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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 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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