How to Set Up a New Bank Account in the US

You may be wondering if you can open a bank account in the US even if you are a non-resident of the country. Well, it is possible to do it online if you are planning to move into the country. Opening an account online is smart as it speeds up the entire process. You will have to physically visit the branch to be able to activate the account fully, but let us get to that later.

You may have plans to study in the US, moving to the country permanently, or have plans of working there on a semi-permanent basis. You will be eligible to open a bank account if you can produce valid documents.

Moving to any country means you need a place to stash your money, and getting a bank account is not at all optional. We will help you through the process of opening a bank account in the US.

What are the Types of US Bank Accounts?

The US bank accounts are mostly checking, or savings account mostly. The checking account is similar to the current account in other countries, which offers the usual banking facilities, such as online banking, account transfers, direct debits, ATM withdrawals, debit cards, bills and other payments.

On the other hand, savings accounts are used if you wish to grow your money over time, as you will get an interest for the amount you deposit in this account. There are restrictions on how you can withdraw money from this account. Both accounts come with an account number for your account and a routing number that identifies your bank.

What Documents Do You Need to Open a Bank Account in the US?

You always need to submit identification documents to any bank in any country while opening a bank account and opening one in the US is no different. The documentation needed may vary from bank to bank. But in general, you will be asked to submit the following documents.

  • Your passport or driver’s license
  • Immgration documents
  • Contact details and personal info
  • A deposit payment for opening the account.

Most banks will crucially ask you for your Social Security Number (SSN), which is a hurdle for non-residents or non-citizens as they will not have one. Not every bank may accept your application without an SSN, but many banks may allow you to open a bank account without an SSN.

Other banks may ask you for an Individual Tax Payer Identification Number (ITIN) in place of an SSN. ITIN is used to help foreign citizens who do not have an SSN comply with tax laws. To get an ITIN number, you can apply for it if you are not a citizen of the US or a non-resident. This is done when you are married to a US citizen, or you are filing US tax returns.

Can You Open a Bank Account from Overseas?

If you are a US citizen but live in another country, you can open a bank account, but there are a few difficulties along the way. Having said that, as you have US citizenship, you can still open a bank account from overseas.

When it comes to opening a US bank account, if you are not a US citizen, there are several hurdles you need to cross. Firstly, you can start the account opening process online, but you need to visit a branch in person to complete the formalities. This means you have to fly to the US, making an appointment with a local bank branch personnel. The other problem will be that many banks will not accept your application without a social security number; hence you need to do your homework to figure out banks that will let you open a bank account with them without an SSN.

Some banks do accept non-residents as you will not have all the options like any US citizen. Having said that, you still will have access to personal and business banking in a limited number of banks.

Can You Open an Online Account as a Non-Resident?

Yes, you can start the account opening process online, but unfortunately, you will be unable to access its full features until you visit the bank branch. This is a standard procedure that almost all banks follow where you need to at least make one visit in person to open an account in the bank. This is mainly done to verify your identity. If you are in a different country, then a smart approach is to open an international bank account with an existing bank with branches outside S. This will let you open a bank account in a US bank without even visiting the country.

Another method you can use to open a bank account in the US is a correspondent banking relationship. When a bank in your country collaborates with a bank in the United States, your home bank may be able to set up an account for you with their partner’s bank. Contact your home bank to find out if they can help you open a US account with their US collaborated bank.

Banks You Can Consider to Open an Account:

We have listed here a few banks that allow non-residents to open an account with them. You can get in touch with bank personnel to get further details about them.


Chase is one of the biggest banks in the United States that offers several account types for everyday banking, students, and savings.

Bank of America:

Bank of America is another largest bank in the US that let non-residents open an account with them. They offer a lot of banking flexibility, which is why we have added this bank to the list. You will get more or less all banking benefits just like a US citizen.

Please note that Wells Fargo Bank was also included in the list earlier, but recently they are not allowing non-residents to open an account with them. If this rule changes, we will add them back to this list again.

The Bottom Line:

Opening a bank account when you are a non-resident means you have to put in more effort, and you will be presented with limited options. But, if you are moving to the US, you definitely need to open a bank account right away to stash away your money.