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How do you get a driver's licence if you don't have a car?


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I'm working to get my ds sorted to move back to the USA from NZ to attend university.  Because of the uncertainty of the semester, I need to make sure that he can leave campus and move somewhere in a hurry.  I would like him to have a drivers licence because there is a condo he and his friends can live in as a backup, but he would need a car.

He will have his restricted licence in NZ, which means he has passed the written test and the practical test.  A full licence is obtained 1.5 years later. He will not have a full licence but he will be 20. I believe that his restricted licence will not let him drive in the US on a foreign licence. Neither he or any of his friends will have a car in Boston that he can use to take the MA drivers test.

In order to be able to rent a car, he will need a US licence.  How does he get this licence if he does not have a car?  What company can we pay to use a car to take the test?

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If it were here, he would talk to a driving instructor about having a couple of lessons, then use that car for the test. He'll need to get used to US roads and possibly automatic gearboxes anyway.

If he manages to get a US licence, can you rent a car at age twenty?

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I would not assume a restricted license won’t allow driving in USA.  

Is there something like an automobile club that you can contact ?  Or International students office of MIT?

I have had International permit something that I got through AAA Automobile Association of America, for use in Europe when I had a temporary living in UK time, and maybe something like that is possible for USA with a restricted license.

 I suggest calling or otherwise contacting both Massachusetts motor vehicle department and or police department or any other relevant state to ask rules. 

Once he can show he is living in MA like a utility bill, or housing rental contract, he may possibly be able to turn his NZ license in for a MA license similar to if he were changing state of residence.  He may need other ID like his passport or other proof of Identity and citizenship etc...

restrictions probably follow state rules—  like Oregon is a regular DL at age 18 no matter how long the driver has been driving, or has other rules for conversion (6 months?) to unrestricted if under age 18. 

 

If you are right that the NZ license won’t help and he has to get a license for the USA separately

Is there any possibility of visiting with his aunt (?) before semester starts and getting license where she is? Especially if it is more suburban it might be easier to deal with there than in Boston.

Usually getting license requires passing written and driving test, and people borrow a car to take the driving test.  Sometimes a driving school would allow car to be borrowed.  My son’s behind the wheel instructor was allowed to give the behind the wheel test instead of having to take the practical test with DMV, but only for students under age 18 (I don’t know why, just the rule here.)  

But:

1) proof of residence is normally required to get a license 

2) things are possibly being done differently due to CV19 

3) I am not sure about car rentals at age 20 currently

 

 

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Google MA Drivers License requirements and you'll find their website that should tell you the documentation he needs plus the legal requirements for getting a driver's license based on his age and how long he has been driving,  It is doubtful he will be able to rent a car by himself at his age.  That is a completely different conversation.

https://rental24h.com/usa/boston-airport/under-25#:~:text=The minimum age to rent,under the age of 25.

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I don't think you can rent a car here under the age of 23 if you're a US citizen.   A long time ago (almost 20 years), I knew a young man from Ireland who was 21 and spending a year traveling the world.  He'd planned on renting a car but found that although as a foreigner there was some way he could, the insurance made it SO expensive it was much cheaper to buy a $7,000 used Civic instead.  He planned on selling it when he left the country.

I don't know what the rules are in Massachusetts, but I would check their state DMV website.  In many states you can have a driving instructor pass you and then you don't need a car for the test.  It may be that with an international license he may only need the written test.

Also in the Boston area cars and parking are so expensive and public transportation so good that he might find public transport, a decent (but not flashy) bike with a good lock, and the occasional Uber or Lyft would be better than driving himself.

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I know that, in NJ, driving schools do “rent” test cars (The ones they teach in) because the state requires access to the emergency brake.  Other states might be similar.

Renting for regular transportation purposes at his age is highly unlikely.

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

I googled MA law (it can vary by state.)  You can't rent a car under 21.

