Need a US bank account but not American? Living abroad? Are you looking for options on applying remotely?
Let’s get you settled today, read on my friend! 🙂
If you’re a frequent traveler to the US, someone who plans to relocate in the US, or maybe a student who plans to take a degree in the states, opening a bank account is probably one of your check lists. Opening a bank account as a foreigner is a bit complicated to do especially in the United States – regulations were tightened due to various money laundering cases and the requirements became more complex. But fret not, opening a US bank account as a foreigner is still possible with preparation, proper documentation and a little bit of patience.
If you’d like us to help connect you with a US bank rep, please click the button below.
What Can I Do With My US Bank Account?
How Is Your American Bank Search Going?
Before we get too far into it, let’s share where we are in the US banking process, fill out the quick poll below and see where others are in your situation too.
Click above to see the results of the poll after submitting your answer.
What Are The Requirements In Opening An Account?
Note that not all banks have the same set of requirements, it sometimes vary depending on which state you plan on residing/moving to. Nonetheless, below are the usual and most common requirements by most banks:
- Your passport
- Proof of Address (such as billing statement/utility bill
- Debit/Credit Card from your country
- Social Security Number (here’s a tutorial on how to obtain an SSN as a noncitizen)
- Initial Deposit
Other Supporting Documents You May Need
- Secondary identification card such as driver’s license, work visa or student ID.
- Immigration Documents
- Bank Statement from your local bank
- Credit History Report
- Certification of employment from your US employer
- Enrollment Form (if you’re a student)
Ideally, it is best to reach out to the bank you intend to visit via phone call to clarify the documents needed before heading to the bank.
Account Opening Procedure
Do I Need To Visit The US To Open An Account?
In most cases, yes.
To ease the account opening procedure, visiting the US to open an account would be an excellent thing to do. Nevertheless, going to the US just to open an account isn’t really a requirement for some banks. Nowadays, you can open an account online – only it takes long and you have a higher risk of getting disapproved.
How To Open A US Bank Account From Overseas?
Not all banks allow this, but there are some like HSBC and Citibank that allows you to open a bank account without you having to fly to the United States. To do this, you may:
1. Contact the bank representative to get you assisted – some banks may allow you to submit your documents by scanning & emailing them to them.
2. If you plan to open an account with a global bank that is also operating in your country (such as HSBC, CitiBank, Barclays, et al) you may actually coordinate with them to assist you in opening a bank account in the US prior your arrival.
3. Sign up online. Some banks like Chase & Bank of America offer online application services.
Best US Banks to Open an Account With
Wells Fargo, Capital One , Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase & Suntrust will open an account for you without issues as long as you submit all the necessary documents.
Question & Input From Readers
You mentioned you need an address. But you didn’t mention how to get the address. Does a registered agent’s address work? If you want to setup a business account – and not traveling to the US, don’t have a physical address – only have registered agent’s address and a EIN number and US entity, which banks will setup an account for a foreigner?Shawn
I have B1/B2 visitor visa and I would like to open bank account in USA. Is it possible for me to do that? I went to Bank of America but unfortunately they can’t do that for me.Azian
And more questions coming in!
I read about your blog post about opening commercial account in USA without flying over there physically.
Can you share with me whether is it still possible to open account without being physically there?
Yes, it is still possible. There are online banking solutions and other ways to do that. We have 2 – 3 options we can introduce you to by completing the email questionnaire that you can request at the bottom of this blog post called “Connect with a US Bank Rep”.
Do I Need A Physical US Address To Open An Account?
Yes. As part of the US Patriot Act and Anti-money laundering program, Banks requires every account holder to have a physical address which shall be: (i) For an individual, a residential or business street address; (ii) For an individual who does not have a residential or business street address, an Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) box number, or the residential or business street address of next of kin or of another contact individual.
How To Open US Bank Account With No Physical US Address
- Use the address of a relative or next of kin
- Use the address of a friend
- Use a registered agent address / mail forwarding service. If all else fails, using a registered agent address should be your last option. Some banks accept this, especially if the mail service provider is just small-time and is less likely to get flagged as a registered agent address.
- Use a personal mailbox by the UPS store
This is basically like a mail forwarding service + PO Box combined – only it gives you a real street address and not a PO Box number. Moreover, you can choose from any UPS Store Location.
If you plan to open a bank account and declare your address as a registered agent address, then you are most likely to get disapproved or declined. As part of KYC (Know-your-customer), banks require a legit physical domicile. Typically, you can choose from these 4 options mentioned above and open an account without telling the bank anything about the address specified.
US Banking Setup
Requirements For Corporate / Business Account
Want to watch an overview of the US banking setup? You’re in luck, Lyka, our GFA co-host, brings you the video tutorial here.
Opening A Business Account From Overseas
As previously mentioned, personally opening a bank account is basically the easiest way to get one, especially if it’s a corporate account. However, if going to the US is not an option for you, there are certain banks that may help you set up an account without having to fly to the states such as Wells Fargo & Bank of America*.
*Note on applying online at Wells Fargo and Bank of America – this was verified to work for others in the past but over the years since this blog article was made they have not allowed non US citizens to apply for their banking solutions online.
We have been adding related posts and guides for those looking to expand their business into USA, please check out these related posts: getting a USA virtual address and How to Incorporate in USA, enjoy!
Help is on the way
Looking for USA Business Banking Help?
While many of you are looking for a consumer (individual) US bank account, we recommend if you’re serious about long term US financial solutions to consider opening a USA company. Our team at Global From Asia specializes in assisting non-US citizens with company setup and banking and would love to work with you. If this seems interesting talk to one of our representatives or read more on our USA VIP packages today.
Questions From Your Banking Experience
We’ve had quite a few people email us their experiences, we would love to document it here to help others – you can help us by answering the following questions:
- When did you open a USA bank account?
- Did you have to go to the USA to do it?
- What were the fees to do it?
- What is the name of the bank?
- Do you hear if it is easier or harder these days?
Let us all work together to make this headache of banking globally easier!
Infographic on USA Bank Opening
The team at GFA made a full detailed infographic – free – to help you on your bank account application journey – view and download the high resolution version here.
We hope that can be a map or guide for you along this complex journey of opening a bank account in America.
Let Us Help Connect You With a USA Banking Advisor
We have had a lot of requests for help with USA banking – and can connect you with specialists and solutions for your banking nightmare. To get started click the button below:
At Global From Asia, we truly wish you the best in your US banking endeavor – it has been a struggle for many and let’s all work together to achieve success.