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How to Open a Bank Account for Undocumented Immigrants in the United States

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In the last few weeks, we have been receiving a lot of questions and concerns, related to how to open a bank account as an undocumented immigrant or without having a permanent immigration status. Here we explain the benefits of having a bank account, the banks that you can open an account at, and how to do it.

A bank account can be obtained as an undocumented

If you do not have legal status, you may have realized how difficult it is to open a bank account in the United States. However, despite not having citizenship, social security, or even a green card, it is possible to obtain a bank account in this country.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, different banking institutions have opted for more rigorous measures to approve and evaluate bank accounts in the United States. However, if you have documents that can prove your postal address and identity, you can easily open an account.

Why is it important to open a bank account in the United States?

Opening a bank account is an essential step for an immigrant to obtain:

1. Financial Stability.

2. Better preparation for any immigration matter.

3. Allows financial participation in the system of this country.

Financial stability

The most important part of having a bank account is that it gives you stability when you move to a new place. When you are just starting out in a new country, opening a bank account is the first to start saving money in a safe place.

Many people in the migrant community only use cash and decide not to have a bank account. Although this style of having only cash is very common, it is not the safest. For example, if your money is lost or stolen, you could lose everything. But if your money is in a bank account, it is more difficult for it to be lost. Additionally, you will have access to your money at any ATM. The ability to transfer and make payments to your bills is also very convenient. 

Having your money relatively safe can help you feel calm and can focus on other critical financial steps like budgeting, saving, and investing.

Better preparation on Immigration matters.

It is essential to have a bank account for immigration procedures. The process can help you create a record of the dates you have lived in the US and pay taxes, which can be useful for proving residency.

Having a bank account can show the amount of time you have been living in the United States. This can be extremely essential evidence, for example, if you ever have an immigration problem in the future and must go in front of an immigration judge or petition someone who may benefit from immigration status, you can fetch your bank records and show usage of those to show your financial stability.  

Documents that banking institutions need.

Name and Date of Birth: In order to verify your name and date of birth, you will need to provide a valid government identification card such as: birth certificate, valid passport, consular ID, government issued driver’s license and residence permit. When opening a bank account, it is necessary to present at least two proofs of identification.

Address: Proof of residential address is required. You can use some documents: Electricity, water, or telephone bills (which are in your name), lease contract, municipal identification.

Identification: When opening a bank account, the Social Security number is usually requested,  

however, that requirement can be met with other documents such as: the taxpayer’s personal identification number (ITIN), foreigner identification card, even a document that proves your nationality, such as a passport or even your foreign driver’s license.

Among the most important identification documents, they include the Social Security and the ITIN number.

• The ITIN number is used to process taxes and is available only to people who work in the United States and do not have an immigration status and are not eligible for a Social Security number.

Also read: ITIN Number: Another Way To Pay Taxes As An Immigrant

Banks that allow you to open a bank account without social security.

· Amalgamated Bank. It has branches in New York and Washington DC. You must present the municipal identification card. Qualifying IDs are IDNYC and ITIN and you must have your photograph and residential address.

·  PNC Bank. You must have an ITIN number to open a checking and savings account. You can open a savings account with an initial deposit of $ 25.

·  US Alliance Financial. You can open a bank account using the ITIN number, municipal ID, visa or valid passport with photo. In addition, you will need electricity, water or telephone bills with your name on the receipt.

·  Bank of America.  You can open an account with the ITIN number, but it is not mandatory, Valid passport, Postal address in the United States.

·  Chase Bank. You need an ITIN number, and a photo ID and proof of address in the United States.

· Citibank. You will need to present your passport or other identification method, verifiable address in the United States, and the minimum to open the account is $ 100.

· Wells Fargo. You will need to present your passport, verification of address in the country of origin or in the United States, credit card, debit or license from your country of origin and a minimum of $ 25 to open the account.

·  TD Bank. You will need to present your passport, proof of address and a minimum of $ 100 to open the account.

·  Capital One. You will necessarily need to present the ITIN number, proof of verification of address in the United States, valid passport, and there is no minimum to open the account.

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