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firststeps

Community Connection’s First Steps information sheets answer frequently asked questions about various aspects of SF Bay Area living


stepone Housing in the Bay Area

Frquently Asked Questions

What can I expect when looking for an apartment? Who owns or manages the apartment community? What is the difference between a townhouse, condo or duplex? What can I expect when looking for a single family home?


Housing in the Bay Area

stepone What can I expect when looking for an apartment? Apartment communities can consist of as few as 6 units or as many as 500 or more. An apartment is a unit consisting of one or more rooms, on one level. A one room apartment is called a studio apartment. A studio will have a combined sleeping/living/kitchen area with a separate bathroom. Most apartments consist of 1-2 bedrooms with 1-2 bathrooms, a living room, dining area and a patio or balcony. A few will have a fireplace in the living room. Some apartment complexes also have 3 bedroom apartments. Typically, an apartment is rented unfurnished and will have window coverings (usually blinds). The living areas will be carpeted and the kitchen and bathrooms will have tile or vinyl flooring. Some newer apartments may have hardwood

flooring. In most apartment buildings the laundry facilities are shared. The machines are coin or card operated. Newer or more expensive apartments may have an in-unit washer and dryer. You may have the option of choosing on which floor you prefer to live. Most apartment complexes will have a pool, a fitness center, a clubhouse and nicely landscaped grounds. Assigned parking is either in an underground parking garage or in covered outdoor parking areas. Very few apartments include a private garage. Newer is not always better when apartment hunting. Most older buildings are maintained in good condition and have been periodically upgraded.

Who owns or manages the apartment community? Most apartment communities are owned and operated by a company, which may operate many such communities. There will be a leasing office on the premises, where a representative of the company can answer your questions and give you

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a tour of the facilities. When you rent an apartment your contract will be with this company. The exception to this is at small apartment buildings, which may be privately owned and operated. In such a case your landlord would be the building owner.


Step 1

What is the difference between a townhouse, condo or duplex? Townhouses are a multi-level design, typically with 2 or 3 bedrooms upstairs and living areas downstairs. They often have a street front entrance, giving them the feel of a single family home. Townhouses have more space than an apartment, often with a separate dining room or den area and an extra half bath downstairs. They are mostly privately owned and in communities with between 10 and 100 units and there are far fewer townhomes than apartments available. Most have an attached, private garage, in-unit washer and dryer and a patio or deck. Some communities have a pool and lawn or playground areas. Older complexes tend to be more spacious and have larger common areas than complexes built in the last 10 years but new buildings may have state of the art kitchens, baths and appliances or high ceilings and hardwood floors. Since they are

privately owned, condition may vary depending upon how well the unit has been maintained or upgraded. For the most part units are carpeted, with tile in kitchen, baths and entry. Newer townhomes may have hardwood floors. A condo or condominium is a privately owned apartment or townhome, not managed by a leasing company. Each owner pays a homeowner’s fee to an association to maintain the exterior of the building, the common areas and pool. This fee will remain the responsibility of the property owner, not the tenant. Condominium rentals are not common, as most are owner occupied. A duplex looks like a single family home from the outside but is actually 2 apartments attached by a common wall. They are privately owned, like a single family home.

What can I expect when looking for a single family home? What can I expect when looking for a single family home? Single family homes are rented either directly by the owner or through property managers or real estate brokers. In California there are a wide variety of architectural styles and homes come in all sizes. Most construction is of wood, even if there is plaster, stone or brick applied to it. Early settlers of the Bay Area found an abundance of wood for building and later, Californians realized that wood is the best material for withstanding the shaking of an earthquake, because of it’s flexibility. Typical rental homes in the Bay Area consist of a living room, dining room, kitchen with a small eating area, 3-5 bedrooms and 1-3 bathrooms. Larger homes may

also include a family room. Most homes will have a landscaped garden (often large) with a patio or deck area. Rental homes usually have an automatic sprinkler system and/or come with a gardening service paid for by the property owner. If there is a pool, pool service is usually included in the rent. Most homes have a 1-3 car garage. Carpeting and wood flooring are both common. Window coverings may or may not be included. Because they are privately owned, rental houses vary widely in condition and may or may not contain upgraded kitchens, baths or appliances. The extent to which a property has been improved is up to the individual owner.

