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Opening a US bank account

Opening a US bank account

Old Dec 28th 2015, 4:42 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

In our case, it wasn't a straightforward thing. Initially, we used AIG Travel guard who connected us to HSBC (prior to moving to the US). Eventually, we decided not to go with HSBC and go with another bank, First Republic.

Husband immediately applied for SSN the day after we arrived but the card didn't arrive after 7 days. The bank required our SSN and our US permanent address. As we were still waiting for our lease to get finalised, we couldn't provide both. Finally, after 3 weeks, husband has his SSN and lease got finalised, we were able to open his bank account.

In my case, as I'm still waiting for my EAD to get processed (I'm an E3 D visa holder), the bank representative was hemming and hawing about including me as a joint account holder. They were asking for payslip, name of company, etc which I couldn't provide because I didn't have the authority to work. I, also, cannot open my bank accounts in my own name, again, until I could provide my SSN.

On the other hand, a couple we recently met who are both H1B visa holders said they didn't have any issues applying for a bank account or even credit cards with Bank of America immediately upon arriving. So, I'm not sure whether it's a bank policy.
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Old Dec 28th 2015, 5:19 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by orchid_in_bloom View Post
In our case, it wasn't a straightforward thing. Initially, we used AIG Travel guard who connected us to HSBC (prior to moving to the US). Eventually, we decided not to go with HSBC and go with another bank, First Republic.

Husband immediately applied for SSN the day after we arrived but the card didn't arrive after 7 days. The bank required our SSN and our US permanent address. As we were still waiting for our lease to get finalised, we couldn't provide both. Finally, after 3 weeks, husband has his SSN and lease got finalised, we were able to open his bank account.

In my case, as I'm still waiting for my EAD to get processed (I'm an E3 D visa holder), the bank representative was hemming and hawing about including me as a joint account holder. They were asking for payslip, name of company, etc which I couldn't provide because I didn't have the authority to work. I, also, cannot open my bank accounts in my own name, again, until I could provide my SSN.

On the other hand, a couple we recently met who are both H1B visa holders said they didn't have any issues applying for a bank account or even credit cards with Bank of America immediately upon arriving. So, I'm not sure whether it's a bank policy.
It might be bank policy, it is more likely to be ignorance or poor training on the part of the teller/bank employee. Asking to speak to a supervisor is often effective but if that doesn't work I would recommend going to a different bank because they are making life unnecessarily difficult for you at a time when you already have lots of other personal admin and bureaucracy to deal with without having awkward banks and bank staff to deal with.
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Old Dec 28th 2015, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
It might be bank policy, it is more likely to be ignorance or poor training on the part of the teller/bank employee. Asking to speak to a supervisor is often effective but if that doesn't work I would recommend going to a different bank because they are making life unnecessarily difficult for you at a time when you already have lots of other personal admin and bureaucracy to deal with without having awkward banks and bank staff to deal with.
Hi Pulaski,

It has been frustrating but aside from this, the bank has been very helpful and have gone the distance for my husband on a number of occasions. I have been very impressed with their level of customer service.

At this point, I'm practicing patience as I believe the wait will be worth it. It helps that I have access to my Oz bank accounts, although I'm waiting for my card replacements due to a hacking incident (which is another story altogether), so now I'm using a prepaid credit card and cash to get by.
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Old Dec 28th 2015, 11:19 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Hi guys i arrived in the US on a spouse visa on the 23rd of December i went down to first bank today and opened an account with just my passport hassle free and had the online banking setup an hour later.
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Old Dec 29th 2015, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Chase is easy, however if you are thinking about getting a car, the AIG scheme that came with International AutoSource getting me a car gets you a Bank Account with a credit union who will help you build your credit as they are happy and used to dealing with ex-pats.

They might take you outside this scheme if you want to ping them. They are called Advancial. I've been impressed with what is basically a small bank having all the bells and whistles of bigger ones.

I did NOT need an SSN to open the account and was operating it before I hit the US.
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Old Dec 29th 2015, 7:05 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

It may have been more of a problem not having a permanent address. I think most banks will require that. I would just try another bank/credit union, there are plenty around. If there are causing problems now, they may not be the best bank to be with. i had my credit union setup within days of arriving in the US.

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Old Dec 29th 2015, 7:10 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

My guy at Wells Fargo told me that they will accept a foreign address provided you have proof that it is your address (utility/tax/bank statements) when you initially set up the account. You can't give them a temporary address (PO Box, Company address or hotel) to set up the account. Once the formalities are done and the account has been approved you can change it to wherever you want.
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Old Dec 30th 2015, 3:27 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by mrken30 View Post
It may have been more of a problem not having a permanent address. I think most banks will require that. I would just try another bank/credit union, there are plenty around. If there are causing problems now, they may not be the best bank to be with. i had my credit union setup within days of arriving in the US.
Advancial accepted my work address.
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 7:50 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Update: Finally have my bank accounts. I now have a joint account with my husband and my own bank account as well. I had to sign an IRS form (W8BEN), then had their two compliance teams vet me. Took almost a month but now it's done.

Considering how many of you had an easy time opening your bank accounts on a dependent visa, I guess we just chose a very strict bank.
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 7:52 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by orchid_in_bloom View Post
Update: Finally have my bank accounts. I now have a joint account with my husband and my own bank account as well. I had to sign an IRS form (W8BEN), then had their two compliance teams vet me. Took almost a month but now it's done.

Considering how many of you had an easy time opening your bank accounts on a dependent visa, I guess we just chose a very strict bank.
The W8-BEN is for US non-residents (for tax purposes). I don't know your status, but it sounds like you are tax resident, so you will likely need to supply them with a W9 instead as soon as you have your social security number.
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 8:21 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by Owen778 View Post
The W8-BEN is for US non-residents (for tax purposes). I don't know your status, but it sounds like you are tax resident, so you will likely need to supply them with a W9 instead as soon as you have your social security number.
I'm on a E-3D visa, since we just arrived last Nov and I still don't have an SSN, I suppose that was the reason why they asked me to fill out the W8.

Thanks, will follow that up as soon as I get my SSN.
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 8:28 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by orchid_in_bloom View Post
I'm on a E-3D visa, since we just arrived last Nov and I still don't have an SSN, I suppose that was the reason why they asked me to fill out the W8. ....
They asked you to fill out a W8 because they don't know what the 4ëll they are doing. .... If you're resident in the US a W8 is not the right form.
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 8:31 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by orchid_in_bloom View Post
I'm on a E-3D visa, since we just arrived last Nov and I still don't have an SSN, I suppose that was the reason why they asked me to fill out the W8.

Thanks, will follow that up as soon as I get my SSN.
Not sure if this aplies to you, but if you're not allowed an SSN, then you can apply for an ITIN instead on form W7.
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 8:42 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by Owen778 View Post
Not sure if this aplies to you, but if you're not allowed an SSN, then you can apply for an ITIN instead on form W7.
Oh, I am allowed an SSN. The thing is I'm still waiting for my EAD, which I've filed last Nov, before I can apply for an SSN.

Sometimes, I wonder if government agencies here just love their letters and numbers so much, which would explain the proliferation of letter-numbers in visas and forms.
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Old Jan 7th 2016, 8:43 pm
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Default Re: Opening a US bank account

Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
They asked you to fill out a W8 because they don't know what the 4ëll they are doing. .... If you're resident in the US a W8 is not the right form.
Sigh. Too many forms.
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