I worked in the US for 4 month as an exchange student in 2017 and just received my State Tax Return as a check. Since I live in Romania, cashing a US check is complicated, taking up to 45 days because the bank has to send the check back to the US to verify it.

Is there another method to cash a US check as a foreigner?

My roommate still has his Wells Fargo account active, even though he doesn't live in the US anymore. I thought about cashing the check in his account, as a third party one. But, after further research, I found that Wells Fargo has pretty strict rules regarding third party checks, even more strict when it comes to my only available deposit option, the mobile one.

I tried using PayPal, but I cannot see the Cash a Check option in the app, probably because of the region I'm accessing it. The same for Ingo Money - the app is not availble in my region. I tried side-loading it, but it won't connect to the network for the same reason - the region.

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    Unless your bank is particularly good, you're also likely to get hit with various fees and a pretty bad exchange rate... I'm not aware of a good solution if you don't have a US account and are not planning on visiting the US any time soon. :-/ – David Jun 20 '18 at 14:20
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    @DilipSarwate: can you give support for that? Most Federal refunds (last I looked about 90%) are paid by electronic transfer (ACH) and those are supposed to be to an account in taxpayer name though apparently they aren't fully successful in enforcing that. However the last time I got a paper check, admittedly 7 years ago, it said 'Pay to the order of [my name]' just like other checks, which should allow me to endorse it over if I wanted to (which I didn't). – dave_thompson_085 Jun 21 '18 at 3:00
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    @DilipSarwate Well, I don't care enough about this question to prolong the discussion. But I read the regulations cited, 31 CFR 240, and I don't see anything in there that says you can't cash a government check or endorse it to a third party. 240.2(r) lists "unauthorized endorsements", and there's nothing in that list about endorsements by a third party, it's basically just that you can't forge someone else's signature or claim to be their legal representative. I'm not saying that you're wrong. I don't know. I'm just saying that I haven't seen any evidence that you're right. – Jay Jun 22 '18 at 16:36
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    In the interests of beating this subject to death: According to this page, help.walmart.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/89/~/…, Walmart will cash checks for a fee of $4 to $8. They specifically list among the types of checks that they will cash, "government checks" and "tax checks". I can't imagine that a big company like WalMart would advertise such a service if it wasn't legal. – Jay Jun 22 '18 at 21:16
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    @Jay+ I read it the same. And in addition to Walmart, pocketsense.com/cash-tax-refund-bank-account-6483854.html suggests Kroger and check cashing stores. 'Kroger' seems to actually be a subsidiary moneyservices.com/about-money-services and the check-cashing page lists Types of Checks We Can Cash which includes Income Tax Refund checks. The check-cashing stores are bottom-feeders and I won't go through their websites, but I'm quite sure if they were getting stiffed by Treasury they would stop fast. – dave_thompson_085 Jun 24 '18 at 6:35

I tried using the advice provided in the comments, but ended up cashing it through someone's Bank of America account. Curiously, it didn't need an extra endorsement except my signature.

Thank you for your feedback.

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