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steptwo Bay Area School Systems Enrollment Procedures

Frquently Asked Questions

Is public school free? Which school will my child attend? Which school will my child attend? What is elementary school? Middle school? High school? How is the school year structured? How is the school day structured? How do I register my child for school? What documentation will I need to take? What happens if our neighborhood school is full? What happens if there is room for one of my children but not for both? How do we enroll our children in school while in corporate housing? What if we want our child/children to go to specific school? What about classes for students who do not speak English or speak limited English?


Bay Area School Systems Enrollment Procedures

steptwo

How can I determine my child’s grade level?

Is public school free? California public schools provide free education for children from kindergarten through 12th grade (from ages 5-18) Kindergarten is not mandatory.

Kindergarten (not mandatory) 5–6 years old

Which school will my child attend?

Grade 1 6–7 years old

Students who wish to attend public school in the Bay Area are assigned to a particular school according to their home address. Cities have their city boundaries, school districts within the cities have their boundaries as well and they may not exactly coincide. In other words, a home may be located in one city but close

enough to another to be incorporated in an adjacent school district. Elementary schools and high schools may have different boundaries and school district offices. The only reliable way of finding out which school your child will attend is to verify an address with the school district before renting or buying a home.

Grade 2 7–8 years old Grade 3 8–9 years old Grade 4 9–10 years old

Your child must attain the younger specified age by December 2nd of the current school year.

Grade 5 10–11 years old

Schools vary as to how flexible or inflexible they are about accepting children into a grade higher than that of their age level. The social, emotional and physical development is as important as the intellectual development and therefore schools generally like to place

Grade 6 11–12 years old

children with their peer group. It can be to a child’s advantage to be “old for their grade” rather than “young for their grade” as they may do better and consequently build self-esteem.

Grade 7 12–13 years old Grade 8 13–14 years old Grade 9 (freshman) 14–15 years old Grade 10 (sophomore) 15–16 years old Grade 11 (junior) 16–17 years old Grade 12 (senior) 17–18 years old

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Step 2

What is elementary school? Middle school? High school? Elementary schools educate students from kindergarten through 8th grade but school districts vary in how these grades are grouped and there are many possibilities. A few schools have kindergarten through 8th grade on the same site, other school districts have separate junior high or middle schools for the upper grades. In elementary school children may work in groups with children of the same academic ability. There may be several academic groups within a class. Most middle schools are for 7th and 8th grades or 6th, 7th and 8th, depending on the school district. At this level some subjects are taught by specialist teachers. Children may be grouped by ability in some subjects and there is a Core Program (essential, required courses such

as math, English, social studies and science) as well as elective courses (optional classes from which a student may choose such as computer, foreign language, music, art). High school is for grades 9 through 12. As with middle school, teachers are specialists, students may be grouped by ability and students follow a Core Program along with electives. Students need to pass various required classes in order to advance, and ultimately graduate. If a student fails a class, they may be able to repeat the class at summer school. There is an emphasis throughout high school on college/university preparation. Note that there is no religious observation in public school and most do not have a uniform. At all levels parent volunteers are welcome.

What documentation do I need to bring when registering my child for school? • The completed registration packet Among the forms in the packet will be medical and dental assessment forms. These must be filled in by a California licensed doctor and dentist. Your child may be able to start school before he has had the examinations necessary to complete these, depending on the school, but they should be performed as soon as possible and the forms turned in to the school.) • Proof of residency

How is the school year structured? How is the school day structured? The school year runs from late August or early September to mid June. There are about 180 school days in a year. There is also optional instruction during the summer. Kindergarten is part time only (mornings or afternoons). During the school year the school day is about 6 hours long. Homework is set in varying amounts from 1st grade.

How do I register my child for school? Some school districts require that the children are resident in the state before they can be registered. In other words, a parent might not be allowed to register their child before the child has actually arrived in the country for permanent residency. Proof of residency within the district is required before any attempt can be made to register a child/children in school. Proof of residency consists of a fully executed lease agreement, gas/electrical bill showing name and address of occupant or a water/garbage

bill showing name and address of occupant. One or all may be required. There are no exceptions. This proof is either taken to the supposed nearest school of your newly rented home or to the school district office pertinent to the home, where you will be given a registration packet. Fill out the paperwork and return it to the school or district office. They will tell you which school your child will attend and when he can start.