 

That may be the law, but try contacting car rental companies.  Unless something has drastically changed they have a policy NOT to rent to anyone under the age of 23 because the insurance rates are so high.

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1 minute ago, Katy said:

 

That may be the law, but try contacting car rental companies.  Unless something has drastically changed they have a policy NOT to rent to anyone under the age of 23 because the insurance rates are so high.

 I have 5 children over the age of 21 and over the yrs we have helped them figure out car rentals. Lots of 21-22 yr olds are flying across the country for interviews for jobs or grad school.  Under 25 and over 21 can rent cars in most places with a surcharge.  

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

 

That may be the law, but try contacting car rental companies.  Unless something has drastically changed they have a policy NOT to rent to anyone under the age of 23 because the insurance rates are so high.

I just looked up Enterprise and their website states the minimum age is 21. It states you may be charged an extra $20/day if under 25 but your not restricted from renting. I also thought it was still 25 but I guess things have changed.

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47 minutes ago, teachermom2834 said:

In my state there are driving schools that after a short course will give the road test at the school in their cars. The student then takes the certificate that they passed the test to the DMV where they do the paperwork and get the license. 

This is what my kids were able to do in Florida. We just contacted several driving schools until we found one that used their cars for the exam.   We were using a rental car as our family car at that time and they could not drive it until they were fully licensed.

27 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

And not for lewelmm, but if you have USAA, you can rent cars without the surcharge at a young age.

My kids had to have their license first in order to rent cars and they needed to have insurance properly through USAA in order to rent from Hertz through USAA.  That said they have both rented many times after age 18 with no problems.

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As far as the test itself, I'm sure one of his friends would drive him to the DMV and let him use their car.

If he hasn't driven much in his college city, he might consider paying for a few local driving lessons. We did that with dd1, bc her college city had lots of hills and curves and challenges that are very different from home. 

 

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Check driving schools. He probably need a few practice runs in their car anyway and they probably know insider tricks to avoid demerits in test day. 

Restricted/Probationary license doesn’t get converted to international license. 

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I would encourage you to get in touch with the International Student Office at the college he's going to attend. They would know best.

In Massachusetts, almost no one ever takes the takes the driving test without paying a driver's ed school to take them to the registry for the test.  If you want to head down a rabbit trail....there's an article in the Boston Globe that explains that the driver's ed schools have  "a long standing and well know relationship" with the Massachusetts RVM that only benefits the driver's ed schools. 🙄  $$$$

In addition, the RMV was closed and/or had limited hours during March and April due to Covid.  I don't know how far behind they are in booking appointments.

Edited by amyx4
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I googled and found this in Wellesley information for international students:

“Does Massachusetts honor valid foreign driver’s licenses from any country?

No. Massachusetts will only honor valid licenses from countries identified in the current Massachusetts Driver‘s Manual. Most of the identified countries are parties to one of the two major international road or automotive traffic conventions the U.S. recognizes. Germany and Switzerland are not parties to the 1949 Road Traffic Convention but their driver licenses are honored based on reciprocal agreements. At present, validly licensed drivers from some of the former USSR republics are also recognized. Note: Some countries that issue International Driving Permits include in the Permit a list of countries that the holder is authorized to drive in. Be aware that other Road Traffic Conventions that the U.S. is not a party to have a more expansive list of countries. You should be guided by the countries listed in Appendix C.

What is an International Driver’s License and how does it differ from an International Driving Permit?

