How to open a bank account in USA As a non-resident: Do you want to open a bank account in the United States?
Banking in the USA is not as simple as it once was. The Patriot Act was enacted in the United States to prevent the use of the financial system for criminal purposes. Despite its far-reaching consequences, one of the most significant changes it brought was increased verification requirements.
Open a Bank Account in the USA As a Non-Resident
Whether you plan to move to America or simply want a bank account in US dollars, opening a US bank account online as a non-resident is likely to be a difficult process filled with varying requirements and lengthy bureaucratic procedures.
However, while it can be difficult, it is not impossible. In this guide, we will look at the main options you have for opening a non-resident US bank account, regardless of your personal needs and preferences!
In short, many non-residents find it difficult to open a bank account in the United States for one simple reason: most US banks require you to be an American citizen or resident in order to approve your application.
You might be wondering, “Can a non-citizen open a bank account in the United States?”
Yes, you can. Non-citizens may find the process complicated, but it is not impossible. Setting up a US bank account will be worthwhile whether for business, travel, or personal reasons.
Banking in the United States has numerous benefits. For starters, you can avoid exorbitant bank and card fees when spending money in the country. Even if you are not a resident, you can have deposits of up to $250,000 insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Continue reading to learn how to open a bank account in the United States.
How to Open a Bank Account in USA As a Non-Resident
In short, many non-residents find it difficult to open a bank account in the USA for one simple reason: most US banks require you to be an American citizen or resident in order to approve your application.
This usually entails submitting a Social Security Number (SSN), an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and proof of address in the United States (although these details vary from bank to bank). You’ll also need to bring an identity document, such as a passport, driver’s license, government-issued photo ID, or, if applicable, immigration documents.
Overall, there are four main ways for non-residents to open a US bank account, and the best one for you will depend heavily on your needs and preferences. These are the pathways:
#1. Big banks in the US
This path usually necessitates residence in the United States (though it does not have to be your primary residence) and requires you to travel to the United States to visit a bank branch and open an account in person. You’ll need specific documentation, so call ahead to check the requirements before you go, as they can vary from bank to bank.
#2. International US Banks
This route does not necessitate US residency or local documentation, but it usually comes with a large initial deposit, high fees, and minimum balance requirements.
#3. Online Accounts
You will not need an SSN/ITIN to open an account here, but you will need to be a US resident. It’s the best option for US residents who want low-cost, digital banking services but don’t mind having a little less banking coverage.
#4. Wise Account
This is the simplest and cheapest way for a non-resident to open a bank account online in the United States, and it is ideal for those who want to open an American bank account online from abroad (as its checking accounts are held by CFSB and EVOLVE).
Documents Needed To Open a US Bank Account
In addition to a completed application form, the following documents are frequently requested by US banks:
- Proof of identity: A valid government-issued identification document, such as an ID card, passport, or driver’s license, can be used as proof of identity.
- Social service number: This is typically a Social Security Number (SSN) or a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) (ITIN).
- Proof of address: Utility bills, bank or credit card statements, lease agreements, or mortgage statements that list the address of a US residence are usually sufficient proof of address.
- Immigration documents
While many US banks will require you to have both an SSN or ITIN and proof of address in order to open an account, the exact documents required to open an account vary significantly from state to state and branch to branch.
You must apply for an SSN/ITIN through the IRS’s website. To obtain temporary proof of address, however, ask your bank if they will accept a letter from your university, employer, or prospective landlord stating your place of residence.
It’s also worth noting that most US banks will require an initial deposit as well. This amount (usually between $25 and $150 or more) can be transferred into your new account via debit card, cash, or ACH transfer.
How To Open an Account With a USA Bank
To open an account with a US bank follow the steps below:
- Gather Your Documents: First and foremost, you must organize your documents. As previously stated, in order to open an account with a major bank in the United States, you will typically require:
- Proof of identity
- Proof of address
- SSN/ITIN (This is not always necessary)
- Make an Appointment: The next step is to schedule an appointment to open a checking account. Some banks let you do this online, but it’s usually best to call.
- Open Your Account: You will be able to discuss your banking needs at the appointment. Your eligibility will be verified, and an account will be created for you.
