In this complete guide of How to Get a U.S. Bank Account as a Foreigner you’ll learn:
Contrary to popular belief, non-US residents are eligible to open a bank account for their U.S. company remotely.
The first step is to make sure you have an EIN for your LLC before you can open a bank account. EINs are available without a U.S. Social Security Number but often takes weeks to receive since the IRS has to fax or mail the document to you. If you need assistance obtaining an EIN, We can help.
There are two ways you can open a bank account as a non-resident alien, either in person or remotely.
Because traditional banks have stringent ‘Know Your Customer’ guidelines, they often require you to go into the bank to open an account.
This is typically impossible for non-residents as it requires travel to the U.S. Some neobanks (a neobank is a type of bank that operates fully online) do allow you to open without being present.
Two neobanks as of December 2020 that allow foreign-owned LLCs to open accounts remotely are Mercury.com and Payoneer.
Most banks require an in-person visit before opening a bank account, however with Jumpstart we will open the account on your behalf and share your account details with you. You can manage your entire banking experience online. No visit required.
Your bank account will be registered at a US Bank. We partner with Mercury for banking. https://mercury.co/
Mercury helps both start-ups and well-established businesses with their banking needs. It is built for eCommerce and connects you to Amazon, Shopify, Stripe, Paypal, and almost every other U.S. payment processor.
Mercury accounts are free. They don’t have minimum balances, account opening fees, or monthly fees. The only things that cost money are wire transfers, which are $5 domestically and $35 internationally. They don’t have minimum balances, account opening fees, or monthly fees.
Requirements for opening an account
You’ll need a U.S. company with a federal EIN, your company’s articles of incorporation, and a picture of your government ID (e.g. a passport or driver’s license).
We'll file the company and get you an EIN and articles of incorporation. We just need a picture of your passport.
Because of U.S. sanctions, you won’t be able to open a bank account if you reside in certain countries.
List of countries unable to open accounts: https://help.jumpstartfilings.com/en/articles/4460660-am-i-eligible-for-jumpstart
Most banks will require these documents:
Do I need an ITIN to get a bank account?
To open a checking or savings account, the bank will need to verify your name, date of birth, address, and ID number. An ID number can be a social security number OR an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
You only need an ITIN for a personal account as a non-resident. An EIN is needed for a business bank account.
There are a variety of things to look at when applying domestically or internationally for a bank account, but the most important ones are the following:
Jumpstart does not partner with other banks besides Mercury and cannot recommend other banks to apply to. We recommend revising your bank application and looking for other banks that may support your business.
If you have an ITIN you can open an account in a traditional bank.
Get your ITIN for PayPal here: https://www.jumpstartfilings.com/itin-application
Before checking out we make our customers aware that back accounts are subject to approval and encourage them to read the requirements and best practices for opening an account. Read more here.
You are always able to open a bank account in the United States by traveling and opening one in person. You must open the LLC bank account in the same state where your LLC was formed.
The bank that has the best reviews for non-US residents is Wells Fargo as well as a couple of neobanks here in the U.S. They often open bank accounts with non-Us residents who don’t have a Social Security Number or don’t yet have an ITIN, but will require an in-person visit.
Often people use their LLCs Registered Agents address as the LLCs office address.
Communicate with the bank
Because every bank is different, it is important to reach out to the bank ahead of time and speak to the manager. Inform them that you have a United States LLC and are a non-US resident without an SSN or ITIN. It is important to find out all the documentation they require to open a bank account.
When you schedule your appointment with the bank, it is recommended to stay 1 to 2 weeks just in case there are any complications or extra things you need to do to open your bank account.
Reminder, there may be additional documentation depending on the bank, so reach out to them ahead of time and ask.
Proof of Address
For some banks, you may be able to use your LLC’s address as listed in your state documents and EIN Letter. However, some banks may require more documentation to show “proof of address”.
A lease, utility bill, or phone bill are sometimes required by certain banks as proof. Again, Make sure you communicate with them and fully understand what’s needed before you visit the bank.
U.S. Phone Number
Having a United States phone number is not required, but it can make the bank feel more comfortable doing business with you. This can be beneficial as you can use this number as your LLCs business phone number.
In 2018, a rule about “Customer Due Diligence Requirements” went into effect. This rule, also called the Beneficial Ownership Rule, is required for all banks opening business bank accounts.
They must identify the true owners of the business before they can open a bank account. The purpose of this rule is to prevent illegal financial activity. The bank will provide you a Declaration of Beneficial Ownership form to fill out before they open your account.
Monthly banking fees
Banks often have different “levels” of business bank accounts. They all have different names depending upon the bank, but here are the basics:
The intermediate and advanced accounts require you to keep more money and deposits at the bank and they often charge higher monthly fees than the basic account. Most people often go with a basic business checking account for their LLC.
Usually, banks will not charge a monthly fee if you keep a $1,000-$2,500 in the bank at all times. If you don’t have that much in the bank or they do have a monthly fee, they are usually around $15 per month.
Each bank may have a different initial deposit amount, so ask the bank ahead of time about the requirement. The initial deposit is how much money you must put into the account when you open it. For non-US residents, we recommend using cash when making the first deposit.
But, if you have a US checking account, then you can write a check to your LLC for the initial deposit. Some banks want $500 or $1,000 for the initial deposit. Some other banks only require you to deposit $100 to open an account.
Minimum balance requirements
Banks will charge a monthly fee if your balance goes below a certain amount.
For most LLC bank accounts, you must keep $500 to $2,500 in the account at all times to avoid monthly fees.
This minimum balance requirement is different for each bank, so just call the bank ahead of time and ask. Again, if there are monthly fees, most banks charge about $15 per month.
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