andrew henderson menu

Andrew Henderson

Founder of Nomad Capitalist and the world’s most sought-after expert on global citizenship.


What we’re all about


Meet our 80+ global team


We’re here to serve you


Your questions answered


Read our testimonials


Get free email updates



Our flagship service for entrepreneurs and investors


Create your Action Plan directly with the Mr. Henderson himself


Claim a second passport based on familial connections


Click here to see all our products and services


Discover the world’s best passports to have in an ever-changing world


Explore the citizenship options using our interactive citizenship map


Explore the tax details for countries using our interactive tax map


Click here to see all of our research and interactive tools



Learn from our R&D playbook and meet like-minded people at our annual event.


Andrew Henderson wrote the #1 best-selling book that redefines life as a diversified,
global citizen in the 21st century… and how you can join the movement.


How to Open a US Bank Account as a Non-Resident

Fallback Image

This article discusses how, as a non-resident or even someone that’s renounced US citizenship, it’s still relatively easy to open a US bank account.

While there are plenty of benefits to opening a US bank account, there are also a handful of drawbacks. Despite these challenges, you can still find a bank that will accept you as a non-resident fairly painlessly, by following a few guidelines. Read on to discover how.

If you’re interested in opening a bank account in the US, click here to find out how we can help you.

Open an Account with Relatively Little hassle

In the US, you can open a bank account for yourself or your US businesses as a citizen, resident, or non-resident as long as you have the right paperwork.

This may come as a surprise to most people since it’s becoming increasingly difficult for most people to open foreign bank accounts. Banking hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong have made it near-impossible for foreigners to open new accounts, and laws like FATCA and the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) have made opening bank accounts in other countries even more difficult.

The US is perhaps one of the easiest places in the world to open a bank account. Along with countries like Georgia, it’s one of the few nations in the world where you can open a bank account as a non-resident with relatively little hassle.

The Best US Banks for Global Citizens

Some people are hesitant to do any kind of business in the US, as privacy is an increasing concern for them. However, while the US does monitor its citizens abroad through laws like FATCA, it doesn’t pay much attention to non-residents banking in the US.

The Benefits of Banking in the US

Banking in the US comes with a handful of benefits that make it an attractive place to open a bank account. The largest benefit of opening a bank account in the US is that it’s an easy country to bank in. Setting up a bank account is rather simple even for non-residents, and sending money to other countries is relatively hassle-free.

The US is well-connected in the global financial system, and other countries tend to trust money coming in from the US. People tend to ask fewer questions about transfers from the US than, say, Belize.

Another benefit of banking in the US is that you get $250,000 in deposit insurance from the FDIC – more than anywhere else in the world, including Singapore and the European Union (EU).

Even non-residents’ US bank accounts are insured by the FDIC. In fact, the US generally treats foreigners the same as citizens in the realm of banking – except when it comes to taxes. If you’re not a US person for tax reasons, then you don’t need to pay tax on any interest you earn.

The Challenges of Banking in the US

While there are plenty of benefits to opening a US bank account, there are also a handful of drawbacks to the US banking system. First, US banks aren’t the best banks in the world. Their liquidity is rather low, and interest rates aren’t great either – especially for non-residents. Also, despite the fact that the U.S. is a very technologically advanced country, its banking sector is known for adhering to old ways.

Many of these banks rely heavily on face-to-face interaction which might include occasions when your account gets suddenly locked. In fact, even accessing your bank from abroad sends up a red flag for many. They’re also more prone to instability than banks in other developed countries.

The US has one of the highest rates of bank failure among developed countries; the country has experienced numerous bank failures over the course of its history whereas similar countries have only experienced one or two instances – if any.

The US government is also currently experiencing a period of political instability, which impacts the solvency of the FDIC.

If one or two major banks failed, the FDIC would run out of money fairly quickly, so Congress would need to step in and allocate money to bail people out. While this has been done in the past, gridlock and instability continue to plague the political sphere.

Another disadvantage of the US banking system is that you can only bank in US dollars. Unless you’re depositing millions of dollars into a private wealth account, then you’ll need to deal with exchange rates and fees if you deposit foreign currency. However, despite these potential problems, many non-US citizens still find banking in the US beneficial.