Types of US Bank Accounts
The majority of bank accounts in the United States are either ‘checking’ or ‘savings’ accounts. Checking accounts function similarly to current accounts in other countries and offer services such as:
- Internet banking;
- Direct debits;
- Bills and other payments;
- ACH and wire transfers;
- A debit card;
- ACH and wire transfers;
- ATM withdrawals.
Savings accounts, on the other hand, allow you to deposit money and earn interest on it over time. There are usually limits on how frequently you can withdraw funds from this type of account.
Both savings and checkingaccounts come with the following features:
- An account number (identifying your account).
- A routing number (identifying your bank).
How To Open Personal Bank Account Without Social Security Number or ITIN
A foreigner may open a bank account in the USA. Most small banks will only open accounts for US citizens and permanent residents. Non-citizens do not have a social security number, which these banks require. This is the most common issue that foreigners encounter.
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Larger banks, however, such as US Bank, TD Bank, Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo, will allow non-residents to open a checking and savings account. Instead of your Social Security number, they will request an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and other documents. You will be able to open an account with these banks as long as the necessary requirements are met.
Interestigly, you can open a personal account as a non-resident. Personal accounts include checking and savings accounts.
A checking account can be used for everyday transactions such as grocery shopping and gas purchases. This account will include a variety of services such as ATM withdrawals, debit cards, account transfers, and more.
A savings account, on the other hand, is used to keep funds set aside for rainy days. They typically have higher interest rates than checking accounts. That means you’ll be able to earn more money with the money you’ve saved.
Because opening a traditional bank account can be difficult for non-residents, other options, such as a multi-currency account, an international account, and a correspondent account, are available. These alternatives may assist you in opening an account from your home country.
Applying for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
An ITIN, which stands for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is essentially a social security number for noncitizen residents. An ITIN is available to foreigners who are not qualified to work in the United States, as well as their spouses and dependents. It is made up of nine digits, the first of which is always a nine.
To apply for an ITIN, you must fill out and submit Form W-7, according to the IRS.
Along with the form, you will be required to present documentation proving each individual’s identity and your foreign status. You can mail the form and the necessary materials to the address specified in the instructions. Also, you can take it to an IRS walk-in center or an authorized Acceptance Agent.
Correspondent Bank Accounts
Correspondent accounts make use of inter-banking relationships. They facilitate banking in countries where your home bank does not have a physical presence.
So, how exactly does it work?
Your country’s bank has a partner bank in the United States. Your bank can assist you in opening an account in the United States. Even if you do not have a physical location in the United States, your home bank can still assist you. You can then conduct wire transfers, deposits, and other financial transactions.
These international transactions will be carried out via the SWIFT network, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. To conduct transactions with a foreign bank, a respondent bank will require the SWIFT code of the correspondent bank.
Assume you want to make an international transfer. You must open an account with an issuing bank, which will be your home bank. The funds will be transferred from the issuing bank to the beneficiary bank via a correspondent bank. The funds are available from the beneficiary bank.
However, not all banks will provide this service. As a result, contact your home bank to see if they have partner banks in the United States.
The process will also differ depending on the country, bank, and branch, so you’ll need to inquire with your home bank about the specific process and requirements.
International Bank Accounts
International accounts may be offered by banks with a global presence. This can be a convenient option for foreigners who do not have a US address. You can open an account from your home country. This eliminates the need to travel to the United States beforehand. Most banks even provide web services that allow you to open a bank account online.
HSBC, Charles Schwab, and Citibank are among the top banks with a large international presence in the United States and elsewhere. Citibank, with operations in over 30 countries, may have the broadest reach of the three.
Some of the typical requirements for opening international bank accounts are as follows:
- Government-issued ID
- Proof of residency
- Initial minimum deposit
Again, the requirements differ depending on the country and the bank. Before attempting to open an account, confirm the requirements with your home bank.
These international accounts, despite their benefits, are not for everyone. International bank accounts, for example, frequently require large initial deposits that can exceed $100,000. You will be charged monthly. You’ll also need to keep a high minimum balance.
These options, however, have some drawbacks:
- You’ll almost certainly need to make a large initial deposit, sometimes in excess of $100,000.
- You’ll need to keep a high minimum balance in the account.
