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How To Open Bank Account In USA as a Foreigner: 3 Easy Step-by-Step Ways
As you may already know, it can be a hassle to obtain a physical US bank account, if you are not a US resident. Now, you can always fly yourself to the US and get the account in person.
Instead of going to the USA to open a physical US bank account, you can create a virtual one.
In this article, you’ll find detailed guidelines and step-by-step instructions to easily open a US bank account without a social security number or ITIN.
Benefits Of Opening a US Bank Account as a Foreigner
Here are 8 benefits of having a U.S. bank account as a non-resident:
- Fewer Taxes in Tax-Unfriendly Countries: A U.S. bank account can sometimes be a financial shield in countries with higher tax rates. Income stored in the U.S. might not face the same immediate tax implications as in some other nations, potentially leading to significant savings.
- Ease of Doing Business: Operating with a U.S. bank account facilitates smoother transactions with American clients and businesses. It ensures direct payments, reduces wire transfer fees, and eliminates the need for currency conversions.
- Credibility Boost: Holding a U.S. bank account elevates a business’s reputation. It demonstrates stability and enhances trust among potential U.S. partners and investors, suggesting that the business operates based on international standards.
- Less Provisions: Compared to banks in many countries, U.S. banks have more straightforward processes and fewer provisions, making banking operations more streamlined for foreigners.
- Global Recognition: U.S. bank accounts are widely recognized and respected globally. They facilitate global trade and investment opportunities, as many international businesses prefer dealing with U.S. banking systems.
- Easier Online Purchases: For non-residents interested in shopping from U.S. online retailers or subscribing to U.S.-based services, having a U.S. bank account makes transactions seamless, avoiding international fees or payment rejections.
- Asset Protection: U.S. banking systems have robust legal frameworks that protects assets from potential economic or political instability in a non-resident’s home country.
- Advanced Banking Features: U.S. banks offer cutting-edge banking features, including advanced online banking, mobile apps, and customer support, providing non-citizens with a top-tier banking experience.
Each benefit underscores the value and advantages of opening and maintaining a U.S. bank account as a foreigner.
Three Easy Methods For Opening a Bank Account In Us as an Alien
Navigating the world of U.S. banking as a foreigner might seem daunting, but there are straightforward paths to set up your account. One popular route involves using a specialized company to register an LLC and concurrently open a valid bank account. Alternatively, platforms like Payoneer offer seamless solutions tailored for international users. Furthermore, several U.S. banks extend services to foreigners without demanding an ITIN or SSN. Let’s delve into each of these easy methods and simplify the journey to owning a U.S. bank account.
How Can Foreigner Open Bank Account In US With Payoneer?
There are few companies that can offer virtual accounts. But the one that is highly recommended is Payoneer.com.
Payoneer offers a standout virtual account service. It lets you craft a virtual U.S. bank account with routing and account numbers. It’s great for linking to payment merchants. You can opt for a personal or business account. Both types work well.
Need to shop on Aliexpress in USD? Payoneer provides a debit card for that. Without a U.S. bank account, many end up paying in Euros, losing out on better USD prices. The aim? Stick to spending in USD.
Suppliers on Payoneer? You can transfer funds fee-free from your Payoneer to theirs. Just trust your supplier first.
A heads up about Payoneer and PayPal
Some countries can’t access Payoneer. The UK, the US, and India can. Check if yours is included. If not, consider Worldfirst as an alternative.
Linking Payoneer to PayPal is tricky. PayPal seeks currency conversion fees and prefers tangible bank accounts. Some users find workarounds, but it’s a complex route. Stripe is another option, but they have reservations, too, especially with refunds.
Withdrawing from Payoneer involves a currency fee. However, it’s usually more favorable than PayPal’s rates. As you grow and process more funds, try negotiating for reduced fees. In the fee game, many find Payoneer more reasonable than PayPal, which often leans towards the pricier side.
Forming an LLC And Opening a U.S. Bank Account
Now, we’ll explain the role and function of companies that provide formation and documentation services for U.S.-based LLCs or corporations.
Such companies assist international clients in setting up a legitimate business entity in the U.S. The services typically include:
Business Formation: Specialized companies help register an LLC (Limited Liability Company) or a corporation with the relevant U.S. state department. The process involves selecting a state for registration, naming the business, filing necessary paperwork, and paying the registration fees.
- Choosing a State: The U.S. is composed of 50 states, each with its own set of business laws, benefits, and costs. States like Delaware, Wyoming, and Nevada are popular for business registration because of their business-friendly laws and minimal tax burdens.
- Type of Business Entity: The most common choices for foreigners are Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) and Corporations. An LLC is simpler and offers flexible management, while a Corporation might be better for raising investment or issuing shares.
- Naming the Business: There’s a need to choose a unique name that’s not already in use in the chosen state. Some states have specific naming requirements or prohibited words.
