Let's see. You plan to go to the U.S. for your higher education or first job. So naturally, this has got you thinking about your finances. It is natural for anyone new to feel overwhelmed. Opening a bank account offers security for your funds and it is the first step to create a financial footprint in the country. Understandably, it might look like a daunting task, but we are here to guide you through it. Our blog will provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions like, 'can a non-resident open a bank account in the U.S.?', 'What is the quickest way to open a bank account for a non-resident in the U.S., 'How long does it take to get a functional bank account in the U.S. for a non-resident?", so on and so forth. This blog will also provide you with information regarding selecting a suitable bank account, applying for one, and getting benefits from a bank account in the United States.
While a non-resident is permitted to open a bank account in the United States, the rules vary quite a bit. The 1964 Civil Rights Act explicitly gave private businesses in the U.S. the right to contract with foreign individuals or groups, making it easier for new residents of the U.S. to bank there.
Under the act, banks and credit unions have to follow a strict set of guidelines while verifying any application from someone who is non-American. However, the act was passed before 9/11 happened. Since then, it has become more difficult for foreigners to open accounts, engage in monetary transactions, or even conduct businesses with American financial institutions abroad.
Requirements for opening a bank account
The bank you are applying to may want you to have-
- Contact information like name, address, and phone number
- Government-issued IDs such as a passport and a valid driver's license
- Utility bills with current address
- Postal address in the U.S. for delivering the credit card. If you are a student, provide your hostel address
- Permanent address as per your passport
- Copy of your passport
- Form I-20 or form I-797
- Alternate ID proof like college ID or your birth certificate
You have to be 18 or older to set up a checking and savings account. But these requirements vary depending on the state or financial institution. Therefore, it's best to open a U.S. bank account as soon as possible. The ideal scenario is to open an account and get the U.S. Credit Card from India before you travel.
Opening an account from India
Opening a bank account in the U.S. as a non-resident was impossible, even a few years ago. But, due to the joint efforts from private companies and the collaboration between the Indian and the U.S. government, people migrating to the U.S. for the education of work purposes can now open an account without too much hassle.
Importance of SSN
If you are a citizen of the United States of America, the government issues its people with a nine-digit number known as the Social Security Number (SSN). In the case of a permanent citizen or an immigrant, you can apply for an SSN. If you plan on working in the United States, you need a social security number. If you have already applied for it before reaching the U.S., expect to receive your SSN within three weeks of arriving. Additionally, SSN helps getting a bank account in the U.S. more efficiently, and you can get a driver's license without too much hassle.
Why is the U.S. credit card so valuable?
Since the U.S. is a highly credit-driven country, having a credit card in the U.S. can be greatly helpful. Additionally, having a credit card enables you to have instant purchasing power in the country. Credit cards also offer attractive rewards after a specific usage. Building your credit history is essential getting yourself acquainted with the American economy. Your credit score determines a consumer's credit risk and decides if an individual is eligible for a credit card in the U.S. Exercises like paying your bills on time, using 30% of your credit limit, and having mixed credit cards will help you build a decent credit history.
Features to keep in mind while applying for a U.S. credit card
- Your card should be ensured by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
- It is advisable to spend only 30% of your credit card limit to build a decent credit history
- Annual charges levied on the card