How To Build Your Credit In The U.S. As A New Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder)
Having a good credit score is important if you want to finance a major purchase such as a home or a car. Your credit rating can also affect your job search, renting an apartment and your auto insurance rates.
You will need to wait until you have a social security number before you can apply for a credit card. However, you do not necessarily need a green card before you can apply for credit and it is a good idea to begin building your credit as soon as you can.
Unfortunately, your credit score back home cannot be used in the United States. It will be difficult for you to get a credit card with no history and without credit you cannot build your credit score.
The fastest way to build credit is to have your new American spouse add you as an authorized user to all their cards. You can also open a joint credit card with your spouse to help build your credit.
My US Citizen Spouse Has Bad Credit, How Do I Build Credit On My Own?
If you spouse doesn’t have the best credit and you do not want to start off negatively in your quest for good credit – you have an uphill battle. Credit card companies will not approve you without some type of payment history.
Obviously, you will not have a payment history in the U.S. because you are a new resident starting with a clean slate. To get around this catch-22 you can apply for a secured credit card and deposit a set amount with the credit card company in case you default.
Another option is to contact your spouse’s bank and open your own checking account. Once you manage this checking account well, ask them if you can apply for your own credit card.
You May Not Have An Actual Credit Score For Up To A Year
Once you have at least one credit card in your name you will begin to build credit history that will contribute to your credit score. Don’t worry if you do not have a FICO score yet and try not to apply for too many credit cards all at once.
Your credit score can take several months to a year to be generated; continue to pay the balance in full and on time every single month.
As a new permanent resident you get to start from scratch – this is great if you had bad credit back home but you need to take care and not make the same mistakes you did in your past with credit.
How Long Will It Take To Build An Excellent Credit Score As A Green Card Holder?
The time it takes to build excellent credit (score 760+) can vary depending on how you manage your finances. Use CreditKarma.com (free online credit score) to keep track of your monthly progress and to make sure there isn’t any inaccurate information on your credit report.
Below are how your score is calculated:One of the most important factors is your payment history – do not miss any payments! Try not to use more than 10% of your available credit to keep the utilization as low as possible.
After one year, you should see your credit score in the 700’s. Some people may be shocked how quickly their credit scores can get into the 700 club, but remember that you are starting off with a clean record.
It is much easier to build great credit if you do not have any past blemishes on your credit report.
Ayan is the founder of the Migrant Academy community, the My Path To Citizenship Blog and Podcast.
After successfully navigating the hurdles of US immigration. She now dedicates her time to helping other couples achieve their goals of starting their new life together in the US.