I am from the UK and will be traveling and working in the US for four months. Since I will be traveling about, I really don't want to have a lot of cash on me from getting paid.

I also want to save the cost of getting the money transferred to my UK account to then get another conversion charge of putting that money on a cash card. Currently I can't find any travel cards from the UK that allow bank transfers from American accounts or allow cash top ups.

The last question asked on this issue that I could find was from 2014, so would TD Bank still be a viable option? They seem to ask for a SSN now.

Most prepaid cards seem to want an SSN too that I have looked at.

  • 2
    You are not required to have a social security number to open a checking or savings account. ... If you don't have a U.S. government-issued SSN or ITIN, some banks and credit unions will accept a passport number and country of issuance, an alien identification card number, or other government-issued ID number.Mar 15, 2017 consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb/929/… May 15, 2017 at 19:37
  • Are saving/checking accounts then easy to close at the end of travel? They also seem to need a address in the US that I have lived at for some time.
    – Mentoos
    May 15, 2017 at 19:59
  • 2
    They need any address you are at currently. You don't need you to have been there any longer than the day on which you open the account. May 15, 2017 at 20:13
  • You might consider looking at using the services of a UK bank, e.g., Barclay's that allows you to access via it's US branches. Another might be Citibank or TD, but the idea is that you're not moving to the US, but working here for a period and you don't want the hassle of opening an account here that would only be temporary.
    – Giorgio
    May 15, 2017 at 20:25
  • If your payers are US-based, and you aren't an employee, then they're far more likely to be paying by check than by bank transfer.
    – phoog
    May 15, 2017 at 21:16

2 Answers 2


First, HSBC claims

The HSBC International Banking Center provides customers options to open personal deposit accounts outside the U.S. as well as inside the U.S. for non-U.S. residents.

Non-Premier customers requesting to open an international banking account outside the U.S. and requiring assistance in the completion of all necessary paperwork from the International Banking Center in the U.S. or an HSBC branch in the U.S. will be charged a one-time fee of $200 USD.

This might be the only option that can be done without visiting the USA. If you are visiting, your options are wide open.

The newest blog post attesting to being able to open a bank account as a tourist I am aware of is from 2017 February, How To Open A Bank Account in U.S., As A Non-resident Non - citizen, Wells Fargo Bank where a citizen of Georgia just randomly walks into a few bank branches in Manhattan:

it's not a problem to open a bank account at Citibank without permanent address in the U.S. but they would need some additional proof of address from my country, like some bill with my name on it and the address.

Wells Fargo bank, I decided to enter and just ask my options. And then the surprise come - sure, buddy we can open a bank account for you, no matter which country's citizen you are, and we don't need a proof of your home country's address, as long as you can provide us with a debt card info issued at your home country.

Luckily I had a Visa card issued by Bank of Georgia, and that's it - the process took less than 15 minutes, I had an active bank account with my name and my address in Georgia, the bank's clerk issued an temporary bank card, and told that after some 5-7 days I will receive my permanent card in Georgia by mail.

Wells Fargo didn't asked for ITIN when opening a bank account, but I'm aware that I should submit it at some stage.

Opening a bank account at Wells Fargo is free, there is no monthly fee, if on your account is $1,500 or more, otherwise it's some $10 per month

This page is a veritable treasure trove of relevant information.

The Bank on San Francisco program from 2016 September mentions that Bank of America will accept any foreign passport as an ID. I would call whatever branch you plan to visit but it's not unlikely you will succeed. I just tried the online application with a fictional citizenship-residency combo with the state set to Delaware and it invited me to visit them personally stating that the online applications require an SSN -- and not that all apps require an SSN: enter image description here


From personal experience, I am very sure this is doable. I'm on a F visa myself, and I've opened a few bank accounts (at Chase & BOA) before getting an SSN. However, I've accompanied people on B visas, and they have had no problem opening accounts at Chase, BOA, HSBC, and Citibank.

Conclusion: As long as you have a valid passport from a foreign country recognized by the US and go to a major bank in person, you can have your savings & checking accounts opened. You don't need to have a SSN or a long-term visa.

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