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How to open a bank account without photo ID in Canada

You need ID to open a bank account in Canada, but banks accept more forms of ID than you might think.

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If you don’t have a Canadian passport or driver’s license, you might think it’s impossible to open a bank account without photo ID. But banks may accept other, less commonly used forms of ID.

Can I open a bank account without photo ID in Canada?

The short answer is no. Banks need to verify your identity before you can open an account. That’s anti-fraud policy 101, and it protects you. You wouldn’t want a random person to be able to open a bank account in your name.

This also applies to digital banks. Even if you try to open an account online or through an app, you’ll usually be asked to submit a copy of your ID or a video of yourself.

But if you don’t have a valid Canadian passport or driver’s license, banks might accept other forms of ID.

Use an international passport as verification

Neo Financial now accepts international passports as a verification method for customers. You must still have a Canadian address and a Canadian phone number, however. You can signup for any of their financial services using this as a verification method including the Neo Money Account, the Neo High Interest Savings Account and regular or secured credit cards.

Neo Money Account

Earn 4% interest on every dollar you save and earn an average of 5% cashback on spending with your Neo card. There are no monthly account fees, no transaction fees and no minimum balance requirements.

What ID do I need to open a bank account in Canada?

Banks will look for ID that has an identification number and shows your name, signature and picture. Canadian passports and driver’s licenses issued in a Canadian province or territory are always acceptable (unless expired).

If you don’t have these, here’s a list of alternative IDs that banks might accept. If you don’t have photo ID, you may need to provide multiple alternatives types of ID.

  • Permanent Resident card
  • Health Card (not acceptable in all provinces)
  • Provincial or territorial identity card
  • Tax Notice of Assessment
  • Secure Certificate of Indian Status
  • Canadian Forces Card
  • Canadian citizenship card (issued before 2012)
  • Federally issued firearms license
  • Foreign passport
  • US permanent resident card
  • US driver’s license
ID typically includes: First and last name, signature, photo, date of birth, expiration date, identification number

Why is it sometimes difficult to provide ID to open a bank account?

There are a number of scenarios in which someone might be struggling to provide ID, and there are different options they can take.

Just moved to Canada

If you’ve recently arrived in Canada, you might not yet have a residence, making it tough to provide proof of residency. In this case, many banks accept foreign-issued passports as well as your Canadian-issued visa or other immigration documents.

International students

If you’re planning to study in Canada, you might want to open a Canadian bank account for everyday spending and money transfers. Luckily, most major banks have accounts designed for students and newcomers to Canada with provisions for those who can’t provide the usual Canadian ID.

Digital nomads

With more and more people working remotely, travelling the world while working has become much easier. If you’re living the nomadic life, you may want to get a Canadian mailing address from an online address service provider. Note that there is a cost for this service, which varies depending on the provider you choose and whether you pay for add-ons like mail/package forwarding.

Homelessness

Should you find yourself without a home, there are ways to get an address without buying or renting property. Similar to digital nomads, you can get a virtual address or proxy address where your mail can be sent.

ID requirements for major Canadian banks

BankAcceptable ID
TD Canada Trust logoTD Bank logo

TD Canada Trust

SIN card and:
  • Valid Passport
  • Drivers License
  • Birth Certificate (if under 21)
  • Government Issued Age of Majority card

Can apply in person at a branch with 2 pieces of ID that show your name, address and date of birth.

CIBC logo

CIBC

  • Driver’s license issued in Canada, US or UK
  • Canadian passport or eligible foreign passport
  • BC Services Card (in BC)
  • NEXUS card
  • CANPASS Air membership card
  • Certificate of Canadian or US Citizenship
  • Certification of Naturalization (not a commemorative issue)
  • Canadian or US Permanent Resident card
  • Canadian Certificate of Indian Status
  • Provincial or territorial health insurance card (not valid in all provinces)
  • Provincial/territorial identification card
  • Government of Canada employee ID card with name + photograph
  • Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation (MPIC) card
  • Canadian Firearms License
  • Provincial or Federal Police force ID card
  • Canadian Forces ID Card
  • Correctional Services Canada ID card
  • US Certificate of Naturalization

Alternatively, present 2 of the following pieces of ID showing your name, date of birth and address.

