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Do Immigrant Business Owners Need an SSN to Open a U.S. Bank Account?

As a small business owner, you have likely invested significant funds into developing and starting your company. In order to ensure the success of your business, it is important that you keep a watchful eye over both your personal and professional finances.

Checking and savings accounts are two deposit options that provide a safe and secure way to easily store and access your money. Because banks need to verify the identification of account holders, they will often ask for a social security number (SSN). However, contrary to what many people believe, there is no law that makes this a requirement. In fact, many American banks offer checking and savings accounts to people who don’t have social security numbers. This is a great thing for immigrants who need quick and easy access to their money.

To begin this process, you will need to find out which banks offer accounts to people who don’t have an SSN. For instance, there may be a bank from your home country, such as BBVA or HSBC, that has branches in the U.S. Or, you may be surprised to know that most major American banks, such as Citibank or Bank of America, don’t require account holders to have SSNs. Many banks only need the following:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Residential or business street address within the U.S.
  • Identification number

The tricky one is the identification number. Many banks will accept one of two documents: employer ID or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). An ITIN is a number that the IRS issues for individuals who are working in the U.S., but don’t have an SSN. ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status. You can find out more about how to apply on the IRS webpage.

Once you are ready to open an account, the most important step is to review the fees and features at different banks. For example, different institutions will impose varying monthly fees, ATM fees, transfer limitations, and interest rates on their accounts. They will also offer different features such as debit cards as part of checking accounts, unlimited transactions, and many others. It is critical that you find a bank account with the right features for you so that you can spend your time overseeing your company rather than worrying about your money.

At Visa Business Plans, we understand the blood, sweat, and tears that go into opening and running a business. We’ve done it ourselves! The last thing you should be worried about is the security and availability of your money. Chances are there is a checking and saving account option that is perfect for you.

Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in 4 different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.

Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and high-growth enterprises.

At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of immigration and SBA loans.

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