As a new alien resident of the US you will have to build your credit history from scratch.
This can only be done once you obtain your social security number. Make sure to give the bank that information right away, so you can start building credit history.
I mentioned a couple of ways to get a US dollar credit card using your Canadian credit history, but building a history with a US based bank is most important. It is also a must if you ever want to take out a loan, lease a car and avoid putting down large deposits in order to obtain basic utilities such as phones, hydro, etc.
A great way is to apply for a Prepaid Credit Card. (It’s a regular credit card, but you have to put your own money on it, in order to use it.)
Once you open your bank account, you have to apply for the card and put down a few hundred dollars.
It seems backwards, but with the credit crunch in the US, it’s one of the only ways to build credit.
Use the card normally like a credit card and make sure you pay it back/top it up each month.
It’s like a trainer credit card, so the bank sees that you will pay your bill on time.
The bank manager said it would take about a year to actually qualify for a real credit card but after a few months I started receiving credit card applications from other banks.
One myth that I’ve heard is to try and apply for retail store credit cards to build your history. This actually has a negative effect on your credit score and does not help to build credit.
If you have a Canadian AMEX card, you can apply for a US AMEX based on your Canadian credit history.
One downside is, not all businesses accept American Express.
If anyone has tips on how to build US credit, please share.