• A birth certificate for each student • A passport with resident visa stamp for each student • Your child’s immunization records* This should be a complete record of every immunization received since birth. This is very important as your child may not attend public school unless there is documented proof that certain immunizations have been given. For specific details of the health and immunization requirements, please see page 5 of this section.)

*Please note that a Mantoux tuberculosis test is required. This is a test, not an immunization, as is the BCG (given particularly in the UK and Japan). A Mantoux test taken after a BCG immunization may give a positive reading and necessitate the need for a chest x-ray. Substituting the Mantoux test with a BCG immunization is not acceptable by the school districts.

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Bay Area School Systems Enrollment Procedures

What happens if our neighborhood school is full? The school district office will place your student in the next nearest school, within the district, that has available classroom space in your child’s grade.

What happens if there is room for one of my children but not for both? The school district will place each of your students only where there is room. They do separate siblings, if necessary.

How do we enroll our children in school while in corporate housing? Community Connections has been relocating families for 28 years and it is our experience that school aged children make a better transition if they are not moved from school to school. In other words, enrolling the children in school while in corporate housing and then moving them to another school once a permanent home is selected. It is the law in California that all school aged children be enrolled in school.

However, in practice we have had clients who waited to register their children in school until they were in their permanent housing. Better options are to shorten the length of time your family spends in temporary housing or to forego your time in temporary housing, come early and choose a permanent residence.

What if we want our child/children to go to specific school? We encourage families not to limit their housing choices based on the “hope� of finding a home within a specific school boundary. Rather, focus on a particular city or town where all the schools meet your educational requirements, thus broadening your ability to find the right home. Rental home selection in the Bay Area is limited and it can and does happen that

a family leases a home within the attendance boundaries of their desired school only to be disappointed when they discover that there is no room for their child there and he must attend school elsewhere. Do keep in mind that the school district office is required by law to keep your child/children within the district boundaries.

What about classes for students who do not speak English or speak limited English? Bay Area schools have a program called English Language Development (ELD) or English as a Second Language (ESL), depending on the school district. Eligibility for these programs is determined by testing or interview. Children in these programs are assisted in any of several different

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ways ranging from special instruction in the classroom to spending part or all of their day at a school specific to the ELD program. Check with the school district office for more information about how their program is managed.


Step 2

Immunization and general health examination requirements General health/dental examinations California state law requires that your child have a general health examination and an oral health assessment no more than 18 months prior to entering first grade. These exams must be performed and the required forms signed by a physician/dentist who is licensed in the state of California. These forms will be part of your registration packet or they can be obtained from your local school or school district office.

Immunizations State law requires that all students entering California schools for the first time must present a medical record, signed by a physician or health care provider, which verifies the month and year given of required immunizations. In addition, all persons registering for kindergarten and students entering high school (9th grade) for the first time must have a Mantoux test for tuberculosis.

When choosing public or private schools, you might like to consider the following: • Class size • School size • Religious/moral guidance • Closed or open campus (this applies to high schools and is a policy which prohibits students from leaving the campus during the school day, including lunch times.) • Uniforms • Parental involvement/influence • Academic programs • ESL, speech therapy and other specialist programs • Music/instrument/ band programs • Curriculum content • Individual attention • Neighborhood school quality • GATE program • Community interaction • Tuition or additional costs

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Bay Area School Systems Enrollment Procedures

Immunization Requirements

OPV Polio: OPV and/or IPV

4 doses. For ages 4-6: 3 doses meet the requirement if at least one dose was given on or after the 4th birthday.

For ages 7-17: 3 doses meet the requirement if at least one dose was given on or after the 2nd birthday.

DTP: Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis

5 doses, any combination of DPT, DTaP, HDPT, or DT. For ages 4-6: 4 doses meet the requirement if at least one dose was given on or after the 4th birthday. Age 7 years and older: Pertussis is not required. 4 doses, any combination of Td, DT, or DTP, DTaP. • For ages 7-17: 3 doses meet the requirement if at least one dose was given on or after the 2nd birthday. For ages 7-17: 3 doses meet the requirement if at least one dose was given on or after the 2nd birthday. A booster Td is recommended for 7th grade entry.

