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Old Jan 25th 2010, 8:32 pm   #1
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Default Opening a bank account without an SSN

Some good news to report! Thanks to some more great advice on my recent posts I have had a telephone conversation with Wells Fargo in London who say they can open a bank account for my wife and I despite lack of SSN. I have made an appointment for next Tuesday, 2nd, ok 2hrs on the train but a small price to pay and I will report how I get on. They need some usual forms of id, passports, driving licenses, some bank account history statements and so on but all sounds straightforward. Reminder to new readers - we are due to relocate to Florida on an L1 visa in June / July and we are attempting to get financial life underway but have had a few bumps on the way! Thanks for all the great help so far. Wells Fargo are not big players in Florida but Wachovia are and they are owned by WF.
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Old Jan 25th 2010, 9:02 pm   #2
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Default Re: Opening a bank account without an SSN

Do Wells Fargo require an ITIN (An IRS individual taxpayer identification number) instead of the SSN?
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Old Jan 26th 2010, 2:16 am   #3
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Default Re: Opening a bank account without an SSN

i opened bank accounts on arrival as an L2 - with no ssn (at that point). I just got my realtor to take us to his branch and do an intorduction and they were fine waiting for the ssn number.
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Old Jan 26th 2010, 3:29 am   #4
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Default Re: Opening a bank account without an SSN

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zonie View Post
Do Wells Fargo require an ITIN (An IRS individual taxpayer identification number) instead of the SSN?
If it isn't an interest bearing account they don't need an ITIN.

(which, of course, doesn't mean that they won't ask for it)
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Old Jan 26th 2010, 5:06 pm   #5
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Default Re: Opening a bank account without an SSN

It's not a legal requirement for a bank to see your SSN to open an account, they just have to be able to identify you absolutely, via a government-issued ID (like a UK passport).

However, some US banks do have a policy that they want your SSN.

WF and Wachovia will both open US-based accounts for you if you go in person with the right ID to their London branches.
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Old Jan 26th 2010, 6:54 pm   #6
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Default Re: Opening a bank account without an SSN

I was able to open a US account at Citibank when I first got to the US, as I had an existing Citibank account in the UK. They were able to ID me from that.

Maybe banks like HSBC can do the same...
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Old Jan 26th 2010, 7:53 pm   #7
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Default Re: Opening a bank account without an SSN

Before I got my SSN, I opened a Wachovia account while on an M-1 visa, and a Bank of America account on a J-1 visa. I also helped a friend with a B-2 visa open a Wachovia account. A passport was sufficient each time, no SSN or ITIN. All these were in person at a US branch. I haven't tried it while on the VWP.
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Old Jan 26th 2010, 9:41 pm   #8
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Default Re: Opening a bank account without an SSN

I opened bank accounts at Bank of America without an SSN, though my wife already had accounts with them so that made things easier. They gave me a temporary debit card which I could use immediately.

Things I couldn't do until I got my SSN: Apply for a job, and take a driving test.
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Old Feb 4th 2010, 5:28 pm   #9
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Default Re: Opening a bank account without an SSN - update

Had the meeting in London, all sounds positive, application made and waiting for the account to be opened as soon as next week. Hooray! they actually understood someone in my position (relocating L1 with no SSN).

https://www.wellsfargo.com/inatl/con...rsonal_banking

Needed usual ID - passports, driving license, current UK bank statements, but nothing too onerous.

so i could be underway in USD soon, with debit cards, online banking sounds simple but after a couple of false starts quite exciting!

Great, a start! Little things but hopefully one step forward.

will let you know if all this is successful.
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Old Feb 6th 2010, 5:23 am   #10
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Default Re: Opening a bank account without an SSN

Good news! Delighted to report after a brief application process and form filling at Wells Fargo in London on Tues - usual passport / driving license / bank statement supporting docs, I have been able to open a $ bank account. Yesterday they called me to give my account number and to inform that debit cards and pins on their way! This feels like progress at last. On relocation to the US they will simply flip our account stateside. We will be able to do all the usual banking processes including online banking and wire transfers etc. WF were delighted that I found them via this site and are considering advertising on here, they tell me they are in touch already! The service I got from WF I would highly recommend. Wells Fargo London IPB (international personal banking). Terry Bacchus is the man at WF.
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