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Lindac

British citizen tourist opening a bank account in the US

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Filed: Timeline

Hi,

My British citizen girlfriend, who lives in the UK, wants to open an account with a US bank while she's here to visit me in a couple of weeks.

I talked to the bank and they said she can open an account with a valid passport and visa while she's here as a tourist.

As a British citizen she doesn't need a visa. So what do we do?

Has any of you done this before?

Please advise!

Thank you.

Edited by Lindac

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Wales
Timeline

No doubt there are tax issues. That aside she would use the VWP normally, no visa.

There are plenty of banks offering services to the undocumented crowd and of course plenty of snowbirds who have holiday homes in the US so it should not be an issue, you may need to shop around.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Filed: Timeline

Thank you, Boiler.

I don't know if there'll be any tax issue. It's just a checking account. Do British travelers get some kind of document when they land in the US to prove that their entry is legal?

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Wales
Timeline

You can print off the I 94 on line, not quite sure why her status is of any interest to the Bank.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Honestly you should be fine. My parents visit quite often to see us and on their last trip they opened a bank account. They are with a fairly local on here in Florida but they shopped around. They just needed their British passports and I think another form of ID.

It might be best your girlfriend go into the bank and ask to open an account and see what they say but it's not hard.

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Filed: Timeline

I think it's less about her being "legal" in immigration terms and more about how they deal with her tax status. If she's not resident in the US and uses a UK address, I suspect that their reporting requirements will be slightly different. Though if she's looking at a non-interest bearing account, that might not be an issue.

I agree with shopping around and going in-person.*

*You don't even want to hear the palaver I'm still going through with HSBC...

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Sorry to jump in on this topic but does anyone know if it makes things easier/more difficult if a british citizen wants to open a joint account with an american citizen in the US?


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This paper might offer some insight into accounts for foreign nationals. http://www.texasappleseed.net/pdf/projects_immigrantAccess_deposit_account.pdf

It is a Texas document because banking falls under state laws. But there are references to federal requirements that all states would follow and might be informative to those in other states.

From reading the AOS forum, even K1s married to US citizens often encounter difficulty opening bank accounts. It could be because the bank persons don't fully know how to do it. It could be a particular bank chooses how they want to comply with laws concerning identification. Some have stricter bank policies and they can do that.

Walking into a bank branch seems better than trying to do it online for some. Simply going to a different bank may get different results. Some people have no difficulty, while others hit a roadblock at every turn. It is going to be specific to your state and town and the banks doing business there.

Anyway the link will give you an idea of the regulations banks have to operate under.


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