MMR: Measles, Mumps, Rubella

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2 doses given separately or together. Required for Kindergarten entry and 7/8th grade entry/transfer Grades 1-6: 1 dose given separately or together. Age 7 years and older: Mumps is not required. MMR doses must be on or after the first birthday. One dose must be MMR. The other dose may be any measles containing vaccine. HepB: Hepatitis B • 3 doses.


Step 2

Immunization Requirements continued

HepB: Hepatitis B 3 doses. Required for Kindergarten entry and 7/8th grade entry/transfer.

Varicella: Chicken Pox 1 dose or proof of the disease. Required for Kindergarten entry or student transfer from outside California.

TST: Tuberculosis

1 dose. Written proof of date received, date read. Skin Test (Mantoux Method): reading in duration and millimeters. Signature of the doctor is required.

TB TINE TEST IS NOT ACCEPTABLE The TST (Mantoux) test must be read within 48-72 hours of the date given to be valid. The TST must be given within eighteen months prior to entry or transfer into Kindergarten or six months prior to entry into grades 1-8. Students with a previous or current positive TST (10 millimeters or greater in duration) must submit results of a current x-ray done in the United States within the past six months.

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stepthree Applying for a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer

Frquently Asked Questions

Who needs a Social Security number? When can an application be made? Is my spouse eligible? Will my children get a Social Security number? What is an ITIN? Entry to the USA. Immigration and the I-94. Where do I apply?


Applying for a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Number

stepthree Who needs a Social Security number? You are required to have a Social Security number if you are working in the United States. The Social Security number is a major piece of personal documentation in the United States. You can apply for a Social Security card when you arrive for your assignment and have your resident

immigration visa. It usually takes 2 weeks from the date of application to receive a Social Security number. You will need this number before you can start your application for a California driver’s license.

When can an application be made? Officially Social Security Administration policy is to accept applications only after the applicant has been in the country for 10 business days. This is to allow time for information from the I-94 to appear in the Homeland Security database. If you make your application before your information is in the system it could result in a delay in getting your number or possibly being turned away, necessitating another visit.

Is my spouse eligible? If you are relocating with an accompanying spouse he/she may or may not be able to receive a Social Security number. This depends on their type of visa. Community Connections can advise you on their eligibility after your arrival. Your spouse will need the original marriage certificate if they are eligible to apply.

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However, although it is not recommended, we have been successful with taking some clients earlier than the 10 days from date of entry. We have also seen clients turned away. Community Connections is happy to take you to Social Security earlier than 10 days after your entry into the country with the caution that this may not result in a successful application.


Step 3

Will my children get a Social Security number? What is an ITIN? Your children will not receive a Social Security number. They will, however, require a Taxpayer Identification number (ITIN) before you file taxes. An ITIN is applied for when you file your first US tax

return. (US taxes are due each April 15th for the previous calendar year). The form used for this (Form W7) can be found on the Internal Revenue Service website at www.irs.gov

Entry to the USA. Immigration and the I-94. When you and your family come into the USA each family member will fill in an I-94 form. Airline personnel will hand this form out whilst you are in flight. Be sure that you print your name on this form clearly and exactly as it appears on your visa. When you are in Immigration an officer will write your visa status and date of entry on this form. He will keep half and staple the other half into your passport. Do not leave the immigration area until you are sure that the documentation in your passport is correct.

Check to be sure that names are correctly spelled and that visa information is accurate for each family member. The information on this form will be entered into a database that will be accessed for all official documents in the US and cannot easily be changed. If data is incorrect there will be problems when applying for a Social Security number or driver’s license.

What documentation do I need to bring? Your completed Social Security application form (form SS-5 can be downloaded from the Social Security Administration website) Your passport with your resident visa stamp (required) Your I-94 (required) A second piece of identification (photo ID preferred) The original letter petitioning for your visa (blanket petition)

Where do I apply?

The original letter petitioning for your visa (blanket petition)

You can locate Social Security offices in your area on the Social Security Administration website at www.ssa.gov

Original Certificate of Marriage Please note that a second form of photo identification will be required if your passport is less than one year from the date of issue.

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stepfour Banking

Frquently Asked Questions

What is the best way to choose a bank? What is the procedure for opening a bank account? What is the best way to bring funds with me when I relocate from another country? What forms of payment are most commonly used in the US? If I want to carry some cash, which bills should I have? Why is it important to obtain credit?


