Are you interested in opening a bank account in the United States? Even if you don’t have a Social Security number or if you are undocumented, you can have a bank account in the USA. We show you step by step how to open a bank account in the US, even if you do not live there or do not have documents.
What documents do I need to open a bank account in the USA?
At a minimum, the law requires the bank to obtain the following information when you open an account:
Name and date of birth
To confirm the name and your date of birth, banks usually require at least one of the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Driver’s license issued by the government (accept licenses from other countries)
- Consular identification
- Birth Certificate / Birth Certificate
Note: People who live in states that grant licenses for undocumented immigrants can use the license as proof of identity.
Proof of Address
To open a bank account, banks and credit unions (known in the United States as credit unions ) will require at least one physical address test.
This can be a utility bill (from the electricity, water, cable, internet, etc.), a lease or a valid driver’s license that shows your address.
If you live in the United States, this will be relatively easy to achieve. If you want to open a bank account but do not have proof of address, there are other options available that we will show you later.
Social security number or ITIN
An identification number means one of the following:
- Social Security Number (also known as SSN)
- ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, also known as Tax ID )
- Foreigner ID Card Number
- Any other document issued by the government that proves your nationality, such as a foreign passport or driver’s license.
Note: Not all banks will allow you to open an account in the United States without a social or ITIN number. Although it is recommended to process your own ITIN or Tax ID , below you will find a list of banks that allow you to open an account if you do not have a social security number.
What is an ITIN
You don’t have a Social Security number and want to open a bank account in the United States? You can obtain a bank account with a “Tax ID” or ITIN Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
The ITIN is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to process taxes. It is not necessary to be a legal resident of the United States to have an ITIN.
The process to get your own ITIN is simple:
- Fill out the W-7 form, available in English and Spanish.
- You present proof of identity, such as a passport or driver’s license, along with a federal tax return.
- You send the request by mail and wait for your ITIN to be processed.
Banks that allow you to open an account in the United States without a social number
Some large and reliable banks (such as Chase, TD Bank or Bank of America), will allow you to open an account in the US by presenting two identity documents. One of these may be an ITIN and proof of an address in the United States.
According to the information collected, all you need to open an account with TD Bank is to visit a bank branch with your passport to a branch.
Although you can try to open the bank account online, they will usually ask for additional documentation. So if you live in the United States it will be better to open your bank account in person.
The option is Bank of America. Depending on the branch and the state, it is possible to open an account only with your passport and an address in the United States. You do not need to show a utility bill, to have your own account you just have to show a letter received by mail at that physical address.
Citibank also offers solutions for people who do not have documents in the United States.
There are also some institutions, such as credit unions for Latinos, that do everything possible to make the process easier for immigrants and people without documents.
For example, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, which has branches in California, the Chicago, Milwaukee and Florida metropolitan area, accepts the following forms of identification:
- Valid driver’s license
- Consular registration (identification card of a Mexican consulate)
- Residence card
Another financial institution is known to help undocumented immigrants, the Latin Community Credit Union Cooperative in North Carolina accepts:
- Identification issued by the government of ANY country
- Valid ITIN or Social Security Number
- Proof of current address
Identification requirements vary from bank to bank, but it is possible to open a bank account in the United States even without living in this country. The language will not be a barrier either since many banks have Spanish-speaking staff.
How to Open a US Bank Account as a Non-Resident
As we have said before, nothing is guaranteed. However, it is possible that these banks allow you to open an account in the USA without a social number:
What bank does not require a Social Security number?
Alliant Credit Union
This bank allows you to open an account with additional documentation, for example, Passport
Bank of America
BOA allows you to open an account without social or ITIN, but you must open the account in person
To open checking and savings account without ITIN. They require a valid photo ID. In addition, they will give you a welcome bonus.
For this Bank account, it is possible to open an account with a foreign passport and document with the address. No SSN or ITIN is required
HSBC existing international customers can have an added US account
To Open account in PNC no ITIN or social number required
TD Bank one of the easiest to open an account without documents
US Bank allows opening accounts without social number
Wells Fargo in some states, allows you to open an account without social security.
Also Read: How to Open Wells Fargo Account
How Immigrants Can Open a Bank Account Without a Social Security Number
It is not necessary to have a social security number to open a checking or savings account.
To open a checking or savings account, the law requires the bank to verify your name, date of birth, address and an identification number.
An identification number can be a social security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). To obtain an ITIN, you must fill out a form and submit it to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
If you do not have a social security number or ITIN issued by the United States government, some banks accept your passport number as an identification number. Some will also accept a foreigner identification card number or identification number in a document issued by a government.
Although in 2020 it is possible to open a bank account in the USA without a social number, nothing is guaranteed. Banking regulations change constantly.
Why do banks allow to open accounts to non-residents?
There are many reasons why banks allow you to open a bank account in the United States as a non-resident and people who do not have documents.
For example, people who visit the US frequently and want to reduce bank and card fees when they invest or spend in the country. Another reason: if you make money online and receive payments from an American company.
Banks also allow foreigners to open accounts as this makes it easier to buy real estate or make other investments in the country.
The good news is that it is possible to open a bank account in the United States without having a social security number. However, not all banks accept these types of clients, and the requirements may even change from state to state.
Ways to open an account in the United States without having documents
The business account in the United States for non-residents
Another option if you want to have a checking and savings account in the United States is to open a company in the United States and obtain a business account. This option is convenient if you want to start your own business and receive payments in the United States.
You will be surprised how easy it is to register a business in the US, and it is incredibly affordable.
When you enter a company in the USA, they will grant you a company identification number, called EIN ( Employer Identification Number ). This is similar to a social security number, but for companies.
After having an EIN, your options for opening an account are more varied, so it will be even easier to open an account in the United States.
This method makes it possible to open a bank account and you do not need to visit the United States.
TransferWise Borderless account
The TransferWise Borderless account or borderless account is another good option to open an account in the United States without having to travel or visit physically.
The Border Wise Borderless account is an online account that allows you to keep money in more than 40 currencies. You can make and receive payments from your account, and some users are eligible to get a free debit card.
The Transferwise Borderless account also gives you access to a bank account in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, making it a great option if you work online, or simply send and receive money from several countries.
Payoneer is a financial services company that transfers money over the Internet and digital payment options. By registering with Payoneer and completing a verification process, you get a virtual bank account in the US.
Nobody will know that it is a virtual account and you can send and receive money through electronic transfers. However, they have some transaction fees that you will have to pay monthly.
Knowing someone in the United States
If you know someone you trust in the United States, you can ask them to open a bank account and deposit your money in this account. You could also ask him to register his own American company and ask him to open a corporate bank account that you can use.
However, this method is not recommended since, although you will have a bank account in the USA, someone else will really have full control of your money.
Hire a lawyer
In some cases, you can also hire a lawyer to open a bank account in the US, but the tax declaration process will be more complicated and the lawyer’s fee can be expensive, (the price of this service usually starts at $ 2000 USD).