How to Open a United State Bank Account and Credit Card as a Foreign Citizen (without having a SSN or having to travel to the US)

Are you wondering how to open a United State Bank Account and credit card as a foreign citizen?

Having a bank account in another country like the United States carries with it a myriad of advantages.

In some cases, banks in the United States have better operations than the ones back home.

It could even be that you want to save your money in currency that has high value and a lower rate of fluctuation, like the dollar.

Or probably you have much money that would be questioned by the authorities back in your country.

As a matter of fact, many people do have bank accounts in countries outside their own, in countries like the United States.


Can Foreigners Open Bank Accounts in the United States?

You might have been wondering, “Can I open a bank account as a citizen of another country in the United States?”

This is actually a common question that has perplexed millions of people around the world. Many people would love to have a bank account overseas but unfortunately they do not know how to go about the matter. Well, this article gives you just the right answer you have been looking for.

Yes, you can open a bank account in the United States even though you are a non-citizen. It is worth noting that in the current times, opening up a bank account in the United States is not an easy task. Nonetheless, it is not impossible.

In the past, criminals would swindle large sums of money from their countries and ‘hide' them in banks in the U.S.

Currently, fiscal policy in the United States regulates bank activity to ensure that such occurrences are not incurred. Therefore, as long as you have the right documentation and your intent for opening up the bank account in the United States is right in order, there is no need to dread.

There are, however, two sides to the aim of opening up a U.S bank account. You may want to open up either a personal account or a business account.

For most banks in the United States, if you are opening up a personal bank account, you are required to physically visit the bank branch with the required documentation and open it.

In usual cases you cannot open it up remotely online but you are required to physically walk in into the bank and have an accounts opening officer help you through.

Therefore, I recommend that you contact the bank branch prior to going there physically. Inform them of your desire to open up a U.S bank account with them and your status as non-citizen of the United States.

They will take you through how the process will be performed. There are some documents and requirements that are demanded by all the main banks.

However, requirements may vary from bank to bank and from branch to branch. For this reason, you need to contact the bank first through call or email and get information of the mode of operation of the bank when opening up the account you need.

This will help you know when to visit the bank and what to carry along with you. When you do this, it will save you money and time.

Consider how frustrating it would be to be bounced back to your country for the want of a document you forgot to take. Considering how expensive flights can be in terms of money and time, this is really a great loss.

You don't want to lose dollars that way. You would rather invest them. For this reason, do the necessary background check before you dive right in.

Make sure that you select the best bank that will meet your banking needs to the best of your expectations.

The other side of the coin is when you want to open up a business account. The recommended procedure is to go through the above steps for opening up a personal account.

Head to the bank physically and have it opened up for you. There are a number of third parties that state that they offer U.S business account opening services to non-citizens of the United States.

They claim to help you open it up at the comfort of your home and a stable internet connection, and of course a fee.

Well, to take this route, you will need to make research to ascertain the credibility of the service you would like to use.

It's not being paranoid. It's being cautious not to lose your hard-earned dollars. The best option is to go for yourself directly to the bank and open up the account.

The added value of this is that you get extra information about the bank, which you would not access online.

And most importantly, you are sure by the time you leave after the process that your account is safe and functional.

The norm is that most banks in the United States do not allow non-residents to open up bank accounts online.

The legal requirement is that you physically present certain identifying documents as required by the branch you intend to work with.

However, some banks can allow you open up a bank account remotely under certain conditions. For example if you have attained a U.S visa as an international student or as someone who is going to work in the United States, some banks have the provision of opening up an account for you online remotely before you arrive in the U.S.

This can be through a scheduled online appointment or any other means as the bank may see fit.


What Are the Benefits Of Opening a US Bank Account Remotely for Non-Citizens Before Arriving in The US?

1. Insurance by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC)

The FDIC insures up to 250,000 U.S dollars of your deposits regardless of whether you are a United States citizen or not.

As long as you have deposits in a recognised U.S bank, your money is insured under this arrangement.