Banking in California

stepfour What is the best way to choose a bank? Your company may have a special relationship with a particular bank or you may have the option of joining a credit union (a customer owned non-profit organization offering the same services as a bank) for employees of your company. All banks have international transfer facilities but credit unions do not, so it is a good idea (for international clients), to also maintain an account with a local bank if you join a credit union. Some of the largest banks in California are Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Bank

of the West, Citibank and US Bank. These banks have the most extensive ATM networks, making them convenient, but there are other, smaller banks as well. When choosing a bank you may want to compare a few different ones by visiting a branch office or the bank’s website. Consider what is important to you. Such things as location, hours of operation, types of available accounts, online banking capability, fees, interest rates on savings etc. may vary slightly from bank to bank.

What is the procedure for opening a bank account? This may be the easiest step of your relocation. You may go into any bank branch during business hours and simply say that you would like to open an account (domestic clients may be able to open a new account online). You will sit down with a banker who will explain what types of accounts are available and help you choose the best option for your needs. He will also answer any questions you may have and fill out the necessary paperwork. If you do not yet have a Social Security number and California driver’s license or identification card, your passport will be sufficient to open the account. Your signature will

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be required on a disclosure and consent form, as you are entering into a regulated relationship with the bank. Of course, you will also be making a deposit to open the account. You will leave the bank with a debit card, which you need only activate to have access to your account. You can take out $300 from the Automated Transaction Machine (ATM) each day. Checks imprinted with your name, address and phone number will be mailed to you. Note that you may use your debit card in ATM’s at banks other than your own, but there will be an additional fee charged.


Step 4

What is the best way to bring funds with me when I relocate from another country? There are many ways to transfer money from your bank in your home country to a US bank. Some banks have Expatriate Banking Programs designed to allow you to open a bank account while you are still in your home country. Providing access to the account you will be using during your stay in the Bay Area before you leave home allows you to easily transfer funds from your existing bank. These programs may also offer an unsecured credit card to clients. Community Connections can refer you to a bank offering such a program. Other banks may reserve an account number for you in advance of your permanent arrival (you will need to provide copies of your passport ID page and visa), allowing you to give wiring instructions to your existing bank. When you arrive in the Bay Area you will need to go into the bank and

show your identification and sign some paperwork. Community Connections can also refer you to a bank offering this service. Note that if you should make a trip to the Bay Area prior to you permanent arrival, this would be the best time to open a bank account. When you return home you will need only to give instructions to your bank to transfer funds before your permanent arrival in the US. Always bring some cash or traveler’s checks for your immediate use on arrival. You can also bring funds in the form of traveler’s checks, open a bank account when you arrive and deposit the checks directly into your new account. The US government places no limit on the amount of money you may bring in or take out of the country.

What forms of payment are most commonly used in the US? Nowadays, the use of credit and debit cards and online bill payment are widespread but payment by cash or check is also common. You will need to pay in cash or by check to an individual such as a landlord, gardener or housekeeper who will not be able to accept a card, but you may also find a few businesses that do not accept cards. Photo identification is required when cashing or paying by check at a business. You may use a California driver’s license, a California ID card (issued by the DMV to non-drivers) or your passport. It is important to carry identification with you. You may also be asked for a credit/debit card, as a second form of ID. You may find that checks will only be accepted locally. Many merchants will not take a check that is drawn on a bank that is out of the area. You can also use a “cashier’s check” or “money order” to pay for

something. A cashier’s check is obtained from your bank. Ask the teller for a check to be made out to the payee in the desired amount. The bank will print the check and deduct the amount from your account. There may be a small charge for this service. A money order can be purchased from a bank, post office and even from some stores, such as convenience, grocery or large drug stores. Ask for a money order in the desired amount. You will pay that amount plus a small fee to the cashier. The check will be imprinted with the amount but you will fill in the payee’s information, by hand. When writing a check: • Write legibly, in ink. • Date your check the day you write it. • Use the entire space when you write the check amount. • Write the amount in numbers and in words

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Banking in California

If I want to carry some cash, which bills should I have? Most people carry one, five, ten and twenty dollar bills and sometimes fifty or one hundred dollar bills. Coins, in general circulation, are worth less than one dollar (there is a one dollar coin but they are rarely seen). Most cash transactions are conducted using paper bills. With all US bills being of the same size and very alike in color, be careful that you do not offer a $10 bill instead of a $1 bill. Also note that the size of a US coin does not indicate value: a dime

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(10 cents) is smaller than a nickel (5 cents) or a penny (1 cent). Coins are frequently needed to pay sales taxes on purchases (sales tax in California varies slightly from county to county). You will also need coins for some public transportation. Bus drivers, for instance, cannot make change. You must deposit the exact amount of the fare (or the next higher dollar amount) in fare boxes.