  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship or Certification of Naturalization (not a commemorative issue)
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada Form IMM 1000, IMM 1442, IMM 5292 or IMM 5688
  • Health card without photo (not acceptable in all provinces)
  • Canadian birth certificate
  • Recent CRA tax Notice of Assessment
  • Recent statements of benefits from Canadian or provincial/territorial government
  • Recent Canadian public utility bills
  • Recent bank account or credit card statement
  • Eligible foreign passport
RBC Logo

RBC

  • 2 pieces of identification from the following:
    • 2 pieces of identification from List A
    • 1 piece of identification from List A and 1 piece of identification from List B

List A:

  • Canadian Birth certificate issued by a provincial, territorial or federal government
  • Canadian Citizenship Certificate (no photo)
  • Canadian Citizenship and Immigration form IMM1000 (prior to June 28th, 2002)
  • Canadian Citizenship and Immigration form IMM1442
  • Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Form IMM5292
  • Canadian Naturalization Certificate (not a commemorative issue)
  • Canadian Old Age Security card
  • Canadian Social Insurance Number Card (red and white plastic card issued on or before March 31, 2014)
  • Provincial and territorial health insurance card with no Photo (except for Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and PEI)

List B:

  • Automated Banking Machine (ATM) card or client card,
  • Canadian Social Insurance Number letter (issued after March 31, 2014)
  • Student card with photo issued by Canadian university or college
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) client card with photo and signature
  • Credit Card, issued by a member of the Canadian Payments Association with name and signature
  • Employee identity card, issued by a well-known employer, bearing the individual’s photograph
  • Diplomatic ID issued by Foreign Affairs
  • Sponsor, personally known by RBC client or community member
Scotiabank logo

Scotiabank

Non-expired government ID issued in Canada with your name, photo, a unique identifier number and your signature.

Acceptable ID:

  • Passport
  • Citizenship card (issued prior to 2012)
  • Permanent resident card
  • Secure Certificate of Indian Status
  • Canadian Forces Card
  • Foreign Passport
  • Provincial Drivers Licenses
  • DND 404 Driver’s License
  • British Columbia Services Card
  • Provincial Health Card (BC & Quebec only)
  • Provincial/territorial identity cards
BMO logo

BMO

The eligible piece of identification must contain a photo and be issued by a government agency, including a federal government, (e.g. Canada, US or other foreign government), or by a provincial/territorial/state level
government.
  • Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
  • Certificate of Indian Status issued by the Government of Canada
  • Driver’s licence as permitted to be used for identification purposes (a temporary Alberta Driver’s
  • Licence prohibited from being used as identification)
  • Canadian Firearms Licence
  • Government issued ID card or document
  • Immigration Canada Documents; Immigration
  • Canada form IMM 1000, IMM 1442, IMM 5292, or IMM 5688
  • NEXUS Card
  • Passport
  • Permanent Resident card
  • Provincial or territorial health insurance card as permitted to be used as identification under provincial or territorial law (health cards issued by the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, P.E.I., and Nova Scotia are prohibited from being used as identification anywhere in Canada)
  • Document or card, bearing the individual’s photograph and signature, issued by any of the following authorities or their successors:
    • Insurance Corporation of British Columbia
    • Alberta Registries
    • Saskatchewan Government Insurance
    • Department of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
    • Department of Transportation and Public Works of the Province of Prince Edward Island
    • Service New Brunswick
    • Department of Government Services and Lands of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
    • Department of Transportation of the Northwest Territories
    • Department of Community Government and Transportation of the Territory of Nunavut
  • Newcomers to Canada: A valid passport + Canadian visa
National Bank logo

National Bank

Valid government ID issued in Canada including:
  • Canadian passport
  • Driver’s licence
  • Permanent resident card
  • Provincial or federal identification card (excluding Quebec)
  • Quebec Health Insurance Card (new version)

When applying online, you will submit a copy of your ID and a selfie for comparison. You can also verify your identity by signing into online banking at another financial institution where you have a chequing or savings account.