The Registry of Motor Vehicles does not recognize as valid any document purporting to be an International Driver‘s License, or any other document that confers driving privileges, unless issued by the government agency that issues such licenses in the driver‘s country of residence and the driver is validly licensed in that country. The governments of some countries issue an international version of their own domestic driver license to their validly licensed drivers who indicate a need for a driver‘s license that will be recognized in other countries. The international version of the domestic driver license includes translations (including into English). Even if a country issues an international version of its own domestic license, the license will only be honored in Massachusetts if the country is identified in Appendix C. Remember, a foreign driver cannot drive in Massachusetts unless his/her driver‘s license is issued by the government of a country identified in Appendix C. A validly issued International Driving Permit, while not required, merely serves to confirm that a license was issued and translates the relevant information on the license. It is not a substitute for a valid license and the license must be carried when operating in Massachusetts.  A foreign visitor from one of the countries or territories listed here may legally drive on the roads of the Commonwealth on his or her own country‘s license (limited to a licensed driver who is at least 18 years old and limited to a vehicle of the type covered by the license) for up to one (1) year from the date of arrival. The visitor may operate his or her own private passenger vehicle if displaying valid license plates from the visitor‘s country (and meeting insurance standards set by the Commonwealth if operated longer than 30 days) for up to one (1) year from the date of arrival. You may access the contents of the Massachusetts Driver‘s Manual on the RMV web site at: http://www.mass.gov/rmv.

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“In every other state, your foreign driver'slicense, together with your biometric passport for the U.S., are sufficient documentation for you to rent a car or in case you are stopped by the police. This means that it is possible to drive in America with your Australian, UK, Irish, or New Zealand license.
 

Can you drive in the US with a foreign license? | US ESTA Visa - ESTA USA

 

this looks like a good explanatory article though more intended for short term

tourists

Edited by Pen
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In all seriousness, also check and see what Uhaul rentals require. I know back when I was in college, you could rent a Uhaul truck younger than a car. It won't help with a driver's test, but might for moving out of a dorm, even if he really doesn't have a truck sized quantity of stuff.  ZipCar also allows college students to rent starting at age 18 in at least some areas. I don't know if they accept NZ licenses, but if they do, it looks like Boston is well covered with pickup/dropoff points. 

 

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1 hour ago, HeighHo said:

From the link above:

If the foreign license is not in English or does not have an English translation, must have one of the following:

I was just surprised, because the OP is in New Zealand.

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I came into the country as a student around 20 years ago so my information may be dated.

I learned to drive in my native country and came here with an International Driver's license. It was given to me if I remember correctly based on the driver's license of my native country. I came here and did not own a car. I depended on the bus or people to take me to the grocery store. Most times I could, I cooked a lot so I remembered to be more aware of being on top of a basic pantry. Online did not exist then or grocery delivery. I never attempted to rent a car until I was earning a job and by then I owned one. I travelled a lot though by taking the bus or train or flying to see the country. I became good at using the public transport system. I sometimes travelled by car with friends and we would share the gas money.

I learned to drive by calling up one of the driving schools the information for which was giving by the international student community. I had lots to choose from and I had to take the written test, then the driving company with pick me up, take me for driving practice in their car and drop me. I think I took 20-30 hours in total. They taught me everything from navigating parking lots to parallel parking and they eventually took me for the test in their car. I took the test in a car owned by them. I practiced additional driving in cars owned by friends and their parents also taught me because they were appalled I had so little driving practice. 

 

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Wow! I go to sleep and wake up with so much information.  To answer some questions.

1) If he gets kicked out of his dorm, his grandparents have a condo in the mountains of NC. So he could go there.  We would BUY him a car if this came to be.  So sorry to get the conversation sidetracked with renting cars.

2) Believe it or not, when I had to insure my ds's new violin and needed American insurance, I called USAA who I had not worked with for 25 years (when we left the US).  And they still had me in their database (my dad was in the US Army).  So my ds has a USAA account!!  haha.  So sounds like if he does rent, it would be through them!

3) We live downtown in a city, so luckily for him he will have a LOT of city driving.  A couple of days mucking around in Boston should do the trick.

4) None of the kids have a car at MIT.  The campus is walkable and the cost to park is outrageous. So no, can't borrow one from a friend.

5) We looked into him going to his Aunt's house in VA to get a licence there. But he has to be a resident. Same in WI where his uncle lives. 

