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Arizona - a few questions

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Arizona - a few questions

Postby dunc_b » Wed 25 Feb 2004 13:56 GMT

Afternoon,

I've had some good news - the embassy are up to july 31st processing I129F forms - Mine was recieed on August the 13 so anytim ein the next 2 weeks they'll hit August - and then I'll not be too far away form recieving the next load of paper work... Well, things are apparantly goign well, and I've done the bulk of the waiting. jsu tthough I'd ask a few vague questions

Does anyone live in AZ on this forum?
What the driving test like and do I need to had over my UK license?
What does eveyone do about health insurance on arrival?
I know I can't take my credit history with me - can anyone recomend any banks that'll be a little symathtic to my needs? ie - rented apartment and a Mustang GT!
Anything I can do at home to speed up my K1 visa issuing?

Any tips on absolutely anything will be most appreciated - I'm getting butterflies in my stomach!

Duncan
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Postby Savannah_Alan » Wed 25 Feb 2004 17:23 GMT

Hi Duncan,
wow, that's gotta be some sort of record, joining up May 7th, and the first post nearly 11 months later :shock:
Kudos for the marathon lurking :wink:

Anyway, welcome. I don't live in AZ, but may be able to provide some sort of help.

What the driving test like and do I need to had over my UK license?

I wouldn't sweat about the driving test anywhere in the states. The driving test here in Georgia is breathtakingly minimal and from what I hear, it's not too much harder anywhere else. If you have passed a British driving test, you are probably eminently more qualified than the examiners! Just a formality.
Here's a bit of advice I wish someone had given me. Tell them that you don't have a British driving license. Far more than it is a license to drive, the license over here is your picture ID. They don't want you to have more than one form of ID. Tell them a friend drove you to the test centre and keep mum about your driving license. Otherwise, they will take it away.
They took mine away (which I still dispute was not legal) and further than that, they then told me I can't go home to get my motorcycle to take the bike "test" because I just passed the driving test, they have taken my British license away and so now am not licensed to ride my bike back to the DMV! I say again, tell 'em you don't have a license.

What does eveyone do about health insurance on arrival?

Pay lots of money - hope the buggers'll look kindly on your fate when, god forbid, you're lying somewhere expecting treatment with your life in their grubby little hands. Hey - this is America!

I know I can't take my credit history with me - can anyone recommend...

This is a common problem for people first arriving here. Without a credit history, you just don't exist. You can't get credit, because you have no credit history - you can't get a credit history because no bugger will give you credit etc...
My advice - find a local friendly bank (depending where you are, they most likely know you and greet you by name at the door after the first day), and work with them.
Take out a tiny secured loan and immediately pay it back.
You can get some credit cards that are basically "Pay up front".
You will be able to get a credit card, but at very high rates. Get some and just play money with them - buy stuff - immediately settle the account.
You just need to make the "credit gods" know of your existence. You'll soon get known and you'll know you've made it when the phone start ringing incessantly offering you credit cards and your mailbox can't close due to the burgeoning "You're pre-approved" letters.

You will find that a lot revolves around your credit rating. Even the price you pay for your car insurance is affected by your credit rating.

Think that's about all I can help with right now. Good luck with it all. You must be getting pretty excited. Let us know how you get on.

Alan.
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Postby dunc_b » Wed 25 Feb 2004 21:52 GMT

Alan,

Thanks for the tips - I've got a shed load of work on right now so I'll hopefully have five to go though in a littl emore depth tomorrow... I will be leaving nmy license at home - I seem to remember someone else telling me about this...

The credit rating sound slike a nightmare -I'm going ot have a word with Barclays before I leave... what baks over there are any good anyway? Bank One - Wells Fargo?

I was in stiches reading someones comments about Gerogia earlier... sounds like some of tht thing I dislike are noticed by others too!!!

How I'm supposed to rent a flat with no credit is still puzzling me...