How about credit checks?

You may be able to open a bank account without providing multiple types of ID if your bank allows digital identity verification by conducting a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit score. However, some banks require hard credit checks if you open an account online. This will affect your credit score.

Open a bank account

Name Product Monthly Account Fee Free Transactions e-Transfer Fee Bonus Offer Offer
Simplii No Fee Chequing Account
Simplii No Fee Chequing Account
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BMO Performance Chequing Account
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$16.95 (can be waived)
unlimited
$0
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Get up to a $600 cash bonus. Valid until February 29, 2024. Plus, earn a 5.50% promo interest rate when you open a Performance Chequing and a Savings Amplifier Account.
EQ Bank Personal Account
EQ Bank Personal Account
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unlimited
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Coast Capital Free Chequing, Free Debit, and More Account
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$30.95 (can be waived)
unlimited
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Earn $550
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RBC Signature No Limit Banking Account
RBC Signature No Limit Banking Account
$16.95 (can be waived)
unlimited
$0
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Get the new Apple Watch Series 9 when you switch to RBC & open an RBC Signature No Limit Banking Account. Valid until April 1, 2024.
BMO Premium Plan Chequing Account
BMO Premium Plan Chequing Account
$30 (can be waived)
unlimited
$0
Earn $600
Get up to a $600 cash bonus. Valid until February 29, 2024. Plus, earn a 5.50% bonus interest rate when you add a Savings Amplifier Account.
RBC VIP Banking Account
RBC VIP Banking Account
$30 (can be waived)
unlimited
$0
Get Apple Watch Series 9
Get the new Apple Watch Series 9 when you switch to RBC & open an RBC VIP Banking Account. Valid until April 1, 2024.
Neo Money Account
Neo Money Account
$0
unlimited
$0
N/A
Innovation Federal Credit Union No-Fee Chequing Account
Innovation Federal Credit Union No-Fee Chequing Account
$0
unlimited
$0
Win a winter getaway
Open an account and you could win a $2,500 winter getaway. Valid until March 31, 2024.
CIBC Everyday Chequing Account
CIBC Everyday Chequing Account
$4
12/month
$1.50
N/A
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Name Product Promo Rate Regular Interest Rate Transaction Fee 1 Year Return Offer
KOHO Earn Interest
KOHO Earn Interest
N/A
5.00%
$0
$500.00
EQ Bank Personal Account
EQ Bank Personal Account
4.00% for 12 months
2.50%
$0
$400.00
Simplii High Interest Savings Account
Simplii High Interest Savings Account
6.00% for 5 months
0.40%
$0
$269.89
Scotiabank MomentumPLUS Savings Account
Scotiabank MomentumPLUS Savings Account
5.60% for 3 months
1.30%
$5.00
$297.30
Neo High Interest Savings Account
Neo High Interest Savings Account
N/A
4.00%
$0
$400.00
CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account
CIBC eAdvantage Savings Account
3.40% for 120 days
0.65%
$5.00
$227.37
TD High Interest Savings Account
TD High Interest Savings Account
N/A
0.05%
$5.00
$5.00
Tangerine Savings Account
Tangerine Savings Account
5.75% for 5 months
0.70%
$0
$276.00
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The bottom line

To prevent fraud, you can’t open a bank account in Canada without ID. Although passports and driver’s licenses are the most commonly used forms of ID, banks typically accept a much wider range of documents to verify your identity. You may also be able to verify your ID by consenting to a credit check.

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