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BANK ACCOUNT

Being a foreigner and non-resident


One of the things that is needed is to open a bank account and for a newcomer and being a non-resident (that is, not being an American or if you do not have a "Green Card") it can be a bit complicated.


Still there are always options. If you are already in the United States, it is best to go to the bank.

Necessary documentation

  • Address, contact details

  • ID. It could be the driver's license (American) In my case it was the passport

  • Valid visa or Green Card (in my case it was the visa)

  • ITIN (Individual Tax Identification Number) or Social Security Number

  • Money to make an initial deposit


The "problem lies" when you do not have a social security number because your visa does not allow it. In that case you can apply for the ITIN. (Give the option to do it through a certified agent, I recommend it to avoid having to send the passport by mail)


It was no problem for my husband to open a bank account and he did it with one of the banks that the company works with. He had a social security number.

When I arrived, I did not have a social security number or an ITIN. Since my visa did not allow me to have social security until I had the work permit. (Later we found out that I could have gotten the number because my visa allowed it.....one of the frustrations you have when you live abroad)

In that case my husband "sponsored" me because we have separate accounts.

I had to fill out several forms


  • A letter explaining why you were in the United States (letter of Explanation for Non-residents Alien Using Domestic Mailing Address)

  • Form W-8BEN (Cerificate of Foreign Status of Beneficial Owner for United States Tax Withholding and Reporting (Individuals)

  • Plus the normal registration forms of a bank

  • Color copy of my passport

  • Color copy of my visa


Once they open the account, if you don't have a job you just get a Debit card. Once I got the Social Security Number, they gave me a Credit Card to start creating "Credit Score".

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