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20
Dec

How students can apply for a Social Security number

How immigrant students can obtain a Social Security number.

Whether its to send money to their home country or to get a more rich experience about what working life is like in the U.S., immigrants who are temporarily in the country to attend college often like to work while they're going to school. However, in order to do so, immigrants are strongly encouraged to get a Social Security number.

To help immigrants obtain one, the U.S. Social Security Administration offers some advice.

For starters, a Social Security number is a nine-digit figure that every citizen is assigned, indicating they are authorized to work in the U.S. In addition to being used as a primary source of identification, it also determines a person's eligibility to receive benefits in the form of financial assistance when they retire.

Getting one cannot be done simply by enrolling with a college or university. Instead, the SSA advises immigrants to let 10 days go by after arriving in the U.S. to begin classes. At the end of this period, they should apply for a Social Security card by filling out a SS-5 form. Once this is filled out, applicants should take the document to their local Social Security office, along with documents that confirm their immigration status, their age, who they are and their work eligibility. Forms of identification that are best include I-551, I-94 and 1-766 forms. I-94 forms can also be used to corroborate one's immigration status. These are also called Arrival/Departure records.

To establish one's work eligibility, SSA says it needs a letter from an immigrant's potential employer that details what the job title is, when the employment start date will be, the number of hours being worked and the potential supervisor's name and phone number.

While obtaining a Social Security number is a beneficial thing to do for a variety of reasons, the SSA says it does not require immigrants to have a Social Security before starting work. However, because the Internal Revenue requires employers to report wages at tax time using their employees' Social Security number, it's in immigrants best interest to obtain one.

In the meantime, if an immigrant has already been hired and has already gone through the Social Security application process, a letter can be obtained through the SSA that details the immigrant has applied for a Social Security card and number. This serves as proof that an immigrant is authorized to work in the U.S.

Helpful links:

Form SS-5

International students and Social Security numbers

19
Dec

Some of the steps involved in applying for a relative’s permanent residency

How to help relatives become a permanent resident of the United States.

Once immigrants have established themselves in the United States by finding a place to live and securing a job, they often use it as an opportunity to send money to their home country who may be struggling financially. But immigrants can also use their new-found residency to help a relative become a permanent resident of the U.S.

To help immigrants go about this, U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services offers some tips for how to get the process started and what they can expect.

According to the USCIS, immigrants start by filing an I-130 form, which is called a Petition for Alien Relative. Eligible relatives include an immigrant's spouse, their children, parents or siblings. Immigrants will need to have proof indicating they are, in fact, related to the person applying for permanent residency.

Once the petition has been filled out and submitted to the USCIS, it basically reserves a place in line with others who are also waiting to immigrate to the U.S. Where these relatives will be placed in that line is on a first come, first-serve basis, so the earlier the petition is filled out and handed in, the shorter the wait will generally be.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the immigrant is a U.S. citizen and the relative is an immediate family member, there is no waiting list for these relatives. As a result, once the I-130 petition has been approved, the U.S. Department of State will invite them to apply for an immigrant visa.

While this can expedite the process, immigrants should be aware that their relatives can't stay in the U.S. while awaiting approval. USCIS says that if relatives live outside the U.S., they need to remain there until they have been approved. However, if an immigrant's family member already lives in the U.S. and entered legally, they can apply to update their status to permanent resident while awaiting the approval process.

By filing a petition for a relative's permanent residency, immigrants should be advised that there are some strings attached. For instance, USCIS that once a relative has been approved, the immigrant who originally filed the petition on behalf of their relative must agree to become their financial sponsor. Immigrants will be evaluated to see whether they have the assets to do this after filling out an I-864 form or what's called an Affidavit of Support. If the immigrant doesn't meet the necessary qualifications, another individual with enough assets will need to be identified before the process can move forward.

Helpful links:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigrant services
Form I-130
Form I-864

16
Dec

How to establish good credit history in the United States

Tips for building credit for those new to the U.S.

When immigrants move from their homeland to the United States, they may be unfamiliar with a lot of the rules and customs of the country. Because so many aspects of life are quite different, newcomers may not be sure where to start.

But financial experts say one of the first things immigrants should do to get their new life started is establishing credit to make it easier for them to get loans and be able to send money to those back home.

While immigrants have the ability to take with them all of their life's experience and know-how with them to the U.S., one thing they often can't take with them is their credit history. This can be unfortunate for those who have a strong credit history, as it can take years to develop. However, according to CreditCards.com, if immigrants had a history with a bank or lender that also services the United States, that may be a good starting point.

