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OPENING A U.S. BANK ACCOUNT FROM YOUR HOME COUNTRY It is possible to open a U.S. account by mail through the international banking division to a major U.S. bank before your departure to the U.S. The practical reason for doing so is to ensure that you have U.S. checks in hand upon arrival to expedite any immediate settling-in procedures such as putting a deposit down on a home or apartment. Once you have a U.S. address, you can walk into any local branch of that bank and open a domestic account. Having completed most of the paperwork before departure, it should only take a day or two to have a local branch account.

Two sources for opening an international bank account:
Chase Bank World Wide
Consumer Banking

P.O. Box 2145
Jericho, New York 11753, USA
8:30am-5pm EST

Call or mail in your request to open an account at least 8 weeks prior to departure. The bank will send you an international banking package of forms to fill out and return.

Typical information you will be required to provide are a copy of your passport and a current bank reference letter in English on bank letterhead stating that your account has been in good standing for one year. There is no minimum to set up an account with Chase World Wide but there is a $3,000 minimum to avoid banking fees.
  Citibank World Wide
Personal Banking

666 Fifth Avenue -- 7th Floor
New York, New York 10103 USA
9am-10pm. Sat 8am-5pm EST

Citibank World Wide will set up an account only in person through any of its branches.
Basically the same information is required as is required for Chase Bank. The minimum to set up an account with Citibank to avoid banking fees is $6,000.

U.S. employees with a permanent address who want to open an account are required by banks to produce I.D. such as a U.S. drivers license, utility bill, mortgage or lease statement, and a U.S. bank reference. For those of you who don't yet have a permanent residence or American I.D., the task of opening an account is more complicated. The following documents are important to have to facilitate the process:

  • A reference letter written in English from your current bank stating your account is in good stand for at least one year.
  • Two valid I.D.s: Passport/H1 Visa, a major credit card, or alien registration card.
  • Statement from your U.S. company that includes your temporary housing address and confirmation of your employment with them, occupation and title, and income.
  • U.S. Company I.D. card.
  • Cash or money order deposit is not essential but can speed up the process considerably.
You will walk out with checks you can write the same day you open your account. All correspondence will be mailed to your temporary housing address and eventually to your permanent residence.

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