Can I open a bank account as an undocumented immigrant or without having a permanent immigration status?
Yes! Despite not having citizenship, a green card, or a social security number, you can open a bank account in the United States.
Why should I open a bank account as an immigrant?
By opening a bank account, an immigrant can obtain better preparation for their immigration matter, it allows financial participation in our system, and provides you with financial stability.
- Many people in the migrant community only use cash, which is not the safest way to hold your savings due to the chances of your money being lost or stolen.
- You will also be able to access your account and deposit money at ATMs, and to transfer cash and make payments.
- Opening an account will also provide a record of your time in the United States and paying taxes. Once you open an account, you can register a business, apply for a credit card, and start building up your credit score.
What will I need to open a bank account?
In order to open a bank account, you will need to provide:
- Name and Date of Birth:
- You will need to provide a valid government identification card such as a birth certificate, a valid passport, residence permit, consular ID, or a government issued driver’s license. You will need to present two proofs of these identifications.
- A social security number is typically requested, but the requirements can be met with other documents such as: foreigner identification card, a document that proves your nationality (such as a passport or a foreign driver’s license), or a taxpayer’s personal identification number (ITIN)
- Proof of your current residential address in the United States can be shown through documents such as a water, telephone, or electricity bills that are in your name, or a lease contract.
What is a Taxpayer’s Personal Identification Number (ITIN)?
An ITIN number is used to process taxes and is available to those working in the United States that are not eligible for a social security number or do not have an immigration status. It is used as an identification number, just as social security numbers are used.
How do I apply for an ITIN number?
You can receive this 9-digit tax processing number by completing a designated IRS form, submit required documents to verify your identity, and submit your application. If you have a tax return, you can submit it while you submit your application. If you are approved, you will receive your ITIN number in about 6 weeks.
What is the difference between Social Security Numbers and ITINs?
Social Security Number and ITIN holders are generally subject to the exact same rules, credits, and deductions.
- When it comes to allegations of fraud, IRS has a separate ITIN division
- There are stricter requirements for obtaining an ITIN
- ITINs cannot be used after obtaining a SSN
- ITINs does not confer immigraiton status or work authorization
What banks allow me to open a bank account without a social security number?
All US banks accept the ITIN in place of the SSN.
- Citibank: You will need a passport or another identification method, a minimum of $100 to open an account, and proof of a residential address.
- Amalgamated Bank: Branches in New York and Washington DC, you will have to present a municipal identification card such as qualifying IDs like IDNYC and ITIN. You will also need to provide a photograph and a residential address.
- Wells Fargo: You will need a minimum of $25 to open an account, a passport, a residential address in your country of origin or in the United States, a credit card, and a debit or license from your country of origin.
- Chase Bank: You will need an ITIN number, proof of residency, and a photo ID
- PNC Bank: You must have an ITIN number to open an account, but you can open a savings account with an initial deposit of $25.
- US Alliance Financial: You must have an ITIN number, municipal ID, or a visa or valid passport with a photograph. You will also need bills in your name to prove residency.
- Capital One: You will need an ITIN number, proof of residency, and a valid passport. There is no minimum to open an account.
- TD Bank: You will need a proof of residency, a passport, and a minimum of $100 to open an account
- Bank of America: You will need a valid passport,and a postal address. It is not mandatory but you may open an account with an ITIN number
What steps are involved in opening my bank account?
- Visit the bank or credit union of your choice (or go to the online bank’s website)
- Pick the product you want (checking account, savings account, Certificate of Deposit, etc.)
- Provide your information (name, birthday, valid ID, and, in most cases, SSN)
- Agree to terms
- Sign and receive account terms
- Fund your account with the required minimum deposit (if any)
- Start using your account (make deposits, make payments with your debit card, or withdraw cash)
Different types of US bank accounts
Three main types of personal bank account are available in the US:
- Checking Account
- The most common type of bank account. Get money directly deposited into it, pay bills and make transfers. Receive a debit card for everyday purchases and ATM withdrawals, and access online banking services.
- Savings Account
- Securely store money and accrue interest on it.
- Certificate of Deposit (CD) Account
- Put away a large amount of money for a set period and accrue interest on it.