Just give me a bill

My struggles in proving my current address information

Posted by Krystian Wojcicki on Monday, March 28, 2022 Tags: Relocation   5 minute read

After accepting a job offer from Microsoft I relocated to the US from Canada. Once I cleared quarantine, I visited the nearest bank branch as soon as I could; I needed money to survive, right? I attempted to open a bank account. What should have been a simple task ended up being far from simple, for a newly landed non-American that is. During my first attempt, to my surprise, I learnt that to open a bank account I needed to prove my current US address. This posed a challenge since I didn’t have US residence and the bank said my lease agreement wasn’t sufficient. Instead, I needed some sort of utility or rent bill. Not expecting that to be a challenge I said, “Sure, I will be back tomorrow with a bill in hand!” Little did I know how wrong I was. After getting back from the bank I attempted to pay my rent to get the bill I needed. I logged onto the apartment complex’s rent payment site, which is the only way to pay, and submitted my Canadian credit card information only to find out that the site didn’t accept Canadian billing addresses. I tried to change the billing information of my credit card to a US address, but my bank didn’t allow that. I found myself in a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Since a rent bill wasn’t possible, I considered other forms of bills that I could obtain. Maybe I could obtain an internet bill? My apartment complex had a modem in the closet with a link to quickstart my internet access. The link sent me to an apartment specific portal where, quite quickly, I was able to pay for an internet package and stop using my phone’s data. As part of the process, I provided an email, so I expected to receive some sort of bill relatively quickly. After waiting for 10 or so minutes the email still had not arrived. I contacted the internet provider’s customer support asking them about the bill. The individual on the other end of the line informed me that they did not have access to my apartment complex’s portal and they could not assist me in receiving a bill for my services. Okay well, internet and rent bills are off the table, what else is there? Electricity and water bills came next to my mind. As part of my welcome package, I received a bundle of papers. One of these papers mentioned that you would receive a key by email from the building’s utility provider. This key would allow you to set up an account in their system and pay your utility bills. I had not yet received an email from them, so I went to the front desk and inquired when one would be sent. I was told that the utility company tends to take 2/3 weeks to send those keys out once your new lease has entered their database, but I should call them and perhaps I could get this key earlier. I called them up and was told that I was not yet in their system and that I should call back the coming Monday. Which I did and was pleasantly surprised when the customer support agent verified I was in their database. I asked about receiving a bill earlier but was told that couldn’t be done, but instead they could send some sort of letter which should suffice to prove my current address. The letter was expected to arrive in 2 weeks, which was fine, but I was hoping to open my bank account sooner rather than later…the next day in fact. The apartment complex which I was living in had multiple internet service providers, so I decided to sign up with a different internet provider and receive a bill from them. I called one of them up, ensured that I would receive an electronic bill within 1 to 2 days and could go merrily on my way to open my bank account. I set up the cheapest plan they offered and waited for a confirmation email to set up my account. I waited over an hour and still didn’t receive the account confirmation. I called the company up again and asked what the hold up was. Turns out they misspelled my email and replaced an ‘n’ with an ‘m’, a reasonable mistake. They updated the email on their end, and I quickly received the account confirmation email minutes later, paid my bill and, thankfully, the next day I received my bill! Huzzah! Finally! When I went back to the bank with my bill in hand everything went smoothly, and I was finally able to open my account. All in all, from my first attempt at opening the account to finally opening the account it was a little over a week. Overall, this was just a small annoyance in an otherwise very smooth relocation and onboarding.