Also it affecting insurance when I have a passion for Mustang GT's is a worry!!!

cheers again, I'll be in touch tomorrow...

dunc
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Postby Graeme » Thu 26 Feb 2004 00:49 GMT

Hey dunc:
A lot of flats (we call them appartments out here) require a first and last months rent when you sign on the dotted, that means you give them double rent the first month and don't pay the last month you give notice. They may also require a security deposit up front and that is ususally about the same as the first months rent. So... bring lots of dosh and follow Alan's advice about building a credit history.
I love Arizona and have spent almost as much time there over the past 20 years as I have in Canada. I have family in Mesa, Tucson, and Sun City which helps. It's a great place to live and work the traffic is much better since the ring road was completed. They are working on an outer ring road now to cope with the new developments. My brother in law who lives there says they are building close to 100,000 new residences each year in the greater Phoenix area. I've sure seen some changes over the past few years.
I think you'll have a great time there, there are lots and lots of expats there if you really want to meet more Brits. By the way there is a really good East Indian Curry house I know of.......(salivates wildly)...
:D
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Postby dunc_b » Thu 26 Feb 2004 12:06 GMT

Curry House in Phoenix?!!! Woohoo!!! I'm going there early May - that address could be handy to take Ashley's parent out for some "British" cuisine - I'll have a look at some 'apartments' too.

I love the whole place, we've been lookng at Denver adn LA too - but when I come back to Phoenix I feel like I'm returning home if that makes any sense...

mail moe later - in work :wink:

d
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Postby Graeme » Thu 26 Feb 2004 15:13 GMT

I'll try to get the address for you dunc, I recall it's in the Glendale area. I know what you mean about "coming home" in the Phoenix area, it really is a neat place. I've seen it grow soooo much over the past 20 years that I find now I'm more interested in the out of the ways areas, while staying fairly close to the Valley of the Sun. If only it was closer, it's a 30 hour drive from here :cry:

:)
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Postby dunc_b » Thu 26 Feb 2004 19:19 GMT

That address would be great - I'd be interested to taste American Curry!!! I'm looking at moving either to Arrowhead area or down in Paradise Valley... Your family hav eany pointers for an emigre first time renter?!!!! or the proceess of buying a car? cheers d - it's snowing in the uk today!!!
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Postby Graeme » Thu 26 Feb 2004 20:33 GMT

I've emailed my folks and when they repsond I'll post the address, I remember the restaurant sells Bass beer, which while not great does help the curry slide down :D . The owners are from Nottingham I think and the curry really does taste like it's from UK. I've also asked for info on car buying there.
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Postby dunc_b » Fri 27 Feb 2004 19:52 GMT

Graeme,

Thanks a lot, Had such a hectic day I didn't get chance to read anything. So how did you end up over there? Have you been there long? I have a few friends who've been to Atlanta and really rated it - though I gather you live a litle way out of the city... I'm off nwo to email som e"realtors"" - what ever that means!!! Just to get a feel fo rproperty and what we can expect to - value sover here are at mickey mouse levels... many have doubled in value in two years!!! and what with the dollar at it present levels... It couyld be a goo dtime to buy assuming there ar eno laws about buying a house!

dunc
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Postby Graeme » Sun 29 Feb 2004 21:40 GMT

Hi dunc:
Here's the info you wanted, the East Indian restaurant is called: "A Taste of India" and it's in North Phoenix at the junction of Bell Road and 16th Street (That's to the east of Highway 17). The food is excellent and the beer not too bad. My B-in Law lives just west of Arrowhead and thinks it's a pretty nice place, he works in Paradise Valley and says that it's an expensive area with large houses and is generally upscale. I've been to both areas and I like Paradise Valley (I have expensive tastes) but there's nothing wrong with Arrowhead either. At least in both area's you are north of the flight paths from Skyharbour and unlike Mesa you aren't bothered by low flying aircraft every few minutes. The further away from the main valley you can get is helpful to avoid the pollution - in the summertime you can't even see across the valley!
As for buying a car especially a mustang gt, basically if you don't have a credit history expect to pay a huge deposit and have an expensive (high interest) repayment plan. The insurance is also nasty on a sporty car like that. However, Phoenix is the best place to a have sporty car, the weather is brilliant most of the time and the roads are wide and fast. My nephew has a subaru imprezza and loves that sporty feel/look.
Hope this is helpful
:)
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Postby dunc_b » Mon 1 Mar 2004 19:21 GMT

Cheers for the tips Graeme - The aircraft is a very interesting point - I honestly hadn't considered it whatsoever!!!

