What does a Canadian need to open Bank Account in USA?

Short Answer

There is no one straight answer to this. A few US banks offer banking facilities for Canadians and a few don’t. Among those who are open to Canadians, the documentation process and eligibility differs.

Detailed Answer

Importance of US Bank Account for Canadians

Canadians travel to the United States for various purposes such as employment, leisure, travel, business etc., It is vital for such frequent travelers to have a bank account in the US itself. This will avoid currency conversion hassles and any additional fees incurred while using an international debit card.

Moreover, it is impractical to carry lump sum dollars physically every time you travel too. Having a bank account in the destination country makes one’s life easier in the alien land.

Can a Canadian open a bank account in the US?

Yes, a Canadian or any other foreigner who is 18 years or above can open a bank account in the US. However, not all banks offer these services. You would be required to visit the branch personally and comply with the financial institution’s documentation process. By bank account we mean chequing or a savings bank account.

Documents required for Canadians to open a Bank Account in USA

After the twin towers 9/11 attack, the US tightened the terms and conditions of foreigners to open a bank account in the US. Reports suggested that the terrorists had used US bank accounts to accomplish their goal. Hence, it is mandatory for non-citizens to submit a number of documents to validate their identity.

Documents for Opening US Bank Account

Although the documentation process of every bank differs here are the most common ones:

  • A minimum of two government issued documents to validate your name, contact information and age. These can be a passport or a driver’s license.
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Minimum cash balance as required by your service provider.

What is ITIN?

It is the social security number for non-residents of the US that is issued by Social Security Administration (SSA) or by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To obtain an ITIN, you must fill out the application Form W-7 and email it to the id given in the form. Alternatively, you can visit the IRS to submit the form by yourself.

Alternative Methods for Canadians

You can opt to open a bank account with a financial institution that is based in Canada and offers both US & Canadian currencies. Example- CIBC, BMO Harris, Chase, Desjardins Florida, TD Bank etc.,

Availability of Banking Facilities in USA for Canadian citizens

There may not be a straight answer to this. Some US banks might offer banking facilities for Canadians while others won't. The documentation process and eligibility might also differ from bank to bank. Hence, it is important that you do your research and choose a financial institution that will suit you the best.

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