How to Get a Bank Account as a Non-Resident

Since the US is one of the easiest places in the world to open a bank account, you won’t have much trouble opening an account as a non-resident.

As a non-resident, however, you likely won’t be able to open an account online. While you can sometimes open an account remotely if you have the right connections, banks in the US generally want people to open accounts in person, so if you want to open a US bank account, you should start planning your trip now.

You will also need a handful of documents to open an account. First, you’ll need a government-issued ID, such as a passport, and you should also bring proof of address. Since banks in the US usually send important items like debit cards by mail, you will need to use a real mailing address to open your account.

Additionally, you will likely need to provide information about your source of funds. When a friend of mine from outside of the US won a poker tournament in Las Vegas, he decided to open a bank account in the US to deposit his winnings. He went to Wells Fargo to open an account, and he had to provide proof that he earned his money in the tournament before the bank approved him.

Since the rules keep changing, the requirements for opening a bank account can vary according to state, branch or time. So, it is better to call beforehand and check with your bank (particularly the branch where you wish to open an account)  to double-check their requirements. 

This is important as it is possible that if you walk up to a bank unprepared and you do not meet their requirements, you will be disqualified to apply there again. You will also need a minimum deposit to open the account. Luckily, minimum deposits in the US are usually fairly low, ranging from around $100 to $1,500.

Finally, you may need to give the bank information about where you pay taxes. While the US isn’t a part of CRS, more banks have started asking for some tax information in light of increased worldwide regulation.

If you spend most of your time in one country and pay taxes there, then that shouldn’t be much of an issue. However, if you live the Nomad Capitalist lifestyle and are in the process of moving to a country where you aren’t required to pay tax, this can get trickier.

Suppose you’re from Germany and have a German passport, but you’re in the process of moving to St. Kitts — a country with no income tax.

If you tell the bank that you pay tax in Germany and they report that to the German government, that may cause problems since you’re in the process of leaving the country’s tax system. If you’re in a similar situation, then you should be honest with the bank, and you may want to seek a professional when setting up your account.

Types of Accounts Available to Non-Residents

In general, non-residents can open two types of bank accounts – personal and corporate.

Nearly anyone can open a personal bank account, and as a non-resident, you’ll have more options with a personal account than a corporate one. However, if you have a US company, you can open a corporate account fairly easily as well.

Opening a Personal Account

Non-residents can open a number of different personal accounts. Most banks will let you open a current account, which is commonly called a checking account in the US.

You can also open a savings account at most banks as well. Some banks will also let you open a term deposit account like a one-year Certificate of Deposit (CD).

With personal accounts, US banks will likely inquire about your source of funds, so you should be prepared to provide some kind of proof of where the money you’re depositing came from – whether it’s savings, capital gains, or any other legitimate source of income.

You’ll also need to be prepared for hefty conversion charges. US banks generally only accept US dollars, and they’re not usually accustomed to dealing with foreign currencies at the mass-market level.

However, as long as you have the right paperwork, you should be able to open a personal bank account in the US fairly easily.

Opening a Corporate Account

Corporate accounts can be a bit trickier. If you don’t already have a company in the US, then you will need to set one up before opening a corporate bank account. Unless you already have an established relationship with a bank or are depositing millions of dollars, then most US banks will not open an account for a foreign company.

Luckily, non-residents can set up the US (Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) without much trouble, and once you set up the LLC, you only need to file Form 5472 annually.

Plus, when you set up a US LLC as a non-resident, you can take advantage of different tax benefits, and you can even incorporate US companies with foreign companies.

It is also important that you carefully choose in which state you register your LLC. They must have low or no state taxes and lax privacy laws for non-resident companies, and no annual reports or fees. Delaware, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Nevada happen to be some of the states that are very conducive for foreign business activity.  

If you’re interested in using US LLCs and US banking in your offshore strategy and need more personalized guidance, click here.

Once you have a US company, setting up a corporate bank account is simple as long as you come prepared with the right documentation.

