There can be many obstacles to setting up a US bank account for non-residents. Both non-citizens and individuals who are not legal residents may have significant trouble attempting to open American bank accounts unless they are aware of the restrictions affecting this process and they consider embracing potential workaround solutions.
Customer Identification Program Rules
One of the most significant obstacles that foreign nationals encounter when attempting to open bank accounts is the Customer Identification Program [CIP] as outlined in the United States of America Patriot Act. The CIP mandates that when financial institutions open new accounts that they employ specific identity verification procedures during that process. Any formal arrangement that initiates ongoing financial services is considered an account under the act. This means that savings accounts, lines of credit including loans, deposit certificates and checking accounts are all affected by CIP mandates. The CIP applies to both individuals and business entities in different ways.
Individuals who wish to open an account and are not doing so on behalf of a business must provide specific information to the financial institution at which the account is to be opened. This information must also be provided by any signatories who are either associated with the account when it is initially opened or who are added later once an account is established. This information includes a legal name, birthdate and birthplace, residential address and a Social Security Number. Non-citizens must provide approved alternatives to an SSN, like a U.S. taxpayer ID number, alien ID card number and passport number, etc. the specifics of what you will need in order to open a bank account as an individual may be discussed with your attorney. This kind of consultation will allow you to understand what combinations of documentation you may have available will enable you to open an account as an individual. Please keep in mind that some banks may require more information and documentation than is minimally required under the law.
Opening a Business Bank Accounts for Non-Residents
While CIP mandates apply to businesses as well as individuals, the kinds of information required for a business owner to open a bank account are generally different than those required in order to open an account as an individual. As a result, opening a business bank account for non-residents can be beneficial. One may generally open a corporate bank account as soon as a business has been formally registered.
In order to open a corporate bank account, a financial institution will generally request the business’s articles of incorporation, tax ID issued by the Internal Revenue Service, operating agreement and proof of business address. In addition, each account signatory must generally provide a form of picture identification like a driver’s license and a second form of ID like a passport. Again, the specifics of what information you may need in order to open an account at a specific institution may be discussed with your attorney ahead of time. This kind of consultation will help you better prepare for the process so that there are no unpleasant surprises or predictable delays associated with opening an account.
Help Is Available
If you are interested in opening a bank account as either an individual or a business, please consider speaking with the team at LawTrades. Our experienced approach is affordable, efficient, and effective. We would be more than happy to help you navigate your legal needs, whether they be personal or business-related in nature.