I started a new thread because the original one turned into a rude and totally unnecessry anti-immigrant tirade. I agree with the posters who suggested it should be locked -- if not entirely deleted.

In the interest of proving that not all Americans are ignorant and bigoted, I will try to provide a proper answer to our foreign guest. Of the comments in the other thread, only Larry addressed the problem at hand: how to get a cell phone.

The issue is not simply one of not having an SSN. Indeed, having the cell provider even request the SSN is technically illegal, since the SSN is supposedly restricted only to employment and SSN matters. Applying for credit should NOT be included in that (But before the flames begin, I will concede that we Americans have become much too complacent about giving it out almost everywhere and to anyone who asks. And unless the US develops some other national ID system, it is the only unifying factor in most people's lives.)

Our guest has the same problem that many others have: no US credit history. He may also have an address problem. And in the case of a cell phone, his possible (heavy, international!) usage could present the provider with a problem.

What is your visa status? Why -- and how long -- are you here? When does your visa expire? The topic of the post was " ... for non-residents ...", and then you went on about "non-citizens without an SSN". They are technically not the same. (And if you are employed in this country, you have SOME ID number for tax and employment purposes. Not having an SSN under circumstances that would allow you to pay for a cell phone would be somewhat suspect!)

"Non-residence" implies to me a non-permanence. If you don't have an address in the US, or if you don't plan to (or can't legally) stay for at least a year (the typical plan period) it will be unlikely to obtain any sort of cell phone plan from anyone. You will have to confine yourself to a prepay plan such as Verizonicon FREEUP. If you are simply a non-citizen resident immigrant, you should be able to get a cell phone depending on your circumstance.

Are you here as a student? Are you an immigrant? Are you employed by a US company? Are you a diplomat? Who is your sponsor? Your status is important. If you are employed, you should ask your employer to sponsor your plan. (They are probably already sponsoring your visa and probably other elements of your life.) Put it in your name at your address but they will be responsible for it. Do you "own" anything else? An automobile? Do you have a US bank account? Do you have a US credit card? Do you have a drivers license? Have you organized your life so that it looks like you plan to stay here?

If you are a student, you will need to demonstrate some source of income that could pay for the cell plan. (Is it legal to work while on a student visa?) Do you have one? If you are an immigrant, would your sponsor help you? If you are a diplomat, your embassy (employer?) should be able to assist you.

What is/was your status in your home country? Were you employed there? Do you have a credit history? Did you have a cell phone THERE? Would they 'transfer' the plan here? (I'm thinking T-Mobileicon, but I have no idea what their policy is in this area.)

Ultimately, the cell provider wants proof that you are reliable and that you have the means to and will pay your bills. Until and unless you can convince them of that fact, you will not be able to obtain a post-pay cell phone plan. And with a foreign connection, there is always too much chance that you will simply 'skip out' -- or be deported -- leaving your bills unpaid.

PS: Sprinticon seems to have the loosest credit requirements and also has a no-plan month-to-month capability.