How can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in the U.S.?
This post answers a question I have heard many times: How can a foreigner open a bank account in the U.S.?
Foreign entrepreneurs often ask this question. Because of the large market here, they want to start a business in the U.S. And because they want to do so effectively, they usually need a U.S. bank account.
Easiest: Home-country Bank with International Presence
The easiest approach is to find a home-country bank with an international (including U.S.) presence.
For example, I have quite a few Dutch clients. Fortunately, one of the prominent Dutch banks, Rabobank, has a U.S. presence. As a result, Dutch clients with Rabobank accounts find it straightforward to open accounts for their U.S. entities.
Similarly, ICICI Bank, headquartered in India, can help businesses in that country open an account in the U.S. via its branch in New York.
Unfortunately, from what I have seen, this approach is not available in most countries.
Friends and Family
Another approach that some of my clients have used is to utilize the services of friends and family.
U.S. banks typically want accounts to be opened by people living in the U.S. In many cases, banks require that the individual opening the account live near the branch where the account will be opened.
So friends and family – actually, anyone whom an entrepreneur trusts – can be made an officer of the legal entity. Then that entity can authorize the officer to open a bank account.
Travel to the U.S. and Take a Chance
Finally, I will tell you what one of my clients from India did.
I had formed a corporation for him. He was planning to come to the U.S., anyway. The morning after he arrived, his first order of business was to open a bank account for that corporation.
The first bank he approached turned him down because he did not live here. But the second bank let him open an account for the corporation! You never know….
The Bottom Line
In summary, if you are a foreigner and you want to open a bank account in the U.S., there may be ways to accomplish that objective. But you likely will need the right combination of circumstances to succeed.
Check out all posts about bank accounts.
Photo credit: Jess Lis via freeimages
Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law +1 510-547-0545 dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.
Business Entities, Entrepreneurship, International
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