How to open a bank account in the United States

How to open a bank account in the United States

Whether you’re relocating to take advantage of the American education system or work toward the American dream, you’ll need access to money while in the US.

If you’ve recently relocated from another country, you may not have a lot of cash reserves or credit to last long. A US bank account could simplify your financial situation, allowing you to easily save money while paying the many bills required to settle into your new home.

Can I open a bank account as a recent arrival?

As a new arrival to the US, you may find it more difficult to meet the requirements of a bank. You’ll typically need to provide government-issued ID and a Social Security number as well as proof of your creditworthiness.

Online banking is an option, but current laws in place to protect against money laundering could prevent you from successfully opening an account. You may find better results by talking directly with a client representative at a bank’s physical branch.


What documents will I need to open a US bank account?

Banking regulations differ by state, which means that specific requirements will vary depending on your new location.

Most banks require that you provide:

  • Government-issued ID, including a passport or other photo ID.
  • Social Security number.
  • Proof of your physical address, such as a utility bill.
  • Any immigration forms.

Before meeting with a branch representative, speak with customer support about the documentation required by non-US citizens to open an account.

Banks vary on the type of documents they accept. For example, you may be able to use a utility bill to establish proof of your address.

How much money do I need to open an account?

Depending on the bank, you may need a minimum deposit or even a fee to open an account. Also ask about annual fees, minimum balances and other financial requirements to hold a bank account so that you can plan to meet them once you’re settled.

Once you open your account, make a money transfer (after comparing services here) from your home bank account to your new one and you’ll be ready to start making purchases.

Which bank is best for my needs?

A good start is calling large bank branches in the US that may have a standard procedure for recent arrivals to the US. Ask about the requirements necessary for a new arrival to open a bank account, including any deposits you may be required to make in order to open the account.

TD Bank

One of the 10 largest banks in America, TD Bank was founded more than 150 years ago. It is known for its hassle-free banking experience at than 1,300 locations throughout the country.

TD Bank requires a valid US passport or visa along with another form of valid ID:

  • Employment ID with photo and signature.
  • State-issued ID or driver’s license with signature.
  • Foreign driver’s license with photo.
  • US Employment Authorization Document with photo, signature and expiration date.
  • College ID with photo.
  • Permanent resident card with photo.


HSBC is one of the world’s largest banks, serving more 37 million people in 70 countries worldwide.

To open a bank account, you must provide either a noncitizen ID number and expiration date or complete a W-8 or W-9 (if needed). You must also meet the standard requirements for all applicants, providing your:

  • Social Security number.
  • Driver’s license or state ID.
  • Date of birth.
  • Current address.
  • Employment information.
  • Information about any loans or mortgages to confirm ID.

Capital One

Capital One is also among the top 10 largest banks in the country based on deposits.

Requirements for nonresidents to open a bank account include:

  • Driver’s license or state ID.
  • Proof of address, such as a utility bill.
  • Social Security number.

I’m a student — can I open a bank account?

Depending on the bank, international students should be able to open a bank account with the following documentation:

  • Your full name, home address, local address and phone number.
  • A secondary form of ID, such as your student ID, birth certificate, driver’s license or letter from your university’s international students and scholars office.
  • School enrollment verification.
  • A government-issued passport.
  • Your Form I-94.
  • Form I-20, Form DS-2019 or I-797 approval notice.

Bottom line

If you are relocating to the US to work or study, it is possible for you to open a US bank account. You will need to confirm the requirements for the bank you’re interested in as well as gather the documentation necessary. Also ask about maintenance fees so that you can plan ahead.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AnthonyMarch 29, 2018

    Pls can I create a USA account without been a citzen,and not haviing permanent. Visa in passport

    • Staff
      nikkiangcoMarch 29, 2018Staff

      Hi there Anthony!

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs.

      Yes, you may open a US bank account.

      All you need to do is visit the bank of your choice and ask of the requirements to open a bank account for non US residents.
      The list of banks is above. You may review them and take note of what they need from you so you’re ready to open an account when you plan to visit them.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks & Best Regards,


  2. Default Gravatar
    DavidNovember 5, 2017

    can i make bank account in bank in US, with permanent visa in passport (waiting for green card) and social security number that i recived?

    • Staff
      DanielleNovember 5, 2017Staff

      Hi David,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      Yes it is possible for you to open a US bank account. You will need to confirm the requirements for the bank you’re interested in as well as gather the documentation necessary. You may choose a bank from the list above and review each to see if you will be able to provide the requirements listed and then go from there.

      I hope this helps.


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