US Bank account in Puerto Rico

Nov 27, 2002
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I have a short question: Can i as a German national open a US Bank Account in Puerto Rico living in the Dominican Republic? A trip to visit a bank in Puerto Rico won't be a problem. Which Bank would be easiest?
 

korejdk

New member
Dec 29, 2006
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Very very hard ( mucho dinero needed ) for the bank account...why don't you open a brokerage account with the checking account features ?
 

rubio_higuey

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2007
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Sorry, only US Citizens and US Legal Residents [green card] can open a US checking or savings account.

AE

This is not true at all!

I have several European friends that opened US bank account with just their passport. What you cannot do is open the bank account over the phone like a US citizen/resident could. Even illegal Mexicans can open accounts, with just their Mexican ID, for example, in Bank of America.

Some banks may be stricter than others, so you should go to a "mass" bank like Bank of America or Wachovia or Suntrust. Citibank and JP Morgan may be more difficult (especially Citibank).

Some banks may require to apply for ITIN - Individual Taxpayer Identification Number with the IRS before they open you the account.

All in all, it's not at all that difficult.
 

Africaida

Well-known member
Jun 19, 2009
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Not true

This is not true at all!

I have several European friends that opened US bank account with just their passport. What you cannot do is open the bank account over the phone like a US citizen/resident could. Even illegal Mexicans can open accounts, with just their Mexican ID, for example, in Bank of America.

Some banks may be stricter than others, so you should go to a "mass" bank like Bank of America or Wachovia or Suntrust. Citibank and JP Morgan may be more difficult (especially Citibank).

Some banks may require to apply for ITIN - Individual Taxpayer Identification Number with the IRS before they open you the account.

All in all, it's not at all that difficult.
People used to open a bank account with a just a passport before, but new anti-terror & money laundering laws were enacted due to September 11th and it is no longer possible.

In New York City, banks will check your immigration status (I can attest to it).

Sadly, I know quite a few people in NYC who have been unsuccessful at opening a bank account because of their immigration status.
 
Nov 27, 2002
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www.compunorma.com
Just called Chase Bank, they told me no Problem, just 2 identifications passport and driverls licencse and they open the account right away with a minimum deposit of 100 US$. Will be flying to Miami next week to open it. thanks for your responses
 

AlterEgo

Administrator
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Jan 9, 2009
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Playa Najayo & South Jersey
It looks like I stand corrected - when my Dominican brother-in-law and his wife wanted to open a US checking account [both legal residents/green card holders] they had a hard time. I ended up taking them to my own bank where they know me well [PNC] and it was an easy process. Maybe it depends on the bank?

How does one open a US bank account without a social security # for the 1099 for interest at the end of the year?
 

rubio_higuey

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2007
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This will explain everything.


Section 326 of the U.S. Patriot act:

http://www.earlywarning.com/pdf/USA_PATRIOT_Act_Section_326_Final_Rule.pdf

Page 34

The final rule also provides that for a non-U.S. person, a bank must obtain one or more of the following: a taxpayer identification number (social security number, individual taxpayer identification number, or employer identification number); passport number and country of issuance; alien identification card number; or number and country of issuance of any other government- issued document evidencing nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar safeguard. This standard provides a bank with some flexibility to choose among a variety of identification numbers that it may accept from a 35 non-U.S. person. 25 However, the identifying information the bank accepts must permit the bank to establish a reasonable belief that it knows the true identity of the customer.

Page 35

Treasury and the Agencies recognize that a foreign business or enterprise may not
have a taxpayer identification number or any other number from a government-issued
document evidencing nationality or residence and bearing a photograph or similar
safeguard. Therefore, the final rule notes that when opening an account for such a
customer, the bank must request alternative government- issued documentation certifying the existence of the business or enterprise.

Page 40

The final rule attempts to strike the appropriate balance between the benefits of
requiring additional documentary verification and the burdens that may arise from such a requirement by providing that a bank’s CIP must state the documents that a bank will use. This will require each bank to conduct its own risk-based analysis of the types of documents it believes will enable it to know the true identity of its customers.
 

rubio_higuey

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2007
7,504
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It looks like I stand corrected - when my Dominican brother-in-law and his wife wanted to open a US checking account [both legal residents/green card holders] they had a hard time. I ended up taking them to my own bank where they know me well [PNC] and it was an easy process. Maybe it depends on the bank?

