I registered just to reply to this particular thread. Sorry for resurrecting this old discussion but I believe the info I'll share might help someone in the future
I'm currently on work visa here in the US (H1-B) waiting for a Green Card (say prayers for me). I came here with no credit (obviously) and no history at all yet I was still able to open a checking and savings account with BofA AND get approved for a secured $300-limit secured CC.
True, I had to provide extensive documentation including confirmation letter from my employer.
Two months after that I was able to get a car loan (~$15k) and BestBuy CC with $1,500 limit.
After first year BofA refunded me the security deposit and bumped my CL up to $1,500. In January this year I hit my two years, checked my score (~720) and went to apply for AMEX Blue Cash Preferred and got APPROVED.
Today I also went to BofA and had my secured card converted to Cash Rewards card (or whatever the name is) and got a CL increase to $3,000.
, lack of US citizenship/permanent residency does not restrict you from living like a normal person here
LOL. Just make sure you behave well.
What's even better is that if you happen to have a wife here with you who is allowed to stay here with you but cannot have a paid job (H4 visa, my wife's case) she still can build credit.
You can put here as an authorized person on your accounts and she can apply for a secured loan.
I'd recommend the secured loan through a local credit union as they tend to have less strict guidelines and might take "household income" into account.
Any questions, please feel free to ask or message me