Important First Steps When Arriving in Texas on TN Visa

For anyone who has traveled to Texas on a TN Visa what are the first first important things I need to do:

1. Where do I go to get a SSN or equivalent so my employer can pay me?
2. What is the best US bank to open an account with as a Canadian citizen so I can easily transfer money back and forth if necessary?
3. If I do not have Health Care provided by my employer where do I start looking for a Health Care plan?
1. Unfortunately you have to go in person to apply for SSN with Canadian Passport and I-94. SSA offices are currently closed due to COVID19, but as of April 24th they said they will be opening soon. Call them.
2. You can open up a US bank account without a SSN, bring Canadian Passport and I-94. Bank of America, Chase, and others. It is never easy to transfer money between US and Canada bank account. I have used a third party, Canadian Forex, now called OFX (, but there are others. Shop around, compare rates. Most will make profits by giving you a poor exchange rate. Most banks will charge international wire transfer fees. (which sucks).
3. Fully agree with Nelsona, don't accept a job offer without health insurance. It is part of your total compensation package. Your job offer will list the health care benefits provided, your monthly cost, the deducible limit, the 1-800 number to call and ask questions. If everything else is the same, people will chose the job with the better health care package. Without coverage, you can buy coverage at (aka Obamacare) but it is expensive and can have high deductibles. (as a non-immigrant on TN status, I am not sure if you can even buy coverage)
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I use TD cross border banking. I have both TD Canada and TD US bank accounts. Transferring money between TD US and TD Canada (or the other way round) can be easily done through online banking and it is free. I have been using TD since 2018. However, there are no TD branches in Texas.


Registered Users (C)
Unless there is a Cdn-branded bank in your immediate area, don't look for a cross-border arrangement. Just get a local bank, and a separate forex firm.
I am curious which one gives you a better rate today. CAD to USD
I checked TD rates and they are quoting 0.6977
I checked OFX rates and they are quoting 0.7146
So for larger dollar amounts it appears OFX is still better, even with a $25 international money transfer fee with my US bank (No fees with Canadian bank). There are others, but a few years ago I found Canadian Forex was the best (now called OFX).
CAD to USD was averaging about 0.75 back in January and February....


Registered Users (C)
The best way to determine how "good" a certain platform's rate is, is by making to test trades, beginning with a certain amount in one currency, and then taking the result of that trade (reducing it by any known fees) and converting that amount back to the original currency. On a 10000 start it could be $100's less than what you started with.
after 3 years on TN these are my views:

exchange rate is a useless statistic, i'm earning here and spending it here. If I have to ever transfer a substantial amount, i'll think about it then.

Chase bank is very good, they were able to open my account without SSN but i had exchanged my Ontario DL on day 1. BOA gave me a hard time and run around, Wells Fargo refused service til i had SSN, actual DL and 2 utility bills (impossible conditions). Local Texas banks like BBVA Compass and Prosperity bank are very good too, usually they will ask you for job letter that works as a reference. My wife opened her account with FCCU in Houston, she pays 0 fees.

For cell phone connection: After trying many expensive options we settled on Xfinity mobile or Cricket, 2 unlimited lines should cost you $70 a month combined. Cricket doesn't have roaming so we got Xfinity because our home internet is Comcast.