Step 4

Why is it important to obtain credit? As international clients will have no credit history in the US, it is important to establish credit and have at least one credit card. Having a history of good credit lets landlords, credit card and utility companies and lenders (for large purchases such as cars or a home) know that you will make payments reliably and on time. You will also find that you need a credit card in order to rent a car or reserve hotel accommodations. Your credit score is calculated based on your record of paying your bills. Having and using a credit card

will help to build credit. Timely payment of your monthly bills will also reflect positively in your credit score. To obtain a credit card, start by applying for a card at your new bank or use a bank recommended by your company’s HR department. Bring letters from your existing bank stating the length of your relationship with the bank and your borrowing history. Community Connections can also refer you to banks that have Expatriate Banking Programs, which include issuance of a credit card.

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stepfive Getting a California Driver’s License

Frquently Asked Questions

Who needs a California Driver’s License? When can an application be made? Will I have to take a test? How do I prepare for the test? Is it necessary to make an appointment to take the test? What is the procedure on the day I take the written test? What is the procedure on the day I take the practical test? When will I receive my permanent license?


SPEED LIMIT

Getting a California Driver’s License

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stepfive Who needs a California Driver’s License? ll California residents who will be driving on public roadways are required to have a driver’s license and to carry it with them whenever driving.

When can an application be made? If you read the California Driver Handbook you will notice that California law specifies that you should take the written test for your CDL within 10 days of your permanent arrival in California. However, unless you already have a Social Security number,

this is not possible. Carry your license from your home country with you whenever you are driving and apply for the CDL as soon as possible.

Will I have to take a test? In California you are required to take a driving test, which is in 2 parts - i) a written test and ii) a practical road test. The written exam must be passed before you may schedule an appointment to take the driving test.

How do I prepare for the test? Before taking either test you will need to study California traffic law from the California Driver Handbook, which can be downloaded in many languages from the publications page on the DMV website. There are also practice exams on the

website. Please note that you will not be able to obtain an application online, as they are not printable. They are available at any DMV office, as are copies of the Driver Handbook.

Is it necessary to make an appointment to take the test? It is recommended that you make an appointment online or by calling 1-800-777-0133. You may take the written exam or use other DMV services without an appointment but expect a lengthy wait. You must have an appointment to take the

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driving portion of the test. You can locate the DMV in your area on the DMV website. Please note that the DMV has limited hours of operation and they are subject to change. Always check their website for your local DMV hours.

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Step 5

What is the procedure on the day I take the written test? When you go to the DMV for your written test pick up and fill in an application for a CDL, if you have not already done so. When you present the application you will also have your legal presence verified. You will have your fingerprints taken, a photo taken and have your vision checked. You will then be given a test paper and directed to the testing area. The test is available

in many languages. There is no time limit and you may not use the Driver Handbook whilst taking the test. Once you have completed the test it will be checked for errors. If you do not pass the test you may retake it the same day, but must make fewer errors than on the first attempt in order to pass. You may also reschedule for another day.

What do I do now that I have passed the written test? When you pass the written portion of the CDL test you will be issued a temporary license. Before you leave the window make sure that this is the type of license you have been issued – not a permit. A permit is for those who have never driven and, whenever behind the wheel; a licensed adult driver must accompany them until

they get their full license. Once you have your temporary license you can make an appointment to take the driving test. You may make the appointment at the DMV or by phone. If by phone, wait at least 24 hours for the system to be updated with the information that you have passed your written test.

What is the procedure on the day I take the practical test? There is no application or fee, as your original fee of $28 covers both parts of the test. Please note that there will be a fee of $6 if you do not pass the driving test and need to retake it. You will be asked to drive your car to the test start area. An examiner will meet you there. Your vehicle must be currently registered and in working order and you will be asked to demonstrate

your knowledge of the controls before setting out with the examiner. Please read the section called DMV Examinations in the Driver Handbook for more details. After a short road test you will return to the DMV and the examiner will tell you if you have passed or failed.

