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soprano82

Joint Bank Account for AOS Interview?

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I wanted to see if the community may be able to shed some light on how necessary it is to have a joint bank account established prior to having the AOS interview? I recognize that it seems like most people ensure that a joint bank account is in place before the interview, but after discovering that the W8 ben is necessary for someone to be added to/establish a bank account without permanent resident status, it seems pretty impractical to add my spouse to my account before she has become a permanent resident (when she no longer needs to have the W8 ben filed). From what I have been able to gather, the W8 ben would subject dividend returns on our bank accounts to additional taxation potentially (based on the US's agreement with my wife's home country, Japan) and will remain in effect until 3 years after the filing date (despite my wife likely receiving permanent residence status during that time) as she would be filing the W8 ben with an active SS number and not an ITIN.

 

As mentioned above, my financial institution informed me that she would not need to have the W8 ben filed if she were a permanent resident of the US, so it's tough for me to justify adding her to the account just to show she's on it with a 3 year penalty for doing so. I have been managing all of our finances/bills; and my wife has not started working since receiving her EAD, so adding her to my bank account is not something we've really thought much about until realizing that it'll likely be time to go through the AOS interview soon.

 

I also wanted to note that my wife is on the lease to our apartment and we have been collecting a substantial amount of additional evidence of our ongoing marriage and relationship in the form of photos, airline tickets from trips, etc. If anyone has an other advice for additional documents to have on-hand during the interview, that would be a huge help and very much appreciated.

 

Thanks again guys!

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Financial co-mingling is extremely important, imo.  Her income is reportable (and possibly taxable) anyway.  My advice is to open a joint account and start using it for normal household expenses.....


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44 minutes ago, soprano82 said:

I wanted to see if the community may be able to shed some light on how necessary it is to have a joint bank account established prior to having the AOS interview? I recognize that it seems like most people ensure that a joint bank account is in place before the interview, but after discovering that the W8 ben is necessary for someone to be added to/establish a bank account without permanent resident status, it seems pretty impractical to add my spouse to my account before she has become a permanent resident (when she no longer needs to have the W8 ben filed). From what I have been able to gather, the W8 ben would subject dividend returns on our bank accounts to additional taxation potentially (based on the US's agreement with my wife's home country, Japan) and will remain in effect until 3 years after the filing date (despite my wife likely receiving permanent residence status during that time) as she would be filing the W8 ben with an active SS number and not an ITIN.

 

As mentioned above, my financial institution informed me that she would not need to have the W8 ben filed if she were a permanent resident of the US, so it's tough for me to justify adding her to the account just to show she's on it with a 3 year penalty for doing so. I have been managing all of our finances/bills; and my wife has not started working since receiving her EAD, so adding her to my bank account is not something we've really thought much about until realizing that it'll likely be time to go through the AOS interview soon.

 

I also wanted to note that my wife is on the lease to our apartment and we have been collecting a substantial amount of additional evidence of our ongoing marriage and relationship in the form of photos, airline tickets from trips, etc. If anyone has an other advice for additional documents to have on-hand during the interview, that would be a huge help and very much appreciated.

 

Thanks again guys!

Maybe open another account in a different bank? Cause I was added to my husband’s before we even married or had a k1  and we don’t even know what a w8 is.. 


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i will talk base on my experience..i think USCIS/IO understand that sometimes its not easy to get a bank account or joint account without ssn.. focus to other evidence like health,dental insurance and you added her as your beneficiary in your 401k i think those are strong evidence than having a joint account that you can easily make one and remove when its not needed.

 

all our finances is by my husband.. been here for 7 months and not working and we never thought of getting a joint bank account but we pass the aos stage without any Hussle.

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5 hours ago, soprano82 said:

I wanted to see if the community may be able to shed some light on how necessary it is to have a joint bank account established prior to having the AOS interview? I recognize that it seems like most people ensure that a joint bank account is in place before the interview, but after discovering that the W8 ben is necessary for someone to be added to/establish a bank account without permanent resident status, it seems pretty impractical to add my spouse to my account before she has become a permanent resident (when she no longer needs to have the W8 ben filed). From what I have been able to gather, the W8 ben would subject dividend returns on our bank accounts to additional taxation potentially (based on the US's agreement with my wife's home country, Japan) and will remain in effect until 3 years after the filing date (despite my wife likely receiving permanent residence status during that time) as she would be filing the W8 ben with an active SS number and not an ITIN.

 

As mentioned above, my financial institution informed me that she would not need to have the W8 ben filed if she were a permanent resident of the US, so it's tough for me to justify adding her to the account just to show she's on it with a 3 year penalty for doing so. I have been managing all of our finances/bills; and my wife has not started working since receiving her EAD, so adding her to my bank account is not something we've really thought much about until realizing that it'll likely be time to go through the AOS interview soon.

 

I also wanted to note that my wife is on the lease to our apartment and we have been collecting a substantial amount of additional evidence of our ongoing marriage and relationship in the form of photos, airline tickets from trips, etc. If anyone has an other advice for additional documents to have on-hand during the interview, that would be a huge help and very much appreciated.

 

Thanks again guys!