- There will almost certainly be ongoing monthly fees to keep the account open.
Unfortunately, these restrictions keep most people from opening international bank accounts.
In USA, online accounts, also known as “neobanks,” are a new type of financial services provider that is attempting to disrupt traditional banks by providing low-cost, savvy online banking services. The majority of the accounts listed below are not bank accounts, but rather fintech accounts whose clients are deposits held by regulated banks.
Online accounts typically require US residency, but they are less stringent about SSN/ITIN requirements than banks.
Here are some of the most intriguing online account services available in the United States:
We believe Majority is the best suited online current account for new arrivals and migrants in the US with residence but no SSN or ITIN due to its suite of migrant-friendly features (e.g. international calling, wires, exclusive deals, etc.) combined with low fees all around.
- Account name: Majority
- Monthly fee: $5
- Outgoing international wire cost: 0.2% – 2.5% (estimate depending on country)
- International card payment cost: 0%
- US residence required: Yes
- SSN/ITIN required: No
Because of its low fees and panel of features (such as overdraft on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals offered through a special optional service called SpotMe®), Chime® is probably the best option for you if you’re looking for a mobile financial app to save on fees (and as long as you don’t need an extensive list of features).
- Account name: Chime Checking Account
- Monthly fee: $0
- Outgoing int’l wire cost: Not available
- Int’l card payment cost: 0%
- US residence required: Yes
- SSN/ITIN required: Yes
While Current’s basic account does not offer as much functionality as some of the other banks in this ranking, it does have one advantage: if you want to open a monitored account for your teen, Current is one of the best online account options available.
- Account name: Current
- Monthly fee: $0
- Outgoing int’l wire cost: Not available
- Int’l card payment cost: 3% (plus $3 for ATM withdrawals abroad)
- US residence required: Yes
- SSN/ITIN required: Yes
More so, other options to consider include OnJuno and Remitly Passbook.
Wise Multi-Currency Account
Wise is not a bank in the United States, but rather a money transfer company known for providing some of the world’s cheapest international transfers. On the other hand, wise offers a Multi-Currency Account, a low-cost foreign currency spending account, and a Visa debit card in addition to money transfers.
This is the quickest and easiest way for many people to open a US bank account as a non-resident, regardless of whether you want to hold money in US dollars, spend money on vacations abroad, shop online, or receive earnings from an American employer.
After creating an account online, you will only need to verify your identity via Wise’s interface. To sign up for and obtain the Visa debit card, you will not necessarily need to show proof of residence in the United States (though you will need to show proof of residence in the EU/EEA, UK, Singapore, Japan, Australia, or New Zealand).
Product Features of Wise
- The fact that the Wise account comes with legitimate banking details in multiple countries and currencies, including US dollars, is a significant advantage.
- Your Wise USD account will be managed by Community Federal Savings Bank (CFSB) and Evolve Bank and Trust (EVOLVE), and it will include the following information that is unique to you:
- ACH routing number
- Wire routing number
- Account number
- SWIFT/BIC code
This means you’ll be able to spend and be paid in the United States just like a local, as well as convert your USD balance into your home currency without incurring exorbitant bank fees. Here’s a rundown of the other features you’ll be able to use with your Wise Multi-Currency Account once it’s set up:
- Local bank details are available not only in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Romania, Canada, and Hungary.
- Hold, exchange, and top-up up to 56 currencies.
- A Visa debit card that accepts multiple currencies and has no hidden fees.
- Wise’s powerful international money transfer service is accessible directly from your account balance.
How to Open a Wise Account in the United States
- Go to Wise: To begin, go to Wise’s website and click ‘Get an account.’ (Signing up only takes a few minutes.)
- Enter Your Details: Enter your full name, address, phone number, and a government-issued photo ID card.
- Wait for Verification: After you’ve submitted your information, you must wait for your account to be verified. Typically, this is completed within 24 hours.
- Start Using Wise (And Wait for Your Debit Card): Once your account has been verified, you will be able to use the online account and virtual Visa card immediately. The physical debit card will take a few days or weeks to arrive, depending on where you live in the world.