How does one open a US bank account without a social security # for the 1099 for interest at the end of the year?

with ITIN from IRS
 

Ben

Member
Feb 2, 2004
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How does one open a US bank account without a social security # for the 1099 for interest at the end of the year?
Under current U.S. law, non-resident aliens do not require a social security # to open a bank account in the USA and do not receive a 1099-INT. You will be asked to fill out an IRS Form W-8BEN when opening the account, and will be asked for additional documentation to confirm your identity and country of residence. At year end, any interest will be reported to you on Form 1042-S. Bank deposit interest is exempt from U.S. tax withholding.

Under the anti-money laundering "know your customer" rules, banks assign a risk rating to each account holder (and applicant) and may also monitor transactions. The risk rating is based on several factors, including profession (not surprisingly, politicians are rated a higher risk than most professions when it comes to money laundering). The U.S. Treasury maintains a list of companies and individuals prohibited from financial transactions in the USA (U.S. Treasury - Office of Foreign Assets Control).

Individual banks may have more stringent requirements than those required by law. But most foreigners should find it easy to open a bank account in the USA at the present time. There is no doubt the rules will get stricter in the future.

Ben
 

MarkusL1

New member
May 3, 2004
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Go to Florida and open a Bank acoount at one of the major banks. Many people from Europe open a bank account in Florida for various reason.
Make sure you bring at least two forms of ID (Passport, EU drivers license) and you should be ok.
If one bank rep gives you a hard time try again with a different bank.
You will have to give them a valid address so they can send you the checks and visa check card and statments.
But I wouldn't recomment any funny business with this new account......

Good luck.
 
Nov 27, 2002
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Well I went here is my report:
Went to Miami yesterday

1: Chase Bank: Even if they told me two times on the phone two ids are fine I entered the chase bank near the airport. They also wanted a Dominican Utility bill and they did not accept my german drivers license. So no Luck! :-(

2. Bank of Amerika
They accepted my ids but told me I had to make a minimum deposit of 750 US$ to open the account. To maintain the account balance could not get below that or i hadd to pays fees of 12 US$ per month if my balance got below this. So - No Go!

So i was very disapointed and nearly checked in to fly back, thinking this trip was for nothing. My Cab driver told me about his bank, and that they were very friendly. So i gave it a last shot , just before flying back.

3. Bank Atlantic
Bingo!!!!! No Problem at all. They accepted my ids and they wanted to see my visa waiver which i had. Very friendly people very helpful.I could open my account with a 25 US$ Deposit. I put in 150 US$. I got my checkbook right away and I went out with my new Debit Card. Great Great Great! So it is not the law, it is the banks policies. I could verify my new account with paypal right away.


So finally i have been lucky. Got my Account thanks to Bank Atlantic and their great service.

Thanks for all your helpful comments

Michael
 
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rubio_higuey

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2007
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Suntrust is also easy to open. You could have also tried Wachovia.


Even if they told me two times on the phone two ids are fine I entered the chase bank near the airport. They also wanted a Dominican Utility bill and they did not accept my german drivers license.

So it is not the law, it is the banks policies. I could verify my new account with paypal right away.
Same as in the DR, the same bank's branches may have different policies and/or different approchaes, or simply invent policies themselves.

Also, according to your post, you went on Saturday AND ON HOLIDAY, which means that the most knowledgeable branch employees had a DAY OFF that day.

For example, in a different Chase branch or on a different day in the same branch you may have walked out with an account.
 

rubio_higuey

Well-known member
Feb 7, 2007
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Same goes for Bank of America. At their website, selecting Florida, the minimum deposit to open account is 25 dollars, and for some account 100 dollars. Most of the accounts do not have minimum balance and have low or no monthly fees. This is for accounts opened online, branch-opened accounts may have different conditions, but I don't think they would be so much different. This may be the case of the employee not knowing all the products or offering you the wrong product. Again, different branch or different day may have given you different results.