6) I am unclear if he can prove residence in MA because he is in a dorm. I would assume so, but when he returns, he will not have lived there since March. I looked on their site, and it was somewhat unclear to me what would be required to prove residence. 

7) My understanding is the same as Arcadia's. I don't think his restricted NZ licence allows him to drive in the US. But I would assume this would vary by state.  I am pretty sure that it would not allow him to rent a car at 21. But most of the stuff I have read, and the links given on this thread are very vague about the ramifications of the licence being restricted.  It does look like if it is accepted, that it would only be fore 3 months or short term. 

So the main thing I have to figure out is how backed logged are the Driving Schools. He is crazy busy during term, so we could send him a week early to get this done, but then he would have to stay in a hotel in Boston, which is crazy expensive.  He is supposed to quarantine for 7 days in his dorm, and this would be before that. I'm not sure if MA has quarantine orders like NY (haven't looked into that yet!)  However, he can't have it now, can't get it on the international flight out of NZ, and we have just purchased him N95 masks and goggles for the domestic flight to Boston, so I don't think he will have it to give to the driver's school people! 

 

Edited by lewelma
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I hate to contribute more to the rental car discussion, lol, BUT...my daughter's school did have a car rental option for students that allowed for renting under age 21. I would not be surprised if MIT has something similar, if the situation necessitates such a thing. Also, in dire straits, U Haul will allow under-21s to rent a vehicle (if moving is needed.) Our insurance is USAA and it is great, though car rentals through them are actually with other companies, so the under-21 issue will probably come up there.

I hope he can figure out the driving school situation. They are functioning in our town, albeit with Zoom classes for the off road instruction.

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The backlog is probably outrageous. I dont know what is like in MA, but here school kids couldn't do their testing through schools bc they were shut down. My dd had an appt for the in car test the day offices here closed. Her appt is now scheduled for 5 months post her original test date. The only date we could get in with her driving instructor for a refresher test drive through before her test in Aug is July 4th. I would make calls before you even worry about anything else.

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1 minute ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

The backlog is probably outrageous. I dont know what is like in MA, but here school kids couldn't do their testing through schools bc they were shut down. My dd had an appt for the in car test the day offices here closed. Her appt is now scheduled for 5 months post her original test date. The only date we could get in with her driving instructor for a refresher test drive through before her test in Aug is July 4th. I would make calls before you even worry about anything else.

This is very valuable advice.  If my ds can't get a licence, he probably should live with my sister in VA if the dorms close rather than living with his friends in the mountains of NC. 

 

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I wonder if he could somehow argue he is resident in VA if he has to move in with them. Then he could practice on US roads with her and get his licence with her car. Then he would not have to work through a driving school, and could just take the exam when they had space. But obviously there still might be a backlog problem in November. 

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3 minutes ago, lewelma said:

I wonder if he could somehow argue he is resident in VA if he has to move in with them. Then he could practice on US roads with her and get his licence with her car. Then he would not have to work through a driving school, and could just take the exam when they had space. But obviously there still might be a backlog problem in November. 

I was able to get a state ID within a month of landing here. But I had to show "proof of residence" which is basically a bill and a bank statement in my name if I remember right. To open a bank account, I showed my acceptance letter I think. I don't remember very well, it's been so long. Sorry.

Also, I did not have a car and went to school in a small city with public transportation like buses mostly and in the days where the internet barely existed, no Uber. I got around, I was not stranded and I used to walk or bicycle borrowed from friends.. Is it possible to buy him a bicycle ? With the bicycle shortage now I am sure it will be hard but not impossible.He will be absolutely fine in Boston I am sure even without a license immediately. 

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Just now, Dreamergal said:

I was able to get a state ID within a month of landing here. But I had to show "proof of residence" which is basically a bill and a bank statement in my name if I remember right. To open a bank account, I showed my acceptance letter I think. I don't remember very well, it's been so long. Sorry.

