Opening a U.S. Bank Account as a Non-Citizen

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by Team
Last updated: June 10th, 2024

Opening a business account at a U.S. bank may intuitively seem like the simplest part of the LLC setup process. However, it can present some issues for non-U.S. residents. Nevertheless, having a bank account is essential for running your business efficiently. The information below will help you meet the eligibility requirements and complete the process of opening a bank account in the U.S. from abroad.

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You are not legally required to have a bank account in the United States in order to start an LLC, but it is advisable to maintain an account in the country for deposits of revenues and processing payments. This especially applies to very busy business owners who make a lot of ATM transactions and/or write a lot of checks.

It is also strongly advised that you do not use a single foreign or domestic personal bank account to manage both personal and business funds in the same account. Keeping business and personal funds in the same account can raise serious concerns about the potential commingling of funds, which can be a violation of civil and even criminal law in the United States. 

That kind of arrangement can expose you to the risk of losing your limited liability status and put your personal assets in jeopardy if a civil case arises against your business.  

Benefits of having a U.S. bank account for your LLC

Maintaining a business checking account with a U.S. bank offers several advantages:

  • Convenient financial management: Access banking services via a mobile app, ATMs, and other modern conveniences.
  • Depository for customer payments: Receive customer payments directly into your business account and automatically log income through your digital bank records.
  • Organized bank ledgers: Get chronological reports of all transactions, including sales revenues, other revenues, refunds, expenses, and tax payments.
  • Automated accounting: Route bank ledgers directly to your accounting service in the U.S., and set up business income tax handling with your local tax agency.
  • Asset protection: Maintain limited personal liability and protect your assets with clear documentation of financial activities.
  • FDIC insurance: Enjoy free insurance on account funds up to $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
  • SMART rewards: Earn monetary or cash credits for maintaining account thresholds and other activities. Utilize a U.S. bank mobile app to access additional rewards and incentives.
  • Mobile banking app: Use the app to check balances, deposit checks, open accounts, make transactions, and use bill pay options.
  • Account alerts: Receive timely alerts for unusual activity, such as overdrafts, electronic debits, or checks that do not match your usual activity.

Note that you are not legally required to have your business bank account in the same state where your LLC is registered.

Some banks in the United States still require individuals to visit their physical locations to open a checking or standard savings account. Fortunately, many banks have modernized their systems and now allow new account setups online. You can even use mobile banking options to open accounts with some banks. Check out Found, Relay, Mercury, Wise, and Revolut. These platforms that might be helpful in setting up business accounts for LLC owners living outside the United States.

How to open a U.S. bank account from another country

Before you approach a bank in the U.S. to open an account for your LLC, you should prepare by completing the following steps.

Proof of ID

The person opening the account in person or online should have a current U.S. state or federal photo ID. A driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate is usually acceptable.

Obtain proof of address

Obtain two forms of proof of a physical address in the United States.

  • Personal proof of address: Most U.S. banks prefer foreign bank statements or utility bills.
  • Physical U.S. address: A majority of banks require this. However, the ITA states that banks may accept: (1) The address of your registered agent in the U.S., (2) A virtual mailbox service address
  • Using a virtual address: A virtual business address is a physical street address and can be used to open a bank account. To use a virtual address, file Form 1583 with the U.S. Postal Service. This allows the virtual address provider to receive mail for your company. Provide two forms of ID with your postal service request.
  • Update your LLC documents: Ensure your LLC documents with the Secretary of State reflect your virtual address as your business’s physical address in the U.S.Costs of Opening a Bank Account in the United States

Obtain an EIN

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and include your IRS document assigning that number to you with your documents for opening a U.S. bank account. Note that you might need an ITIN.

Gather LLC state registration documents

Gather your state LLC registration documents and have them ready in case you’re asked to provide those. These include Certified Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Formation, or other state LLC certificate.

Opening deposit

Have your minimum opening deposit ready. This amount varies between financial institutions in America, typically ranging from $0 to $500 (often around $50).

Documents needed for opening a U.S. bank account

  • A valid passport or other acceptable photo identification
  • Proof of a physical address.
  • Documentation of your federal Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Certified Articles of Incorporation, Certificate of Formation, or other state LLC certificate
  • Your LLC’s internal Operating Agreement
  • Banking resolution document

What if I don’t open a business bank account?

Using a personal account for business funds can raise concerns with banks and government agencies. It’s considered poor practice and can lead to inefficient accounting. This approach may be perceived as suspicious, potentially triggering investigations. Additionally, you may lose the legal protections provided by forming an LLC. Commingling funds can also be a serious offense, which might result in legal consequences such as fines or imprisonment.

On the other hand, having a separate business account offers several benefits. It ensures clearer accounting, reduces the risk of commingling funds, and provides protection from severe legal consequences. Therefore, it’s wise to keep business and personal finances separate to avoid complications and safeguard yourself legally.


Am I required to have a bank account in the U.S. to operate a business in the country?

Having your business bank account separate from your personal account helps you remain in full compliance with the law and avoid any risk of the appearance of inappropriate handling of your LLC’s finances.

Do I have to travel to the U.S. just to open a checking account?

There are various online banking institutions that can help foreign citizens open bank accounts in America. See the above list of banking operations and call for help to enroll in online banking.

How long does it take to open a U.S. bank account from a foreign country?

After you gather all the documents you need to open a business account, you can typically open an account the same day you request it or within a day or two depending on the bank’s workload and any unforeseen issues with protocols for document validations.

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