How to Establish a U.S. Business Bank Account

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If you’re not a U.S. resident, opening a U.S. bank account for your U.S. business entity can be a challenging task. We’ve covered the many advantages of having a U.S. entity in past articles, but once you’ve cleared that hurdle, the next big step in establishing trust with U.S. buyers is having a credible physical presence for your business inside the United States.

While there may be a few exceptions on certain high demand items, U.S. consumers will generally feel safer choosing an online seller that appears to be based inside the U.S. before they’ll buy overseas. This awareness and the huge rise in U.S. online sales has created a dramatic increase in the number of foreign marketers establishing a U.S. LLC or Corporation.

Here are the critical elements of a credible U.S. business presence:

  1. A U.S. LLC or corporation (compliance and tax advantages) Nevada is a preferred state.
  2. A physical U.S. office address (consumer trust and banking credibility)
  3. A U.S. bank account (payment processing and merchant fee advantages)

Whether you think of them as legs on a stool or spokes in a wheel, it’s immediately apparent that having all three securely in place will send a much stronger marketing message and give your U.S. income stream a lot more stability. It’s relatively easy to form a corporation and obtain the requisite “EIN” number without being physically present in the U.S. but opening a U.S. bank account from outside the country is nearly impossible. U.S. banks have a fiduciary responsibility to know the client AND to have met with them BEFORE opening a U.S. account.

Here’s what banks require from non-residents to open a U.S. account (some requirements will change slightly from bank to bank):

  1. Articles for the U.S. entity or the name of the sole proprietorship or general partnership
  2. EIN (Employer Identification Number) for the business (obtained through the IRS)
  3. Lease agreement for a physical office address (highly preferred over a P.O. box)
  4. Your business address in your home country
  5. Color copies of passport and driver’s licenses for all persons on the account
  6. Reference letter from a bank officer in your home country verifying the following:
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