This gives you a guarantee that your deposits are safe and gives you a go-ahead to make savings before you step into the country.

Knowing that your money is safe can be so relieving and allows you proceed with business with no fear of losing money.


2. Cheaper wire transfers

Having a bank account in the United States before you arrive there gives you a cheaper option for the wire transactions you would love to make with people in the United States.

You can instruct your bank to make the transaction for you, through your bank account which is actually cheaper than when you use other third party means especially if the other person also has an account in the same bank.

You will not have to first convert currency when transferring money to someone in the United States


3. Convenience

If you already have been saving money on your U.S bank account, you won't have to go through the trouble of converting currency to U.S dollars.

Additionally, you won't have to move around for some time with hard cash on your arrival. You can conveniently just transfer payments or use your debit card when you arrive in the United States. Having a bank account makes things easy for you.


4. Payments

Having a U.S bank account before your arrival in the States can make life easy for you. You can make all your prerequisite payments through your bank before you arrive.

You can pay for utilities like rent and electricity before you arrive enabling things to be well sorted out in time.

In the advent of your arrival, everything would be well sorted out before, giving you the much-needed opportunity to rest after a long voyage.

Therefore having a bank account earlier gives you opportunity to make transactions on time which gives enough time for everything to be set out for you right before you arrive.


5. Linkage with peer-to-peer services

Most peer-to-peer services have the option of transferring money from your bank account by linking your debit card.

Having your bank account linked with your account on a peer-to-peer service makes transactions easy and makes your peer-to-peer account to be considered more authentic.


6. Updates

Your bank can be an instrumental source of information for you about the banking system in the U.S.

As you work with them in opening up your account, you can subscribe to receive regular updates from them that can assist you so that by the time you arrive you are not green about the whole system.


7. Virtual debit card

Most banks in the U.S will issue you a virtual debit card which is an accepted mode of payment on various online platforms making your online purchases easy.


8. Reliability

A bank account is a reliable method of keeping and transferring money. Having a bank account as a means of transactions in the United States gives you a guarantee that your money is relatively safe owing to the fact that it is easy to lose money in a country that is not your mother country.


How to Open a United State Bank Account and Credit Card as a Foreign Citizen (without having a SSN or having to travel to the US)

Are you a foreigner trying to open a bank account in the United States but don’t know how to go about it?

Well you are in luck because I will be covering everything you need to do in order to get a bank account in the US.

The following step by step process was shared by Michael Wishko on his Twitter account.

I found it very helpful and decided to include it in this blog post.


Step #1: Open up Mercury Online Banking Account

step 1



Step #2: Get a US LLC Can't skip this step.

step 2

It’s REQUIRED. Pick a state without income.

Michael Wishko, Corporate CPA recommends Wyoming (no tax + business-friendly)

Many different services can help you do this, Michael recommends Buffalo Registered Agents.


Step #3: Get US Address via Registered Agent.

step 3

Registered Agents = official contact person to receive legal docs who's located in the state. Any service you file your LLC with will offer registered agent. Buffalo offers for $49


Step #4: Get an EIN Number You simply have to register your business (which you have via LLC) with the IRS.

step 4


Step #5: Enter LLC & EIN Info in Mercury Account

step 5


Step #6: Hook Up Any Payment Service to Mercury

  • Amazon
  • Shopify
  • Stripe
  • PayPal Simply connect to Mercury and you'll be able to receive USD into other currencies.


Now you have a Bank Account. Time for a Credit Card. This one is easier.

Step #1: Find Credit Card that Does Not Require SSN.

WalletHub always has a current active list.

1 0001


Step #2: Apply for Credit Card


Step #3: Have CC Sent to Registered Agent Address

You have this by now via the bank account steps. You can also just have card info sent to you online if you don't need physical card.


Disclaimer: Part of this article first appeared on Michael Wishko’s Twitter account @wishko.

You can check out the original thread here.

For more gems on eCom, Amazon FBA and marketing, follow Michael Wishko on Twitter @wishko