What options does an undocumented immigrant have to open a bank account in the United States?

Some banks allow you to open an account with an ITIN or passport instead of a Social Security number.

If you are an undocumented foreigner, you may have noticed how complicated it is to open a bank account in the United States. However, even if you don’t have Social Security, temporary residence or a green card, it’s not that difficult to obtain one of these important financial products .

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many banking institutions have developed more rigorous measures to evaluate and approve bank accounts in the United States. The information that banks and other organizations require to open a savings or checking account is the same.

Among the requirements that a bank usually asks for are:

  • Your name and date of birth : via a valid passport, government-issued driver’s license, consular ID, and birth certificate.
  • Address – Verify mailing address with utility bill, lease, or valid driver’s license or municipal ID.
  • Identification: this is the requirement for which many do not open a bank account. They usually ask for the Social Security number, however, many are unaware that they can supply it with their personal taxpayer identification number ( ITIN ), foreign identification card number or even a document issued by the government that proves your nationality or residence as a passport or even a foreign driver’s license.

Although there are banks that can accept any of these identifications, credit unions are the most accessible financial entities to be able to get a bank account.

Within the identification documents, the most important after Social Security is the ITIN.

The ITIN is used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to process taxes and is available only to non-citizens who work in the US, are not eligible for a Social Security number and file taxes in the country. according to information obtained at NerdWallet.

The requirements to get your ITIN are:

  • Fill out Form W-7 which is available in English and Spanish.
  • Provide proof of your identity with a valid document that includes a photograph. For example, it can be a valid passport or driver’s license.
  • You must prove a connection to a foreign country with a valid document.
  • Complete a federal tax return.
  • Send all of the above to the IRS.

The IRS allows you to mail the original copies when you submit your application or you can make an appointment to send the original documents. Immigrant Finance recommends that if you send your original documents by mail, even though they send them back to you, you risk these important papers being lost, so it is best to make an appointment at their offices.