I am not a US citizen and want to visit USA as a tourist.

Since withdrawing money from my home-country bank account will cost much, it is better to open an new bank account in US (after arriving) and transfer some money from my home-country bank account to it.

The money is not too much, less than 50 thousand us dollars.

Can foreigners holding US tourist visa create a bank account in USA?


7 Answers 7


The answer is, unfortunately, along the lines of "it depends". It does depend a little on the bank - I've had a US bank account for years before moving to the US, and I didn't have an SSN or any status when I opened the account. What I did have however was an address in the US that they could send the statements to, and proof that I was living abroad (oh, and US citizen wife that had an account with the same bank).

Not all banks will open a bank account for a foreigner with no status in the US, but it is generally possible. You will have to check with several banks and basically have paperwork showing your foreign address and proof of id (passport, possibly a drivers license as well).

  • 1
    This sounds great. But can someone name the US banks where they've successfully done this?
    – user9182
    Feb 1, 2013 at 16:23
  • @Stocko - all the major banks, especially in metro areas where there are a lot of foreigners (NY, LA, SF etc). Credit Unions will probably be a notable general exception (they have acceptance criteria, you have to either work or live in the area).
    – littleadv
    Feb 1, 2013 at 18:26
  • 3
    My friend was in the US on a tourist visa and was able to open an account without a SSN at Bank of America. To Timo's point, they did require a US address.
    – Matt
    Jul 17, 2013 at 14:14
  • @user9182 My sister went to US Bank to successfully open her account.
    – CleanCoder
    Jun 5, 2015 at 11:03
  • I'm a UK citizen and resident, and Bank of America let me open an account with them while I was visiting the US as a tourist. I needed proof of ID and my UK address.
    – s6mike
    Jul 15, 2018 at 22:15

You can open an account in US without having SSN. You need to be physically present to open the account.

  • Don't think so, they would allow on a tourist visa.
    – DumbCoder
    Apr 13, 2011 at 10:48
  • 4
    They do. Not all banks, but it's perfectly possible. Apr 13, 2011 at 14:20

This is an alternative solution and it will depend where you live as to how you will have to make it work. I am in the UK and there are a number of ways that I can use to access my money from anywhere in the world without high transaction fees.

  1. Use a Halifax Clarity credit card. This has no foreign exchange fee anywhere in the world, so you can get the best rate possible. Plus it doesn't charge a fee for cash withdrawals, although you will be charged interest on the cash withdrawal from the date of withdrawal even if you repay in full.
  2. Use a FairFX prepaid Mastercard. This has no fee for topping up (if you use the correct route) or for purchases. There is a $2 fee (or €1.50 on the Euro version) for each ATM cash withdrawal. I top mine up from my bank account over the internet without any charges.

Internet banking takes care of everything else.


Depending what country you are from, there may be better alternatives to transfer money internationally. Opening a bank account is complicated, costs money, and international bank transfers are remarkably expensive.

  1. Traveler checks: they can be used for moving money international at a about 1% fee rate. They are somewhat inconvenient but very safe and cost effective.
  2. ATM cards: I'm currently in China and I can pull money from the Chinese Construction Bank machine using a Bank of America ATM card with no charges whatsoever, since both Banks have an ATM agreement.

Yes you can. I'm a foreigner who uses a tourist visa to enter America and Bank of America opened a checking account for me. I had to go into the branch with my passport and a driving license and it was opened with $100. You do need to give a US address so statements can be sent out but that's about it.

  • I am a US resident and my sister was here on a tourist visa and had a similar experience. We went to a US Bank branch and she was able to open an account the same day. It took about an hour and a half. As @user9310 said, she had to give a US address for statements and debit card to be sent to.
    – CleanCoder
    Jun 5, 2015 at 10:53

yes you can open bank account you should have a address in us and personally visit bank to deposite $1500 only to get you a debit card.you are required to maintain min balance of $1500 only. I have done it

  • 4
    While you've done it in a particular bank with particular requirements, it is totally not true to claim that these are the terms in any bank for any client.
    – littleadv
    Jun 23, 2012 at 5:02

If you want an interest-bearing account, you can apply online for a Taxpayer Identification Number. Unlike a Social Security Number, this should be available without respect to visa status. Remember, many people living overseas are invested in American securities. Speaking of which, you may find something like a Schwab International account fits your needs, without even needing a US address. Leave the money in cash; ignore investing in the US markets (unless you want to).

  • It's Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and it cannot be applied for online (are you confusing with EIN?) and in fact routinely takes months. And technically ITIN is not permitted if you are eligible for SSN, which in addition to citizens some alien statuses are -- but not tourist. Jan 21, 2018 at 7:55
  • Probably. All sorts of aliens get SSNs (H1-B, etc.) but that doesn't seem to apply here. Jan 22, 2018 at 18:41

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