Also, I did not have a car and went to school in a small city with public transportation like buses mostly and in the days where the internet barely existed, no Uber. I got around, I was not stranded and I used to walk or bicycle borrowed from friends.. Is it possible to buy him a bicycle ? With the bicycle shortage now I am sure it will be hard but not impossible.He will be absolutely fine in Boston I am sure even without a license immediately. 

He can get a bank statement, but he can't get a bill from either a dorm or if he is living with my sister. Is there another way to prove residency?

If he lives in the mountains of NC in the free accommodation he has available, there is no public transport, uber, or roads capable of biking on. He would need a car. The grocery store is about a 45 minute walk each way, so he could do it, but it would not be pleasant in the snow and I assume it would take even longer. It is sounding like this is not going to be the backup plan.

As for staying in Boston, I am not sure where he would go if he is given about a week to vacate the dorms.  I don't think he could even sublease an apartment that quickly, plus the plan was for him to return to NZ in December and January, as MIT has cancelled their January term. So wherever he goes would be for only 4-8 weeks.  

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16 minutes ago, lewelma said:

He can get a bank statement, but he can't get a bill from either a dorm or if he is living with my sister. Is there another way to prove residency?

I was my son’s proof of residency. I brought ID to prove my own residency, and then attested that he was living with me.

 

Quote

If he lives in the mountains of NC in the free accommodation he has available, there is no public transport, uber, or roads capable of biking on. He would need a car. The grocery store is about a 45 minute walk each way, so he could do it, but it would not be pleasant in the snow and I assume it would take even longer. It is sounding like this is not going to be the backup plan.

 

There also may not be internet access good enough to do online school

Quote

As for staying in Boston, I am not sure where he would go if he is given about a week to vacate the dorms.  I don't think he could even sublease an apartment that quickly, plus the plan was for him to return to NZ in December and January, as MIT has cancelled their January term. So wherever he goes would be for only 4-8 weeks.  

 

If he can get an apartment (alone or with friends) in the first place where he could get to university by bike, being in Boston (without returning to NZ midterm) might work out. Presumably no sudden vacate premises would then be likely.

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34 minutes ago, lewelma said:

He can get a bank statement, but he can't get a bill from either a dorm or if he is living with my sister. Is there another way to prove residency?

If he lives in the mountains of NC in the free accommodation he has available, there is no public transport, uber, or roads capable of biking on. He would need a car. The grocery store is about a 45 minute walk each way, so he could do it, but it would not be pleasant in the snow and I assume it would take even longer. It is sounding like this is not going to be the backup plan.

As for staying in Boston, I am not sure where he would go if he is given about a week to vacate the dorms.  I don't think he could even sublease an apartment that quickly, plus the plan was for him to return to NZ in December and January, as MIT has cancelled their January term. So wherever he goes would be for only 4-8 weeks.  

Ruth, did you look at the MA website?  I just googled and it doesn't look that hard for him to prove residency for a standard (non-REAL ID) DL.  He is a a US citizen, so that makes it easier.  Spend some time reading through the website and a lot of your questions are probably answered there.  (Though terminology is probably an issue.  He has a DL, not a permit, correct?  As in he can drive independently without another licensed driver, but it is a graduated license meaning he may not be able to have unlimited passengers or drive all hrs?? Permit and license are very different things here.

 https://www.mass.gov/guides/massachusetts-identification-id-requirements#:~:text=To%20get%20a%20learner's%20permit,documents%20you%20can%20use%20below.

School-issued documents

  • Official school transcript for current year
  • Official letter from school (proof of enrollment) dated within 60 days
  • Tuition bill for current year
  • Certified school record for current year
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39 minutes ago, lewelma said:

He can get a bank statement, but he can't get a bill from either a dorm or if he is living with my sister. Is there another way to prove residency?