Changing/Transferring to US Dollars
Assume you’ve recently relocated from Canada to the United States and require a functional online account to receive and spend US dollars. You’ll be able to do the following with a Wise Multi-Currency Account:
- Transfer Canadian dollars from your regular account to your Wise USD account;
- Convert all or a portion of your Canadian dollars to US dollars for a low fee (0.52% or C$7.58 to add US$1,000*);
- Make or receive SEPA (and SWIFT) payments using your Wise debit card.
You’ll also have US bank information to share with a potential employer. This account does not allow for an overdraft and does not pay interest on balances. Other restrictions on the Wise USD account are as follows:
- Direct debits are not yet possible.
- Incoming payments must be made in US dollars only; no other currencies will be accepted.
- Domestic transfers take 2 to 3 working days to clear, while international transfers take 4 to 5 days.
- The fee for receiving domestic and international wire transfers is $7.50 per transaction.
How to Send Money from the US as a Non-Citizen
If you live in the United States and want to send money abroad, you have several options aside from traditional banking services. Money transfer services like Boss Revolution are far more convenient and convenient.
Boss Revolution can help you wire money to countries around the world, such as Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, and France. Depending on the country to which you are sending money, you may be able to select from a variety of delivery options.
Cash pickup, home delivery, and mobile wallet are all options. You can wire money directly to a recipient’s checking or savings account in some countries.
To sign up, all you need to do is
- provide your full name, email address, residential address, and phone number.
- You must also provide the recipient’s full name as it appears on their valid ID or bank account.
- You will not have to jump through hoops to complete a transaction.
- More so, you can open an account without requiring residency.
- You won’t usually need an SSN or an ITIN.
Boss Revolution, like other financial services, may require additional information as part of their required regulatory compliance review. If your transactions exceed a certain threshold, you may be required to provide an SSN or ITIN.
Boss Revolution has a desktop version as well as a mobile app that you can use to send messages.
How To Send Money to a US Bank Account
After you’ve opened a bank account in the United States, you’ll need to figure out how to transfer your funds. If you deposit money in a currency other than US dollars, this process can be extremely expensive. To deposit money from your home currency into your new USD bank account before you move, go to your online banking and select one of two options:
- Sending an international SWIFT transfer directly through your bank;
- Sending a bank transfer through an online transfer platform.
We do not recommend transferring money internationally through your bank because the fees can be exorbitant and the wait times can be lengthy. This is primarily due to the fact that banks wire funds over the SWIFT network, which adds many time-consuming and costly steps to the money transfer process.
Instead, if the amount you want to send to the US is in the hundreds or thousands of dollars or equivalent, we recommend using a money transfer specialist service (Wise is one of many). Run a search on Monito’s real-time comparison engine here to see which services are the cheapest for your transfer amount and home country to America.
However, if you’re transferring large sums of money from your home currency to your new bank account in the United States (i.e. more than USD 30,000 or equivalent), services like Wise may not be your best bet. Instead, we recommend researching your options among foreign exchange brokers that accept transfers from your country to the United States.
These companies are experts at negotiating favorable exchange rates on your behalf. They are the most cost-effective option for transferring large sums of money across borders (such as life savings or liquid investments).
Run a search on our comparison site to see which service will provide you with the best deal in real-time.
US Corporate Bank Accounts for Your Business
It is not easy to open a corporate bank account for your international business. How to Open a Bank Account in USA!
To open a corporate bank account in the United States, your company must be based there. As previously stated, larger banks are more open to non-resident applicants. JP Morgan Chase and TD Ameritrade are two examples.
As with personal accounts, the requirements differ depending on the bank and the branch. In general, the following documents will be required to open a corporate bank account:
- Proof of US address
- Government-issued ID
- Proof of business address
- Articles of incorporation
- Federal Employer Identification Number
Non-residents have limited access to online banking. However, some fintech companies are changing the game by making traditional services more accessible to a wider range of people.
These financial institutions will assist you in opening a corporate account without requiring residency. Some may still require your company to be registered in the United States, while others will allow you to open an account regardless of where your company is located.
If you don’t have a physical presence in the United States, you can use services like Wise Business, Airwallex, and Payoneer. These services are ideal for location-independent entrepreneurs because they facilitate international trade.
There are services like Mercury that will help you set up a business account remotely if your company has a US entity. They provide FDIC-insured bank accounts with services like virtual cards, API access, and team management.