When will I receive my permanent license? Your permanent license should ar- are driving but you should carry it with rive by mail within the next 6 weeks. you always. Your license is a valuable piece of photo identification. It is required by law that you have it with you whenever you

What documentation will I need on the day of the written test? Your completed application form (form DL44) Your passport with your resident visa stamp Your driver’s license from your home country Your Social Security number (you need not present the card, just the number) Prescription corrective lenses (if worn) $28 in cash, check or a debit card (credit cards are not accepted)

What documentation will I need on the day of the practical test? Your temporary license Your passport with your resident visa stamp Your Social Security number Proof that the vehicle is insured *

*If you are taking your test in a rental car you will need to produce a letter from the rental car company stating that their insurance will cover this. Speak directly to your rental car company to obtain this.

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stepsix Installation of Utilities

Frquently Asked Questions

What are utilities? What is the procedure for setting up utility services at my home? Will I need to call each utility company separately?


Installation of Utilities

stepsix What are utilities? Electric, gas, land and cellular telephone, water, garbage collection and recycling, cable or satellite television and internet are the utilities or services you will or may need in your new home. Most utility companies in California are privately owned but a few cities administer some local utilities through the city “public works”

department. The companies that will service your house will depend on the city in which you live and the particular area of the city. Your landlord, property manager or realtor will be able to advise you about which company to contact for service in your home.

What is the procedure for setting up utility services at my home? Domestic clients will simply need to call a toll-free customer service telephone number or, in some cases, go online to have service set up. International clients will not be able to set up services online and will need to call the utility company directly, as you will be asked to fax them a copy of your visa and the ID page of your passport. You may also be required to pay a deposit on your account in an amount equal to the amount billed to the prior tenant for the same month of the previous year. If you are setting up utilities for your new home while still in your home country, you may be restricted from calling a toll-free number (a number with a 800 prefix). If this is

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the case, a Skype call will work. Both domestic and international clients need to be aware that the relocating employee must be the one to initiate utility services. A family member or assistant cannot do it for you. Also please note that most PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric, the leading provider of energy in the Bay Area) services turn on automatically but if the home has a gas connection, an appointment may be set to schedule a service connection call. An adult will need to be at the home to meet the serviceman. Other services, such as internet and cable or satellite TV, will also require installation calls.

You will need to provide: • Personal information (including employer) • Your new address • The start date you would like service to be switched over to your name


Step 6

Will I need to call each utility company separately? Technically, yes. You will need to call a telephone company, a power and gas company, an internet company etc. However, in recent years, convenient “bundled” packages have been developed where phone, internet and television services are combined into one plan and one bill. Also, PG&E now offers customers an option to be connected with a free home utility set up service after you have opened your PG&E account. You will be able to compare and choose from many providers of telephone, TV, internet and newspaper delivery with just one phone call, should you decide to use this service. A useful website to use to compare companies and plans in your area is: www. allconnect.com Please note that in some cases you will not need to make a choice. PG&E is by far the largest supplier of electricity and gas in California and the only energy provider in most areas. Water, sewer and garbage providers usually service a certain area and have no competitors. Your landlord or property manager will have this information for you. AT&T is the major phone company for the Bay Area but there are others. As this is a very competitive

business you will want to compare plans carefully. Check the All Connect website or call the phone companies directly for information on available plans and prices. For information on AT&T refer to their website at www.att.com or see the “customer guide” pages in the front of the AT&T telephone directory. We advise you to take a “flat rate” service (a basic telephone service which includes unlimited local calls within a specified radius of your home). You can customize your phone service by ordering additional calling options such as call waiting, caller ID, 3-way calling etc. You will also be asked to choose a long-distance carrier when you set up your local service and there are many carriers to choose from. It is valuable to know that, by law, all of their rates must be the same. International clients will want to find the best program for calling their home country. Note that when deciding on telephone service, it is not absolutely necessary to have a land line in your home. You will still be able to have internet and cable services. Some clients choose to use only mobile (cellular) phones during their stay in the Bay Area.

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Community Connections First Steps