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How to Open a U.S. Bank Account Outside of the U.S.

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Written by
Lou Zarcal
Published on
May 31, 2023
How to Open a U.S. Bank Account Outside of the U.S.


Opening a U.S. bank account from outside the United States can seem like a daunting task, especially for non-residents.

However, with the right information and preparation, it is entirely possible. Having a U.S. bank account can offer several benefits, such as facilitating international transactions, managing finances related to U.S. investments, and simplifying money transfers.

Here are the steps to open a U.S. bank account from outside the country as a non-resident:

1. Research U.S. banks:

Start by researching banks that offer services to non-residents. Look for banks with a strong online presence, as they are more likely to have streamlined processes for international customers. Here are some examples:

  • Bank of America: Bank of America offers a range of banking services for non-residents, including checking accounts, savings accounts, and credit cards. They have a dedicated webpage for non-U.S. residents where you can find information and apply online.
  • Citibank: Citibank has a Global Executive Banking program that provides banking services for non-residents. They offer checking and savings accounts, as well as specialized services like international mortgage loans and investment services.
  • Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo offers banking options for non-residents, including checking and savings accounts. They have an International Personal Banking program that caters to the needs of non-U.S. residents.

2. Determine the type of account:

Choose the type of account that suits your needs. Common options include checking accounts and savings accounts. Some banks also offer specialized accounts for non-residents.

  • Checking Account: also known as a current account or transaction account, is designed for everyday financial transactions. It provides easy access to your money for depositing and withdrawing funds.
  • Savings Account: designed for storing money and earning interest over time. It is intended for individuals to save money for future needs or financial goals.

3. Gather necessary documentation:

Prepare the required documents for opening a U.S. bank account as a non-resident. The typical documents include:

  • Valid passport or government-issued identification with a clear photo.
  • Proof of address, such as a utility bill or bank statement. If you don't have a U.S. address, provide an address in your home country.
  • Tax ID. Non-residents may not have an SSN (Social Security Number), but an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) can be obtained from the IRS if needed. If neither is present, a local tax ID may suffice.

4. Consider using international money transfer services:

If you're unable to open a U.S. bank account as a non-resident, you can still manage your finances and make international transactions using international money transfer services like Wise (formerly TransferWise) or Parallax. These services allow you to hold money in multiple currencies and make low-cost transfers internationally.

Let’s look at your options:

a. Parallax

Parallax is another international money transfer service that provides secure and efficient cross-border payments. It allows you to move your money 2x faster and 3x cheaper. With Parallax, you can send money globally at cheaper rates and no markups on exchange fees and even convert your money to digital currencies within the platform.

Holding USD in the U.S. bank deposits on Parallax is FDIC-insured so you can feel sure your funds are safe.

b. Wise

A popular international money transfer service that allows you to send and receive money across borders with low fees and competitive exchange rates. With Wise, you can hold and manage funds in multiple currencies, making it convenient for international transactions. Wise offers a user-friendly online platform and mobile app for easy account management.

To open an account with Parallax:

  1. Visit their website at
  2. Prepare your Tax ID number and a passport photo
  3. Fill out information needed and wait for confirmation
  4. Once you have your Parallax account, you will be provided with a US bank account

By following the steps outlined above and researching the specific requirements of the bank you choose, you can successfully open a U.S. bank account from outside the country.

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How to Open a U.S. Bank Account Outside of the U.S.