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US bank account

US bank account

Old Feb 21st 2011, 10:31 am
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Default US bank account

Hi,
I move on Thursday all visa and accommodation sorted
So just as some last minute bits and bobs, Ive looked into opening a US account before. I will likely be opening with BoA

What sort of documentation/questions should I expect?
I wont have an SS number, but know that's not essential
How long until I get the account details? I know the card will obviously take a few days but I should get the account numbers and such set up straight away right? so I can go get a phone and stuff before start work on Monday.

Do i need proof of address? Will a copy of my lease be enough?
I obv have my UK passport with visa as well as UK driving license

THANKS ALL
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 10:46 am
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Default Re: US bank account

Originally Posted by apj101 View Post
Hi,
I move on Thursday all visa and accommodation sorted
So just as some last minute bits and bobs, Ive looked into opening a US account before. I will likely be opening with BoA

What sort of documentation/questions should I expect?
I wont have an SS number, but know that's not essential
How long until I get the account details? I know the card will obviously take a few days but I should get the account numbers and such set up straight away right? so I can go get a phone and stuff before start work on Monday.

Do i need proof of address? Will a copy of my lease be enough?
I obv have my UK passport with visa as well as UK driving license

THANKS ALL
I know this area has been covered on BE quite a lot before, but given that your questions are very specific, and you have a timeline that you want to achieve, and that you've picked a bank - my advice would be to actually give them a call to find out what they do need from you, rather than have people here say what they think they might need. That way you'll have time for a re-think if you need to, and you also get the chance to try to hold them to what they tell you on the phone in case their story changes when you get into the branch (individual staff members may not all be experienced in opening accounts for foreigners).

Might be handy if you come on here and report back what they say, though.
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 5:30 pm
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Default Re: US bank account

Yeah, ask the bank...there's nothing specific, just proof of who you are, often proof of residence such as a lease.

How long you get account details, depends if they do it on site there and then, or if it gets processed off site, so you might get details straight away, or you might have to wait a couple business days. Some banks can also print out debit cards in the branch, whilst others can't, no idea about BoA.

Getting a phone, who knows...you'll probably have to put down a deposit anyway as you won't have any US credit history.
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 6:15 pm
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Default Re: US bank account

BoA do give termporary debit cards immediately upon opening checking accounts.
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 9:21 pm
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Default Re: US bank account

Yes - BofA definitely can do everything, including giving you some temporary checks, as soon as you open the account.

The tricky thing will be finding a branch who has someone who understands how to navigate their way through the "non US citizen" parts of their "opening a new account" application.

I watched them do this a couple of years ago when a friend of mine on an F-1 visa opened an account - the problem was that there appeared to be no way of getting past the first screen without pretending that the applicant was a US citizen - only once that had been done was it possible to access the screen that let you say that they were actually not a US citizen and select the type of visa that they had ...
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 10:16 pm
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Default Re: US bank account

The sooner BoA can get you a debit card, the sooner they can start assessing you fee's.
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 10:47 pm
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Default Re: US bank account

When I opened my BOA account on an F1 visa they were very swift ad lovely.

Sat down with a lady who had done 'loads of international students' so it was very easy.

I took in a copy of hubby's lease (they wouldn't let me put my name on the lease, but as long as i had proof of where i was living it was ok), a copy of my F1 visa form thingy, my passport and a bank statement from UK (not needed, but i wasnt sure).

This was all fine. she asked if i needed cheques, told her no, and voila account opened. Didnt get a temporary card, but did get my account details, and instructions on how to log in and use online banking. card arrived in about 3 days.
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Old Feb 21st 2011, 10:50 pm
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Default Re: US bank account

Originally Posted by Manc View Post
The sooner BoA can get you a debit card, the sooner they can start assessing you fee's.
They're all crap.

http://consumerist.com/2011/02/man-u...f-america.html

I'm currently locking horns with ShitiBank, who are being about as Shiti as it's possible for a bank to be. If I wasn't raping them for AA miles then I'd seriously give up.
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Old Feb 22nd 2011, 1:48 am
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Default Re: US bank account

I opened a bank account last week (I'm on a J-1 visa) and it was very easy. I just had to show them my passport, visa and fill in a couple of forms. This was with UMB though, who I think are specific for the Missouri area. I was given my account details straight away and was told that I'd receive my debit card within a week.

As far as a phone goes, I tried to get one with Sprint and was told that I'd need my SSN before they'd give me a contract. I know some other J-1s who managed to get a phone before they received their SSNs though, so it must be possible.
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Old Feb 22nd 2011, 2:08 am
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Default Re: US bank account

Originally Posted by Owl_79 View Post
As far as a phone goes, I tried to get one with Sprint and was told that I'd need my SSN before they'd give me a contract. I know some other J-1s who managed to get a phone before they received their SSNs though, so it must be possible.
What they really meant was that they needed to run a credit check on you and they couldn't do that without a SSN.

The "no credit" problem can usually be solved by providing a deposit of a few hundred dollars.
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Old Feb 22nd 2011, 2:14 am
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Default Re: US bank account

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
The tricky thing will be finding a branch who has someone who understands how to navigate their way through the "non US citizen" parts of their "opening a new account" application.
This is so important. You have to understand that in many parts of the country their are people at banks who do not deal with foreigners that often. Simply because the branch in New York next to the UN set up a policy and they know how to do it doesn't mean that the local branch in some strip mall is going to be fully versed on the procedures. Also some good advice to find someone at a college branch who deals with international students.

You might try for a branch that is close to say a larger immigrant community or one in a city center where they might deal with some international business, or ask some locals when you arrive (local expats) where they do their banking.

Nearly all the banks have a procedure for non-USCitizens, but it can be hit or miss when it trickles down to your individual bank tellers.
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Old Feb 22nd 2011, 2:29 am
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Default Re: US bank account

Originally Posted by md95065 View Post
What they really meant was that they needed to run a credit check on you and they couldn't do that without a SSN.

The "no credit" problem can usually be solved by providing a deposit of a few hundred dollars.
Ah, ok. They didn't offer me that option. I guess it will be the same with most utility and cable companies until I can build up some credit history.
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Old Feb 22nd 2011, 2:47 am
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Default Re: US bank account

You can also get pay as you go phones with some carriers and not need any sort of credit at all. I got a $60 handset and $100 one-year, 1,000 minute plan with T-mobile that suits me very well. Unused minutes roll over if you top up any amount the following year.
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Old Feb 22nd 2011, 10:22 am
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Default Re: US bank account

I went into my fiancee's branch of Wells Fargo when I visited her in June, and opened a checking and savings account.

No visa, no SSN/ITIN, no proof of address - just my passport. Got a book of initial checks there and then, the box of checks and checking card (debit card) arrived the day after I left to come back to the UK after the holiday, so Gin sent the card on (kept the checks until I went over in December).

I had to complete a form later for the IRS stating that I was non-resident, which WF had sent to the address on record (Gin's home). No hassles, and been transferring funds into it once a month, and using the debit card on vacations and online

The only minor issue was that WF had no way of loading a non-US address onto their system on account opening, although presumably they can do this after for US ex-pats.

When I move over after getting my visa, I'll just add the SSN to the account once I have it, and change the residency information.
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