If he lives in the mountains of NC in the free accommodation he has available, there is no public transport, uber, or roads capable of biking on. He would need a car. The grocery store is about a 45 minute walk each way, so he could do it, but it would not be pleasant in the snow and I assume it would take even longer. It is sounding like this is not going to be the backup plan.

As for staying in Boston, I am not sure where he would go if he is given about a week to vacate the dorms.  I don't think he could even sublease an apartment that quickly, plus the plan was for him to return to NZ in December and January, as MIT has cancelled their January term. So wherever he goes would be for only 4-8 weeks.  

I think I had a utility bill as proof of address. I am not sure how to otherwise. 

On an OT, have you thought about a secure card for him for establishing credit ? As for temporary accomodation can he stay in an AIRBNB ?

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26 minutes ago, Pen said:

I was my son’s proof of residency. I brought ID to prove my own residency, and then attested that he was living with me.

There also may not be internet access good enough to do online school

If he can get an apartment (alone or with friends) in the first place where he could get to university by bike, being in Boston (without returning to NZ midterm) might work out. Presumably no sudden vacate premises would then be likely.

I've checked and there is good internet access in the NC location.

As for the apartment in Boston, he definitely wants to live in the dorms if they are open.  MIT has a *very* strong dorm culture, where you live in the same wing within the dorm for all 4 years, so all of the kids there are like his family.  Right now they are saying the seniors will be in the dorms for both terms and the juniors for the fall, sophomores and freshman for spring. If this remains the case, he would like to be with his friends in the fall. Most but not all seem to be choosing to stay in the dorm and not get an apartment near by. He plans to sublease in the spring, and we have contacted a real estate agent already who says this should be possible. There are just so many balls in the air, and we won't get confirmation from MIT until next week.  Then I have to deal with the flight arrangements.  I've already talked to a flight specialist to make sure all is in order and that there will be flights.  So just picking off each piece one by one, and trying to anticipate some stuff so that I'm not swamped with decisions all in one week without having thought through some of the ramifications.  

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Just now, Dreamergal said:

I think I had a utility bill as proof of address. I am not sure how to otherwise. 

On an OT, have you thought about a secure card for him for establishing credit ? As for temporary accomodation can he stay in an AIRBNB ?

I've talked to a real estate agent and she has told us that the rental market is quite toppsy turvey because Boston put in a no-eviction notice that only got lifted a week ago.  So there will be a lot of evictions and thus more open apartments soon.  She thinks there will be plenty of subleases.  I'll ask her about the AirBnB market. 

As for credit, we are having a hell of a time dealing with the American financial system. And my ds is still paying for so much in cash.  He can't get a Venmo account to pay his friends back because his gmail is linked to NZ so he can't even download the app.  The credit card situation requires us to co-sign but with NZ banking. This has not proven to be straight forward.  So there are a lot of pieces to clean up and make happen.  And by the time I wake up, I have 1 hour until all places close. So all things just take longer to make happen unless I want to wake up in the middle of the night and wait on hold. haha

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6 minutes ago, lewelma said:

I've checked and there is good internet access in the NC location.

Ok. That’s good if he were to need to be there as a back up.  Maybe a bike would do but car would be easier to bring home groceries probably. .  Is it NC on the Tennessee side? 

6 minutes ago, lewelma said:

As for the apartment in Boston, he definitely wants to live in the dorms if they are open.  MIT has a *very* strong dorm culture, where you live in the same wing within the dorm for all 4 years, so all of the kids there are like his family.  Right now they are saying the seniors will be in the dorms for both terms and the juniors for the fall, sophomores and freshman for spring. If this remains the case, he would like to be with his friends in the fall.

I can understand that. But there’s a good chance pandemic situation will be getting progressively worse through fall.  Idk if current plans will hold as planned. 

 

So I think u need a plan for if dorms close.