"We certainly would like to take care of a BarclayCard customer who is living in the U.S., and that can be arranged through a banker … by getting in touch with us separately," Barclays spokesman Kevin Sullivan told the source. Barclays is one of several lenders that operates both in the United States and in parts of Europe.

While institutions like Barclays and American Express won't be able to transfer credit history, they may be able to help immigrants open a new account based on their payment history, the source indicates.

But even if immigrants don't have much of a paper trail or any experience with credit, financial experts say that's not a problem, as everyone has to start somewhere.

A good launching point for these people is opening a secure credit card. The amount of money that can be spent will be equal to the amount that's deposited. Using the card on a regular basis and paying bills consistently will slowly but surely enable users to build a credit background that is represented by a three-digit score. These scores are tabulated and compiled by credit bureaus, the main ones being Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Credit reporting agencies determine these scores based on whether the users pay their bills on time and keeping credit card debt low. The higher the score – ranging between 300 and 850 – the better. High scores are an indication to lenders that there's less risk of a user not paying their bills or defaulting.

Another way to establish credit is through friends of family members. Some credit card companies allow users to "piggyback" on others credit profile as an authorized user. However, financial advisors say people should use this method cautiously, as if the friend has a poor credit history, it will poorly reflect on them both.

Financial advisors also recommend newcomers to the U.S. meet with a bank and ask if they can apply for a small loan. Documentation proving the borrower has assets will increase the chances they'll be approved. This includes employment history or a recurring bill statement.

Helpful Links:

National Foundation for Credit Counseling

AnnualCreditReport.com (1 free credit report check per year)

Experian

TransUnion

Equifax

29
Nov

Resources for newly arriving Filipinos working in the U.S.

Resources like ESL classes can be helpful for Filipinos who recently moved to the U.S.

Traveling to the U.S. for work can be overwhelming for Filipino women, but there are plenty of resources to help them adjust. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration reports that more than 3,000 workers immigrated to the U.S. last year for work, and there are currently more than 1.6 Filipino immigrants living and working in the country.

The Embassy of the Philippines provides all the necessary documents and information that Filipino workers will need when they arrive in America. The agency offers support for migrant workers for everything from renewing a Filipino driver's license to reporting marriages and obtaining work visa extensions.

One of the biggest challenges that many Filipino women will likely face when they reach America is learning the English language. While English is commonly spoken in more urban areas of the Philippines, many migrant workers come from more rural areas and may not know the language. There are many organizations across the country that offer English as a second language (ESL) courses to help Filipino people learn the main language, which will also be a valuable resource for integrating with American culture and society. It can be a good way for newly arriving immigrants to connect with other people from the Philippines as well.

Migrant workers who travel to the U.S. alone for work so they can send remittances to their families may find it difficult to be so far from their loved ones. Community support groups can be a great way for foreign workers to find people to connect with and share their experiences. This can also be a helpful resource for finding doctors who speak Tagalog and markets that sell food from the Philippines among other resources.

Filipino workers who want to send money to the Philippines to help out their families can use Xoom, an international money transfer company. Xoom offers a number of reliable, fast ways to send remittance to loved ones. Funds can be sent directly to the recipient's bank account or to nearly any bank in the Philippines. Transferring money with Xoom can take as little as a few minutes.

21
Sep

How to Wire Money to Germany with Xoom

How to Wire Money to Germany with Xoom

Technology makes everything easier, and that's definitely true for sending money overseas. International travelers may remember the hassle of wiring money before the advent of the internet, but nowadays its a simple few clicks with Xoom and your funds are on their way.

It's easy to wire money to Germany with Xoom, as the funds are deposited directly into your friend or family member's account. Direct deposit is both secure and convenient, and the money typically arrives in your recipient's account within minutes. The friend or family member in Germany can then access the funds easily through any ATM.

You can deposit your funds to any bank in Germany, including Postbank, Sparda-Banken, Commerzbank, Barclays Bank, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, Teambank, BayernLB, Landesbank Berlin and many others. Xoom will also display the current exchange rate when you make your transaction so you know exactly how much you are sending.

You'll need your recipient's bank account number in order to complete the transaction. Keep in mind that if you wire money after 4 P.M. on a weekday, German time, your funds will be deposited by 4 P.M. the next business day., also German time.

19
Sep

¿Cómo funciona Xoom en Mexico?

Si vas a enviar dinero a México, te recordamos cómo funcionan los socios de Xoom.

BTS-Bancomer

Ofrece los servicios de pago en ventanilla y depósito bancario. En ambas opciones se entrega en pesos mexicanos.

