Creating U.S. Banking Account

Goals

To provide a guide on how to remotely open a U.S. banking account for non-residents and non-citizens with permanent residency permits.

Early Findings

Data Availability

There appears to be limited information regarding the ways by which a non-resident can create a banking account in the United States.

  • The USA Patriot Act of 2001 created a hassle for non-citizens and non-residents of the country to open a banking account in the United States. The law requires banks in the U.S. to follow stricter guidelines when verifying the identity of an account applicant who is non-American. Due to this reason, most U.S. banks require that account applicants apply in person to be on the safe side.

  • The regulations guiding the process of account opening for non-residents is complex and varied. Nomad Gate, a reputable online resource for ex-pats, travelers, and remote workers, recommends that non-residents with social security numbers (SSN) try opening personal banking accounts in large U.S. banks, such as Charles Schwab and JP Morgan Chase. The size and reach of the two banks make the process somewhat easier for non-residents. Both banks have branches in Los Angeles.

  • Online banking services, such as Chime and Ally, are also notable alternatives, as all account opening processes can be completed via the internet without the need for a physical visit to a bank branch. Both online banking service accepts individuals with permanent residency permits. However, their apps restrict their usage anywhere outside the United States, although it is possible to operate the banking apps via VPN.

Summary

In the initial hour of the research team, the research was able to gather some useful information on the current banking landscape for non-residents in the United States. First, creating a U.S. banking account while outside the country is a very difficult process due to the increased regulations around identity verification. Second, we were unable to identify any bank that directly markets a bank account service for non-residents. However, we were able to identify two U.S. banks that have been recommended by experts that somewhat make the process easier for non-residents and also have branches in Los Angeles.

Research proposal:

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