and information contained in the Resource Center is not a substitute for financial advice from a professional who is aware of the facts and circumstances of your individual situation