¿Cuánto demora en estar disponible el dinero?
Pago en ventanilla: 15 minutos
Depósito bancario: Disponible en 15 minutos

TN-Soriana

Ofrece el servicio de pago en ventanilla en pesos mexicanos.

¿Cuánto demora en estar disponible el dinero?
Pago en ventanilla: 15 minutos, de lunes a domingo de 8:00 AM a 10 PM

TN -Santander

Ofrece el servicio de pago en ventanilla sólo en pesos mexicanos.

¿Cuánto demora en estar disponible el dinero?
Pago en ventanilla: 15 minutos, de lunes a viernes de 9:00 AM a 4:00 PM y sábados de 10:00 AM a 2:00 PM

TN-Banamex

Ofrece los servicios de pago en ventanilla y depósito bancario. En ambas opciones se entrega en pesos mexicanos.

¿Cuánto demora en estar disponible el dinero?
Pago en ventanilla: 30 minutos de lunes a viernes de 9:00 AM a 4:00 PM y sábados de 9:00 AM a 2:00 PM
Depósito bancario: Disponible en 30 minutos antes de las 11:00 PM hora del D.F.

TN Banorte

Ofrece los servicios de pago en ventanilla y depósito bancario y se entrega sólo en pesos mexicanos.

¿Cuánto demora en estar disponible el dinero?
Pago en ventanilla: 15 minutos, de lunes a sábado hasta las 8:00 PM. Si el envío se hace después de las 11:00 PM, se entrega al día siguiente.

Depósito bancario: Disponible en una hora, de lunes a sábado antes de las 8:00 PM. Si el envío se hace un sábado después de las 8:00 PM, el dinero está disponible al día siguiente.  

17
Sep

¿Cómo funciona Xoom en Republica Dominicana?

Si envías dinero a la República Dominicana, ten en cuenta cuáles son las casas de cambio de dinero y los bancos socios de Xoom.

Caribe Express

Ofrece los servicios de pago en ventanilla y entrega a domicilio. En ambas opciones tú decides si el dinero se pagará o entregará en dólares estadounidenses o en pesos dominicanos.

¿Cuánto demora en estar disponible el dinero?
Pago en ventanilla: 20 minutos.
Entrega a domicilio: En promedio 3 horas, de lunes a viernes de 8:30 AM a 4:00 PM. Si el dinero se envía después de las 4:00 PM hora dominicana, se entrega al día siguiente.

Banco BHD

Ofrece los servicios de pago en ventanilla, entrega a domicilio y depósito en cuenta bancaria. Los pagos en ventanilla sólo se realizan en pesos dominicanos, y en el caso de entrega a domicilio o depósito bancario se puede optar por dólares o pesos.

¿Cuánto demora en estar disponible el dinero?
Pago en ventanilla: 15 minutos, de lunes a viernes de 8:00 AM a 4:00 PM.
Entrega a domicilio: En promedio 3 horas, de lunes a sábado de 8:00 AM a 4:00 PM y domingos de 8:30 AM a 12:00 PM. Si el dinero se envía después de las 4:00 PM o un domingo después de las 12 PM, se entrega al día siguiente.
Depósito bancario: Si se envía entre las 9:45 AM y las 3:00 PM (hora dominicana), el dinero se depositará alrededor de las 3:15 PM. Si necesitas el dinero antes, no te preocupes. Se realizan transacciones de lunes a viernes antes de las 9:45 AM y se depositan en la cuenta a las 10:00 AM.

BTS Banco del Progreso

Ofrece el servicio de pago en ventanilla sólo en pesos dominicanos.

¿Cuánto demora en estar disponible el dinero?
Pago en ventanilla: 15 minutos, de lunes a viernes de 8:30 AM a 4:00 PM y sábados de 9:00 AM a 1:00 PM.

15
Sep

Jamaica’s national dish: Ackee and saltfish with a side of breadfruit

Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica and one of the main ingredients in the national dish, ackee and saltfish. The fruit is not native to the Caribbean island, and is rumored to have come over on a ship from West Africa. While it has been introduced to Central America, Florida and nearby islands, Jamaica is the only place where the plant produces enough fruit to be canned and exported throughout the world. The canned ackee is primarily sold to expatriate Jamaicans living abroad, as very few other cultures include the fruit on their menus.

Fresh ackee, if prepared improperly, can be toxic, but there is nothing to worry about when it comes from a can, so expatriates can pick some up at the market to prepare a traditional Jamaican breakfast. Many Jamaicans who are working abroad send money to Jamaica so their families can buy the ingredients to make their own ackee and saltfish. Nothing brings families together like sharing a meal, even if they are doing so over long distances.