Where to Open a US Bank Account 

Once you’ve made the decision to open a bank account in the US, you need to decide where to open that account. There are some challenges that can make finding a good bank in the US difficult for non-residents, but you should be able to find one that works without much difficulty.

The challenge with banking in the US is that the landscape is constantly changing – banks can fail or change their policies seemingly overnight to make it more difficult for non-residents to manage their accounts. This is why we help people with setting up US accounts at Nomad Capitalist.

Another difficulty with the US banking system is that not all bank employees are well-trained, and they may not be familiar with their bank’s policies regarding non-residents.

You may walk into a Wells Fargo or Bank of America, and the teller or manager may tell you that they don’t accept foreigners – even though those banks actually do. While you may have been rejected by an individual who wasn’t fully aware of the bank’s policies, you may still be able to open an account there with a different manager or at a different branch.

Your Limitations as a Non-Resident

Online banks like Capital One 360 or Ally Bank are usually out of the question for non-residents. Their high-interest savings account options are typically only for US citizens, and they’re not even very friendly toward US citizens living abroad who hold a basic checking account. Online banks, then, aren’t generally going to be an option for non-residents.

Credit unions are also out of the question. They’re usually small and local, and they aren’t particularly open to non-residents looking to open overseas bank accounts.

As a general rule, larger banks like US Bank, Chase, and Wells Fargo are more open to non-residents than smaller banks.

Larger banks have less exposure than small, local banks or credit unions, which makes them more willing to take risks. If they get a bad apple, they have plenty of other accounts and can move on fairly easily. Smaller banks, on the other hand, will feel more heat if they have problems, so their risk tolerance is much lower. Even as a US citizen living abroad, you can have problems with small banks in the US.

When you open a bank account at a local bank, say, in Arizona, you could be asked to demonstrate local ties with the area before your account is set up and ready to use. 

Larger banks, then, are generally your friend. They’re not as paranoid about compliance as smaller banks, and they usually have solid features like Visa- or Mastercard-backed debit cards.

However, you may not be able to get the kind of service that you want with larger banks, and they’re not as technologically adept as offshore banks in other countries.

Banks such as Bank of America or US Bank rely heavily on self-service functions like online banking, but their apps aren’t as advanced as those used by similar banks in countries like Singapore.

While online banking in the US can make some of the simpler aspects of remote banking easier to deal with, you usually need a US phone number to manage your account – especially when you need to authorize large transfers or resolve complex issues over the phone.

You can get a temporary SIM card when you visit the US, but that’s not going to work when you inevitably leave the country. Google Voice is certainly an option, but that comes with its own challenges as well.

Larger banks also rely heavily on mail for sensitive items like debit cards, so you’ll need to have a mailing address that you can easily access if the bank sends anything to you.

Despite these challenges, larger banks are still usually your best bet for opening a bank account as a non-resident simply because they are more willing to approve your account and work with you.

However, if you want to open an account at a bank where you can get more personalized, hands-on service, it is possible to find small banks that cater to non-residents.

At Nomad Capitalist, we work with a number of smaller banks in the US. We have a personal account manager who helps with issues like wire transfers and resetting online banking. We have set up similar accounts for many of our clients.

For exclusive access to hand-picked insights on global investments, citizenship and residency, real estate, tax strategies, and diversified living, sign up for our Weekly Rundown

At Nomad Capitalist, we create holistic strategies for high-net-worth individuals to protect all their assets, including high-yielding investment options. We advise on the best jurisdictions for your investments, combined within a tax, immigration, and asset protection strategy designed specifically for your needs. 


Sign up for our Weekly Rundown packed with hand-picked insights on global citizenship, offshore tax planning, and new places to diversify.


Reduce Your Taxes And Diversify Your Wealth

Nomad Capitalist has helped 1,500+ high-net-worth clients grow and protect their wealth safe from high taxes and greedy governments. Learn how our legal, holistic approach can help you.

What do you want to accomplish?

Let us know your goal and we will tell you how we can help you based on your details.


We handle your data according to our Privacy Policy. By entering your email address you grant us permission to send you the report and follow up emails later.