I too have expensive tastes - you should feel my credit card bill ;) But Arrowhead is little more likely - Trouble is a lot of the houses there seem to be made of that Stucco stuff - but no good quality Stucco, the kind you could poke through your finger through!

Mustang GT - I'm 'fortunate' in that I only want a '98 car and can probably buy my first outright... though the insurance is evil - I had a quote for around 1,000 dollars for 6 months - maybe I should run around in a 70's caprice lassic for 6 months?!!!! or an ex cop car - :)

Sighs, The last jump took the visa processing up to 31st July, We're hoping that the next update - on friday takes us up to Mid August... that'll be cool... at least we'll be a little closer to an envelope dropping through the door... I'm half expecting to be followed by a huge brown car with men in shades inside!!!

Anyway - I'm off to the gym - I want a six pack for my wedding - coughs - yeah right!

dunc
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Postby Graeme » Sun 7 Mar 2004 17:03 GMT

Hi dunc:
I was in Phoenix last year in mid August and no joke the temperature was almost too much for me at 122F in the shade. It got so hot I couldn't hold the steering wheel of the hire car unitil the aircon had run for a few minutes. The evenings and early mornings were incredible though!
You are right about the houses, they are all just thrown up, most are block and some are stick (2x4 wood construct). The outer skim layer of stucco is not very functional but it does look attractive in those desert colours with matching red tile roofs IMHO. The idea is to keep the bugs out more so than protect against the elements, I think it's only recently that they have learned to use insulation down there. Most of the builders are mexican and they work hard but they need to be closely supervised as they don't always do the job they are meant to (I don't mean to be rude to my mexican friends but they are generally the first to admit they will slough off if they can find a way to get away with it). My B-in-Law is a home builder down there and has some interesting stories about this.
Hope the move is progressing, good luck.
:)
Graeme
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Postby dunc_b » Mon 8 Mar 2004 11:57 GMT

Graeme,

I know what you mean about the mornings - Ashley's up so early but in that heat I can see why...

Well, they updated the website and ar edealing with paperwork up unitl the 11th August - I'm dated the 13th so that's two days ahead... give it two weeks and I'll be done I hope... i'm tiring of all this waiting...

I'll have as good a look as I can over any houses- maybe I could email your brothe rin law and ask fo rany tips on this...

bugs - ew - I forgot all abut those snakes too!!!

d
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Postby Graeme » Tue 9 Mar 2004 15:09 GMT

Hi dunc:
That's good news, the sooner they process, the sooner you get to go. By September there you get into the nicer weather (July and early August tend to be monsoon time - with the high temperatures that extra humidity is nasty) and the slightly cooler temps.
The bugs are a bit of a problem and most home owners get their homes sprayed every year or two. Black widow spiders seem to be prevelant although there are many different sorts which bite, scorpians, and of course snakes, but the snakes aren't too bad - it does make golfing interesting though, stay out of the rough! :shock:
I'd be happy to give you my B in Laws email address and I'm sure he can give you some advice about home hunting. He just bought a house in Sun City which seems very nice (much too quiet there for my liking-it has the only McDonalds restaurant with a puree machine for the older clients even though the food is pre-masticated, Big Mac through a straw anyone? :roll: ) he reckons the only regular traffic in the area is the garbage pick up and the hearse :twisted:

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Postby dunc_b » Wed 10 Mar 2004 11:48 GMT

Sun City - I've heard of that place, it's a little too far out - though does over a quieter <maybe higher> standard of living for the older generations... I'm 29 so am still <just> in for a louder area...

I've been looking at some apartments - a lot of them seem to have gates at the entrance which I'm not too sure is for protection or paranoia... Everytime I watch the news ther eI laugh at how embelleshed the stories sound... almso tlike the news presenters like to make things sound evil when they're not!

I've just booked a Mustang Convertible for my trip in Arpil - I can't wait!
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