How to Open a Bank Account for Non US Citizens

You can open a bank account in the United States even if you're not a citizen. There are many reasons why a non U.S. citizen would choose to open a U.S. bank account. From foreign students to resident aliens and diplomats, many non U.S. citizens require bank accounts to make organizaing their stay easier.

Step 1

Review the list of hostile target countries as per the Office of Foreign Assets Control. This is an agency under the U.S. Treasury Department that imposes sanctions and foreign policies. If your host country is on the list of hostile target countries, you cannot open a bank account in the U.S.

Step 2

Get all your identification documents ready. Once you find that your country of residence is cleared, get all your identification forms together. Most banks require at least two government-issued IDs with picture, but it wouldn't hurt to have more than two with you when you visit the bank of your choice.

Step 3

Go to the bank in person. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, non U.S. citizens are no longer allowed to open a bank account online. You must visit the bank of your choice and sign the necessary paperwork.

Step 4

Fill out the required forms. Make sure that you accomplish all the application forms for your U.S. bank account properly so you don't risk rejection. As much as possible, avoid making mistakes when entering your information. In case you do, however, simply countersign the correction to validate the new entry.

Step 5

Make a deposit. Just like any ordinary bank account, you will need to make an initial deposit for you to get the account open. How much you are required to deposit will vary by bank.

Step 6

Wait for the bank's approval. Processing of bank books or ATMs can take anywhere from 2 to 5 business days. You may be allowed to have your account documents mailed to a temporary residence in the U.S., or you can personally pick them up at the branch.

Tip

Before you personally visit the bank, research its specific requirements for opening an account. Banks will only accept valid documents. If your registration as an alien resident in the U.S. is set to expire, make sure to renew it first so you don’t run into problems with your bank later.

Things You'll Need

  • Passport

  • One or more of the following documents:

  • -- Valid driver’s license

  • -- International tax identification number

  • -- Diplomatic ID

  • -- Proof of current residence

  • -- Social Security number if you’re working in the US

  • W-8 forms declaring your non-residency

  • Cash

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