W8 ben is required by IRS, and your wife may be a resident alien per IRS. You can determine it with substantial presence test. The same thing happened to us, when I first arrived to US, I had to fill out that form for my own account because I wasn't a resident alien per the test. But couple of months later, when we went to open a joint account, I was a resident alien per IRS. Bank officer told me to fill that form due to me not having green card and not being a resident alien, but we explained the situation- which is the form is required by IRS so I am a resident alien per IRS. Then, she went to talk with her supervisor, finally they opened the bank account without me signing that form. If she is a resident alien per IRS, then they shouldn't request you to fill that form, just explain the situation and make them know you know your rights. Just a friendly advise:)

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Like @missileman said, financial commingling is very important. For a different anecdote, my husband and I don't have a joint account, and at this point probably never will. I've had my own accounts before we got married, he had his, it works for us. 

 

However, our financial life is still very much commingled. We each pay certain bills for our house (that only he owns), and the bills are in either my name or his. We have joint medical, dental, auto, and home insurance. We have a joint family cell phone plan. Things that made sense, like insurance and cell phones, are joint. Things that didn't matter to us, like utilities and internet, are not. We had absolutely zero issues during our interview. 

 

But if your wife doesn't work and therefore doesn't contribute to paying bills in some sort of manner, the only real way to show financial commingling is to get a joint account that you both use. Go to a different bank, open a chequing account for both of you (alternatively, a joint credit card, which would help her build her credit history), and start using that for groceries and household expenses. Obviously, without a job, she won't be contributing to the account, but having her own access to it and hopefully obviously using it when she needs it, is a solid thing to have. 


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9 hours ago, soprano82 said:

I wanted to see if the community may be able to shed some light on how necessary it is to have a joint bank account established prior to having the AOS interview? I recognize that it seems like most people ensure that a joint bank account is in place before the interview, but after discovering that the W8 ben is necessary for someone to be added to/establish a bank account without permanent resident status, it seems pretty impractical to add my spouse to my account before she has become a permanent resident (when she no longer needs to have the W8 ben filed). From what I have been able to gather, the W8 ben would subject dividend returns on our bank accounts to additional taxation potentially (based on the US's agreement with my wife's home country, Japan) and will remain in effect until 3 years after the filing date (despite my wife likely receiving permanent residence status during that time) as she would be filing the W8 ben with an active SS number and not an ITIN.

 

As mentioned above, my financial institution informed me that she would not need to have the W8 ben filed if she were a permanent resident of the US, so it's tough for me to justify adding her to the account just to show she's on it with a 3 year penalty for doing so. I have been managing all of our finances/bills; and my wife has not started working since receiving her EAD, so adding her to my bank account is not something we've really thought much about until realizing that it'll likely be time to go through the AOS interview soon.

 

I also wanted to note that my wife is on the lease to our apartment and we have been collecting a substantial amount of additional evidence of our ongoing marriage and relationship in the form of photos, airline tickets from trips, etc. If anyone has an other advice for additional documents to have on-hand during the interview, that would be a huge help and very much appreciated.

 

Thanks again guys!

My husband added me as an authorized user to his cc right before I moved here and we recently opened a joint account at Capital One, from which we pay the mortgage and some groceries and sometimes some other bills. Never heard of W8. We had my husbands uncle file our taxes (he's an accountant) and he never mentioned anything about W8. But maybe that's your banks requirement, idk.

 

Anyway, as @missileman said, co mingling of finances is one of the strong proofs of having a legit marriage. So I would just open a joint account and/or add her as an authorized user to your cc. It won't effect your credit in any way, since you're not sharing the CC, she's only authorized to spend your money lol.

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6 hours ago, Huckleberry&Koala said:

W8 ben is required by IRS, and your wife may be a resident alien per IRS. You can determine it with substantial presence test. The same thing happened to us, when I first arrived to US, I had to fill out that form for my own account because I wasn't a resident alien per the test. But couple of months later, when we went to open a joint account, I was a resident alien per IRS. Bank officer told me to fill that form due to me not having green card and not being a resident alien, but we explained the situation- which is the form is required by IRS so I am a resident alien per IRS. Then, she went to talk with her supervisor, finally they opened the bank account without me signing that form. If she is a resident alien per IRS, then they shouldn't request you to fill that form, just explain the situation and make them know you know your rights. Just a friendly advise:)

@Huckleberry&Koala

 

Thank you so much for clearing this up! My wife passes the substantial presence test at this point, so if I am understanding you correctly, she should be considered a resident alien of the US now. As a result, she can be added to my account without the need for a W8 ben to be filed. She has everything else that is required: SSN, etc as well. So it’s just a matter of making sure they understand that she passes the substantial presence test and is therefore eligible to be added. I knew something seemed wrong when they were trying to push us into filing the W8 when we tried to get her added onto my account the first time.

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On 3/17/2019 at 1:16 AM, soprano82 said:

@Huckleberry&Koala

 

Thank you so much for clearing this up! My wife passes the substantial presence test at this point, so if I am understanding you correctly, she should be considered a resident alien of the US now. As a result, she can be added to my account without the need for a W8 ben to be filed. She has everything else that is required: SSN, etc as well. So it’s just a matter of making sure they understand that she passes the substantial presence test and is therefore eligible to be added. I knew something seemed wrong when they were trying to push us into filing the W8 when we tried to get her added onto my account the first time.

Yeah, if that is the case, then tell them that this form is IRS requirement, not bank requirement, and since she is a resident alien in IRS eyes, then she cannot file this form, because this form is used for non-resident in IRS eyes, it doesn't matter how bank classifies her. In the form, it clearly states "DO NOT use this form if you are a resident alien". You can take a copy of this form and substantial presence test, etc., highlight and show them for them to fully understand.

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