6 minutes ago, lewelma said:

. Most but not all seem to be choosing to stay in the dorm and not get an apartment near by. He plans to sublease in the spring, and we have contacted a real estate agent already who says this should be possible. There are just so many balls in the air, and we won't get confirmation from MIT until next week.  Then I have to deal with the flight arrangements.  I've already talked to a flight specialist to make sure all is in order and that there will be flights.  So just picking off each piece one by one, and trying to anticipate some stuff so that I'm not swamped with decisions all in one week without having thought through some of the ramifications.  

 

That makes sense!

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So on my list of fun things to figure out in a covid world in two separate countries:

Flights: do they run and is there still space when only 3 flights leave NZ per week, finding a safe hotel for his layover, appropriate PPE, where to buy it, can we rebook his cancelled tickets for the same cost

Thanksgiving plans when dorms close down but still 3 weeks of school remain:  where will he go, if back to NZ is there room in quarantine, can he get his work done in quarantine, do we have to pay $4000 for him to stay in quarantine. 

Finances: getting ds a credit card, still trying to sort out Venmo, paying for MIT

Back up location if dorms close unexpectantly: how to get there, getting a key, how close are facilities, internet, mental health, friendships, etc. Asking about multiple back up locations and making pros and cons lists

Driver's licence: proof of residency, finding a car, hiring a company, timing

Health care: power of attorney, understanding HIPPA ramifications, living will (yes, my sister suggested this one)

Coursework: making sure he can get his hands-on classes in with restricted course options

Risks of return: Already been asking these questions, he understands the health ramifications and risks

We have already decided on the basics: YES he does want to be in university next year (not taking a gap year), YES he does want to be in the same time zone as any online classes, and YES he does want to live in the dorms.  

So the driver's licence issue is just one piece in a very large moving puzzle. 

 

Edited by lewelma
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7 minutes ago, Pen said:

So I think u need a plan for if dorms close.

Yup!  That is what I am doing.  🙂 

One back up location requires a car. So this thread was to determine if that location was even a possibility. I've already consider 3 other back up locations, and crossed 2 off the list for other reasons.  

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Would he return to dorms this academic year after Thanksgiving? If not maybe the agent can be trying to find him something, an apartment, that he can move to a little before Thanksgiving. 

On DL. Contact the Massachusetts motor vehicle department— see if he can drive with his NZ license during the upcoming academic year. .  If so that’s one less thing to deal with. 

 

Google pay or Apple Pay type systems? 

 

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2 minutes ago, Pen said:

Would he return to dorms this academic year after Thanksgiving? If not maybe the agent can be trying to find him something, an apartment, that he can move to a little before Thanksgiving. 

On DL. Contact the Massachusetts motor vehicle department— see if he can drive with his NZ license during the upcoming academic year. .  If so that’s one less thing to deal with. 

 

Google pay or Apple Pay type systems? 

 

No we think that after thanksgiving he flies back to NZ and does his last 2 weeks of coursework in quarantine. Then flies to Wellington for his final exams. Then he has 6 weeks to play in the summer sunshine, and we plan to travel as NZ is pushing domestic tourism so lots and lots to do without all the foreigners making things crowded. 

Don't have apple, and google is the problem because his account is linked to NZ so it restricts access to only those apps allowed in this region of the world. This is true even if he is living in the USA.  Such a hassle. We have been round and round on this.  

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32 minutes ago, lewelma said:

I've talked to a real estate agent and she has told us that the rental market is quite toppsy turvey because Boston put in a no-eviction notice that only got lifted a week ago.  So there will be a lot of evictions and thus more open apartments soon.  She thinks there will be plenty of subleases.  I'll ask her about the AirBnB market. 

