Getting a Mobile Phone
Don't Let Them Fool You . . . It's Possible
Getting a mobile phone, or cell phone as they are commonly known in the US, would seem as easy as getting a loaf of bread these days.
Not necessarily so: If you wish to purchase a prepaid card with phone it is indeed quite simple. But - getting on a plan can be tricky if you do not yet have a social security number (SSN). Getting a SSN can take up to 4 weeks and you may not want to wait before getting connected.
There are ways to get a plan for a cell-phone without a SSN, but you have to be persistent. We have heard that T-Mobile shops are quite good at signing up aliens on a plan without having the ever important SSN. Make sure to point out the type of visa that you have. They have a list that excludes certain visas from requiring a SSN at application. For instance, L1 and E1 visa’s are on this list.
- Be persistent and ask for them to check on the visa list they have. They will likely ask for you to make a deposit of $ 500 per applicant if you do not point out that you are actually eligible.
- Go to a shop that is used to dealing with this sort of thing, downtown. For instance, the T-Mobile shop on the 7th floor of the Water Tower. T-Mobile has a month-to-month plan that does not require a SSN.
- Make sure to shop a little bit on various plans. With certain callers in family plans you can call family members for free (or, without eating into your minutes).
- If you do opt for a prepaid card, be aware that certain functions are likely not to be available, such as international roaming.