To make the national dish of Jamaica, you will need saltfish, ackee, a hot pepper (traditionally Scotch Bonnet peppers are used), onion, tomato and spices. The fish is sauteed with all of the vegetables and spices while the ackee boils. The fruit is added last and the entire concoction is heated thoroughly, and then it's ready to be gobbled down.

Since the dish is a bit on the spicy side, roast breadfruit can compliment it nicely. The fruit gets its name from the flavor it has once it has been cooked, which is said to resemble that of bread or potatoes. Breadfruit trees can be found around the world in countries near the equator, and since one tree can produce as many as 200 fruits in a season in certain regions, it is a very popular source of food.

Roasting a breadfruit is simple. All you do is remove the stem and roast it. Traditionally it is done over an open fire, but throwing it in the over at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour ought to do the trick if you don't have a fire pit. Once the skin has turned brown, just slice it, peel away the skin and serve.

26
Aug

¿Cómo funciona Xoom en Colombia?

Nunca fue tan rápido y fácil enviar dinero a y recibir dinero de Colombia. Puedes enviar dinero desde la comodidad de tu hogar y el destinatario puede recogerlo en efectivo a los pocos minutos en más de 981 puntos de pago en cualquier departamento del país o simplemente recibirlo como depósito en su cuenta bancaria.

Los puntos de pago en ventanilla son los siguientes:

Bancolombia: Los envíos de dinero normalmente están disponibles en 15 minutos para recoger en efectivo en pesos colombianos. Lo mismo ocurre con los envíos a cuentas bancarias si la transacción se envía entre las 6:00 AM y las 11:00 PM horario de Colombia.

El horario de atención varía según la sucursal. Por lo general es de lunes a viernes de 9 AM a 8 PM, sábados de 8 AM a 4 PM y domingos de 9 AM a 4 PM.

BTS-Davivienda: Los envíos de dinero generalmente están disponibles para recoger en efectivo en 15 minutos.

El horario de atención de Davivienda es de lunes a viernes de 9 AM a 4 PM y de 5 PM a 8 PM, y sábados de 10 AM a 4 PM. No se ofrece el servicio los domingos.

MMT-Macrofinanciera: También conocido como Cambios Country. Los envíos de dinero están disponibles en 15 minutos para que los destinatarios puedan recogerlos en efectivo.

El horario general de Macrofinanciera es de lunes a viernes de 9 AM a 4 PM y de 5 PM a 8 PM, y sábados de 10 AM a 4 PM. Los domingos se encuentra cerrado.

22
Aug

Bubble and squeak: A British breakfast favorite

Bubble and squeak is an English dish that is traditionally served with breakfast, and was popularized during the Second World War. The dish consists of leftover vegetables and potatoes all mixed together and reheated in a frying pan, which was a great way to help the war effort and make rations last longer. It gets its name from the bubbling and squeaking sounds it makes as it is cooked.

The earliest known recipe for bubble and squeak is found in the Maria Rundell cookbook from 1808. The recipe book itself was the most popular of its time, and sold more than half a million copies in the U.K. and America, according to The Guardian.

Bubble and squeak's major ingredients are potatoes and cabbage, but the dish often includes other veggies – such as Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots – and chopped meat has become a common ingredient, although Maria Rundell version calls for it to be served over "raredone beef, lightly fried."

This dish is easy enough to prepare, as long as there are some leftover vegetables available, and many people who are working in other countries can make this meal to quell homesickness. Jamie Oliver, a Food Network chef, recommends that the recipe should be a bit more than half potatoes. The dish is simple, especially since the ingredients will likely already be cooked.

If you are starting from scratch, you will need to cook the potatoes and vegetables together in a pan for about 20 minutes. Then, heat some olive oil in a pan and throw the mixture right in there. Mash everything together so it forms a thick, veggie-pancake. Flip it in pieces and mash it back together until the whole thing is crispy and golden brown.

You can add in chunks of sausage, bacon or whatever meat you desire or you can serve them separately. Making this dish with leftovers can also be a good way for Brits to save some extra cash to wire money to their families back home.

A variation of the dish was even served at the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in April. The bubble and squeak was wrapped around a confit shoulder of lamb to make it more elegant and royal wedding-appropriate.

It was only one of many canapes offered to guests of the wedding, according to CNN. Other bite-sized treats included Cornish crab salad on lemon blini, pressed duck terrine with fruit chutney, miniature watercress and asparagus tarts, chocolate ganache truffles, miniature Yorkshire puddings with roast fillets of beef and horseradish mousse and smoked haddock fishcakes with pea guacamole.