Frequently Asked Questions on Opening a Bank Account in the USA
Is it possible for a non-resident to open a US bank account online?
No. Most US banks will require non-residents to apply in person for an account. That means you’ll have to travel to the United States and walk into a bank branch to open an account.
If you live outside the United States but frequently visit the country, you can open borderless accounts, such as international and multi-currency accounts, to have more financial freedom when you travel.
These location-independent accounts can be created from anywhere in the world, whether for business or personal use. They’re also multi-currency accounts. That is, you will be able to store and access different currencies as needed. You’ll be able to send and receive money from anywhere in the world without worrying about exorbitant transaction fees or exchange rates.
It is difficult to open a bank account in the United States as a non-resident. However, with a little research and a lot of patience, you can find the best option for your requirements.
Can a foreigner open a bank account in the US?
If you are a foreigner in the US, your ability to open a bank account in the country is determined by your immigration status. If you are a permanent resident, you will be able to open a bank account in the United States without any difficulty.
If you are a permanent resident without a Social Security number, you have some options, such as Majority, a finance service that works with trusted banks to provide checking accounts and other financial services to migrants in the United States.
You will be unable to open a bank account in the United States if you do not have a permanent residence or an SSN. Still, you may be able to open one from abroad, for example, through a full-service bank like Zenus Bank or a multi-currency bank.
Can a non-citizen open a bank account in the USA?
Yes, even if you are not a US citizen, you should be able to open a US bank account as long as you have a residence permit (Green Card) in the country. If you have an SSN, you will be able to open a checking account anywhere in the same way that a US citizen would.
If you have a Green Card but do not have an SSN, you will have fewer options, but there are a few, such as Majority, a finance service that works with trusted banks to provide checking accounts and other financial services to migrants in the United States.
How do I open a bank account in US from overseas?
The best way to open a bank account in the USA from overseas is the Wise Account. This gives you US checking details and a debit card to spend in 50+ currencies, including US dollars. However, if you want to make a significant investment and don’t mind paying high fees for a full-service checking account, Zenus Bank, a full-service offshore US bank, is probably the best choice.
How to Open a Bank Account in USA!
How do I open a USA bank account for foreigners?
Depending on your residency status, you may have several options for opening a bank account in the United States as a foreigner:
- If you are a permanent resident, you will be able to open a bank account in the United States without any difficulty. Simply call or go online to make an appointment at any of the major banks’ nearest branches such as Wells Fargo, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, or Bank of America, and open an account there.
- If you are a permanent resident without an SSN, you have some options, such as Majority, a finance service that works with reputable banks to provide checking accounts and other financial services to migrants in the United States. Simply go to the website and create an account completely online.
- You will be unable to open a bank account in the United States if you do not have a permanent residence or an SSN. Still, you may be able to open one from abroad, for example, through a full-service bank like Zenus Bank or a multi-currency account like the Wise Account (which we recommend for most non-residents).
How do I open a US bank account online from India?
Unless you have a lot of money to open an offshore account with one of the major US banks, you won’t have many options for opening a US bank account online from India. Zenus Bank, a full-reserve offshore US bank, is one option if you want to make a large investment and don’t mind paying high fees for a complete checking account. To learn more, read our comprehensive guide on how to open a US bank account from India.
Which bank can I open an account with/without a SSN?
Some major US banks will accept your account application without an SSN, but these requirements aren’t always fixed and vary by branch. Banks like Bank of America and Charles Schwab are generally open to new applicants with an SSN, but you’ll need to contact your local branch to confirm this.
Furthermore, online checking accounts such as Majority (a finance service that works with trusted banks to provide checking accounts and other financial services to migrants in the United States) will allow you to open a checking account and obtain a debit card without providing your SSN.
How do I open a US bank account in Nigeria online?
You won’t have many options to open a US bank account online from Nigeria unless you have a large sum of money to open an offshore account with one of the large US banks. Zenus Bank, a full-reserve offshore US bank, is one option if you want to make a substantial investment and don’t mind paying high fees for a full checking account. To learn more, read our comprehensive guide on opening a US bank account from Nigeria.
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Chime is not a bank, but rather a financial technology company.