As for credit, we are having a hell of a time dealing with the American financial system. And my ds is still paying for so much in cash.  He can't get a Venmo account to pay his friends back because his gmail is linked to NZ so he can't even download the app.  The credit card situation requires us to co-sign but with NZ banking. This has not proven to be straight forward.  So there are a lot of pieces to clean up and make happen.  And by the time I wake up, I have 1 hour until all places close. So all things just take longer to make happen unless I want to wake up in the middle of the night and wait on hold. haha

About the credit card, there will be a lot of offers even for an international student. But almost 20 years ago I followed the advice of the bank manager who told me to refuse all offers for the first year and to establish credit. I did it based on the advice given which was get a secured credit card for $300. Now that was plenty for then for a student. Perhaps you can increase the amount for your son. But I bought groceries on it and whatever little I spent and paid it off at the end of the month. I was told zero credit history is equivalent to bad credit. So I would absolutely recommend you going that way if you can to establish credit for someone with no credit history in the US. I established quite healthy credit by the end of the year and did not fall into the trap of high interest cards.

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3 minutes ago, lewelma said:

No we think that after thanksgiving he flies back to NZ and does his last 2 weeks of coursework in quarantine. Then flies to Wellington for his final exams. Then he has 6 weeks to play in the summer sunshine, and we plan to travel as NZ is pushing domestic tourism so lots and lots to do without all the foreigners making things crowded.

 

Summer sun sounds nice. 

But then he would fly back again to Massachusetts for spring and try to find an apartment? 

That sounds dicey. 

3 minutes ago, lewelma said:

Don't have apple, and google is the problem because his account is linked to NZ so it restricts access to only those apps allowed in this region of the world. This is true even if he is living in the USA.  Such a hassle. We have been round and round on this.  

 

Can he start a USA bank account while in NZ that could give a secured credit card? 

 

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Just now, Dreamergal said:

About the credit card, there will be a lot of offers even for an international student. But almost 20 years ago I followed the advice of the bank manager who told me to refuse all offers for the first year and to establish credit. I did it based on the advice given which was get a secured credit card for $300. Now that was plenty for then for a student. Perhaps you can increase the amount for your son. But I bought groceries on it and whatever little I spent and paid it off at the end of the month. I was told zero credit history is equivalent to bad credit. So I would absolutely recommend you going that way if you can to establish credit for someone with no credit history in the US. I established quite healthy credit by the end of the year and did not fall into the trap of high interest cards.

very good advice.  I'll add it to my very long list of fun things to do. 🙂 

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3 minutes ago, CuriousMomof3 said:

Does't he have a gmail account through MIT?  Wouldn't that allow him to download American apps?  

Well in the early dark days of the internet, the student email was attached to the college. Gmail did not exist then, but hotmail did in it's infancy years and we were not allowed access to it.

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1 minute ago, lewelma said:

very good advice.  I'll add it to my very long list of fun things to do. 🙂 

 

It seems like your son should be doing some of this figuring things out too. It’s real life important skills! 

 

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Just now, Pen said:

 

Summer sun sounds nice. 

But then he would fly back again to Massachusetts for spring and try to find an apartment? 

That sounds dicey. 

 

Can he start a USA bank account while in NZ that could give a secured credit card? 

 

As for his online semester in spring, we have 3 ideas.  1) Ask for a waiver and see if he can stay in the dorms given that his family home is not only crazy far away but in addition it means all his classes run in the middle of the night. 2) sublease for a term, possible from the sophomores who are currently renting apartments for the fall but then plan to move back into the dorms in spring.  3) lease from January to September 1, and stay for the summer in Boston doing research.  The real estate agent said 9 month leases were the norm.

We are waiting to find out if he will lose dorm standing if he does not take a position in the dorm if offered.  This has not yet been made clear, and he would absolutely definitely want to be in the dorm his senior year if possible. We have even kicked around double paying for housing, both the dorm and an apartment in the fall so that he has a place to run to if the dorms closed.  But he would need to find someone else to do this with, and it is not a cheap option. But he has all the money from this summer's job that was supposed to be for housing, but instead he is living from home.  So we have some unexpected cash we can play with to smooth this disaster. 

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