- Filing Paperwork: This involves submitting formation documents like the Articles of Organization (for LLCs) or Articles of Incorporation (for Corporations) to the state’s Secretary of State or equivalent agency.
EIN Acquisition: After the business formation, these companies often assist in obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). An EIN is essential for tax purposes and often for banking needs.
- The Employer Identification Number is essentially the business’s Social Security Number. It’s required for federal tax reporting, hiring employees, and often for opening a business bank account.
- Even if you don’t plan on hiring employees, an EIN is still crucial for a foreign-owned U.S. business.
Virtual Address/ Mail Forwarding: Many services provide a U.S. address for your business, which is crucial for registration. They’ll receive and forward your business mail to your actual address abroad.
- A U.S. address gives your business a domestic point of contact. It’s required for registering the business and for receiving official correspondence.
- Mail-forwarding services receive your business mail and then send it to your designated address, wherever that may be in the world. Some even offer digital scanning options.
Bank Account Setup: With the business documentation in hand, these companies can guide or even facilitate setting up a U.S. bank account for the business. The exact procedure might differ, but having an LLC and EIN generally makes opening a U.S. bank account possible.
- Having a U.S. bank account enhances the credibility of the business, facilitates transactions with U.S. customers, and helps in managing revenue and expenses.
- Some banks might require the business owner to visit in person, but many third-party service providers have relationships with banks that allow account setup without a physical presence.
Credit Card & Financial Services: Some companies assist in obtaining a U.S. credit card or guide you towards financial institutions that are more accommodating to foreign-owned U.S. businesses.
- A U.S. credit card aids in managing business expenses and can also be beneficial for building a credit history for the business in the U.S.
- Some financial services might offer lines of credit, business loans, or other financial instruments that can aid in business growth and operations.
Compliance & Renewals: Keeping the business in good standing involves periodic renewals, report submissions, and potential tax obligations. Specialized companies often offer services to help manage these aspects.
- Annual Reports: Many states require businesses to file annual or biennial reports detailing the business’s activities, management, and any changes.
- State Taxes: Depending on the state of registration and the nature of the business, there might be state taxes to consider.
- Federal Taxes: Even if the business does not owe any U.S. taxes, foreign-owned U.S. entities usually have to file certain tax forms with the IRS.
- Renewals: Depending on the state, there might be periodic renewal fees or franchise taxes to keep the business in good standing.
Engaging in business activities in the U.S. comes with responsibilities. While third-party services can simplify many of the steps, it’s crucial for business owners to understand their obligations and stay compliant. It’s also advisable to consult with legal and tax professionals when establishing and operating a business in the U.S.
Opening Us Bank Account To Non-Citizens Without an ITIN With The Help Of USA Banks
Some banks in the USA allow non-citizens to open an account without an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) or SSN (Social Security Number). While specific banks and their policies can change over time, here are some general guidelines and banks that have historically been known to offer such services:
- International Banks with U.S. Branches: Many global banks operating in the U.S. and other countries have procedures to accommodate foreign clients. Banks such as HSBC, Citibank, and Barclays offer services to foreigners, making the process smoother. To utilize their service, you must first open an account in your country.
- Online Banks & Financial Platforms: Some online banks or financial service providers are more flexible with requirements. For example, platforms like Wise (formerly TransferWise) offer borderless accounts that can be used similarly to a U.S. bank account. While not a traditional bank account, they provide U.S. bank account details (like a routing number and account number).
- Smaller Banks & Credit Unions: Smaller banks and credit unions have more accommodating policies for non-citizens, especially those near border areas or in cities with a high influx of international visitors or students.
- Specialty Accounts for Non-Residents: Certain banks might offer accounts specifically tailored for non-residents. These accounts can be more accessible for foreigners but might come with restrictions or higher fees.
- Business Accounts: If you’re looking to do business in the U.S., some banks might be more lenient with personal identification requirements if you’re opening a business account, especially if the business is registered in the U.S.
What You’ll (Often) Need When Opening an Account Without an ITIN or SSN
- A valid, current passport.
- Proof of address (can be foreign).
- Additional identification (like a driver’s license from your home country).
- A reference from your current bank is likely needed.
Always remember to check with the specific bank about the latest requirements and policies, as these change and vary from one bank to another.
Owning a U.S. bank account as a foreigner brings myriad benefits, from fostering global business credibility to enjoying advanced banking features. The pathways to obtaining one vary, with options like leveraging specialized companies to register an LLC, utilizing platforms like Payoneer, or approaching select U.S. banks that cater to non-residents without needing an ITIN or SSN.
However, once you’ve set up your account, you must familiarize yourself with its features, understand the associated fees, and explore additional services that can amplify your advantages. Navigating the process might require research, but the rewards make the effort worthwhile.
For anyone seeking guidance on the steps to follow, learning how to open a bank account in the USA as a foreigner is the first step towards financial empowerment.