The Travel Loan Department of U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants would like to welcome you and your family to the United States of America.In the coming weeks and months you will begin your life here in the U.S. by getting a job, finding an apartment, starting school, and paying back your travel loan.We have prepared an information packet to help you understand your travel loan account and how it can help or hurt you in the future.
What is my Travel Loan?
Your travel loan is the loan given to you by the International Organization of Migration (IOM) to fly you and your family to the United States.
This loan was explained in full in the promissory note you signed before leaving your previous country of residence.Each travel loan equals the amount of U.S. dollars on your promissory note.This amount includes the airfare for ALL PERSONS LISTED ON THE PROMISSORY NOTE and is the responsibility of ALL PERSONS OVER THE AGE OF 18, regardless of whose name is on the bill. If you are married, both spouses are equally responsible for the loan.
What is Credit?
The financial system in the United States is based on what we call credit.
A lender will advance you money or a goods that establishes your credit with that lender.The lender trusts that you will honor your obligation by making monthly and on time payments.This information is reported to the Credit Bureau.
What is a Credit Report andHistory?
A credit report is a report of your credit history that shows information about you; such as your name, address, social security number, date of birth, and work history.Credit reports also show information about the current bills you are required to pay, such as your rent, utilities, car loan, and travel loan.Your credit report is updated monthly.Your credit report also shows if you are not paying your bills on time.
REMEMBER this information will stay on your Credit Report for 7 YEARS. So you must pay your bills on time and every month.Attached is a copy of a credit report.You can see the different types of information given.The Credit History section shows all the credit that is currently being used.This is the section where your travel loan will appear.The Collections section shows all your delinquent loans that have gone to or currently are in collections.Listed will be all the payments you have made and any past due payments.By law you are able to receive 1 FREE credit report annually.It is always a good idea to check your credit at least once a year. You can go to www.freeannualcreditreport.com or call 1-800-888-4213.
How does Credit affect me?
When someone in the U.S. owes money, whether itís their rent or car loan, they start a payment history. How you make your payments is a payment history.Your payment history is sent to a credit bureau.A credit bureau is a company that gathers information about how you make you payments.Credit bureaus also give information about your payments to other companies inquiring about how you pay your bills.Every company, including USCRI, sends this information to the credit bureau each month.This means that when you begin paying your travel loan in four months, USCRI also begins sending that information to the credit bureau.Your IOM travel loan is the beginning of your credit history.
Your credit repot does more that just track your credit and how you pay your bills.It represents your financial profile, and it can affect more than just your ability to obtain additional credit.Many lenders and employers check our credit history to see your personal and financial character.Landlords, finance companies, insurance companies, and other businesses can legally review your credit report before they do business with you.They are checking to see if you are in good standing and client with the ability to pay. Your credit report is created and distributed regardless of whether or not you give out your information or consent.Every borrower in the U.S. has a credit report.Your personal credit report can be sent to different businesses or people without your permission and knowledge.
How do I build a good credit history?
Your travel loan account with USCRI is your first opportunity to build good, strong credit history.Your travel loan is unique in that it does not charge you interest.If you send your minimum payment on time each month, you will build good credit.Remember, if you donít pay your travel loan on time, it will show up on your credit report.REMEMBER YOU MUST MAKE A PAYMENT EVERY MONTHÖDO NOT SKIP ANY MONTHS, OR IT WILL REFLECT NEGATIVELY ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT!!!
What if I donít have a job and canít pay my minimum payment?
We understand that finding and keeping a job that can support yourself and your family can be difficult.Unfortunately, USCRI CANíT STOP YOUR PAYMENT.If you are having financial difficulties, you must call USCRI travel loan department in Washington, D.C.
The travel loan department may be able to reduce your payment temporarily, provided that you supply the appropriate documentation that they require.PLEASE BE AWARE that if you start paying less than the agreed monthly payment without contacting the USCRI travel loan department, we will report this activity to the credit bureau.This information will remain on your Credit History for 7 years.
What if I donít get my bill? Do I still have to pay?
The promissory note you signed before you came to the U.S. States that, by law, you are required to repay your loan in monthly installments until your loan is paid in full.This means that you are always obligated to pay your travel loan bill every month, even if you do not receive a bill for some reason on a particular month.It is very important that you write your LOAN NUMBER on the check or money order as well. Remember not receiving a bill, does not excuse you from making a payment every month.
What if I move?
The bill that you receive each month has a section to check for address changes.You can write your new address, and send that in with your payment, and we will change your address.You can also call the travel loan department, and we will change your address over the phone.
You must let us know when you change you address, or your phone number.If you donít, it could have a bad affect on your credit.THE LAW REQUIRES YOU TO UPDATE OUR CHANGE OF ADDRESS EACH TIME YOU MOVE IN ORDER TO REMAIN IN GOOD LEGAL STANDING WITH INS.You are also obligated to inform USCRI of these changes.
How can I split my loan?
In order to split a loan the person must be at least 18 years old, employed, and financially able to afford the loan.USCRI must receive a letter from the person stating that they would be responsible for their portion of the loan.They must include home address and phone number, social security number, alien number, and the date of birth.THEY MUST HAVE THE LETTER SIGNED AND NOTARIZED.
How do I pay my travel loan bill?
Repayment of your travel loan begins four months after your arrival.You will receive a bill each month showing your Original Loan Amount, your Total Payments Received, Balance Due, and Amount Due.
∑Original Loan Amount is the total amount of your travel loan as shown on your promissory note.Itís the amount of your Airline Ticket to travel to the United States.
∑Total Payments Received shows all the money you have paid towards your travel loan account.
∑Balance Due is the total amount that you still owe on your Travel loan.
∑Amount Due is the total amount that you need to pay for the current month.
To pay your bill, you must send a check or money order equal to or above the number in the Amount Due box.Fill out the correct information on your check/money order (see example page).The only difference between your payment and the payments on the example will be your name, your loan number, and the amount due.Tear the stub off place with USCRIís address showing through the enclosed window envelope.Close the envelope, place a stamp with the correct postage on the envelope, and mail it to USCRI.It must be received by the 10th of each month.
Can I pay more than my minimum payment?
Yes, you can always pay more than your minimum payment.In fact, early repayment of your loan will strengthen you credit history.You can pay any amount as long as itís at least the required minimum payment or more.
Tans Union contact information
All companies who extend credit, or loans to a person are required to report to only ONE of the three major credit bureau.Some companies report to more than one.USCRI reports to only one, and that is Trans Union Credit Bureau.If you want to see what USCRI has reported on your Credit Report about your Travel Loan, you can contact Trans Union Credit Bureau at 1-800-916-8800.
Travel Loan contact information
Our travel loan department is open Monday through Friday, 8:30a.m. to 5:00p.m. (EST).You can call the travel loan department directly at
202-588-5740, or you can also write to us at the following address:
USCRI Collections Department 1717 Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Suite 200 Washington, DC 20036