What do I need to open a US bank account?
Banking rules and regulations vary from state to state. However, expect to file a SS-4 form to obtain a US tax identification number. This number is often referred to as an EIN (an Employer Identification Number). You’ll need to file a W8/W9 form too, and some banks require additional documentation.
Opening a bank account in the US as a business – especially when you’re based overseas – isn’t particularly straightforward. However, it is possible.
First, you’ll need to file a SS-4 form. This will give your company a US tax identification number (something that’s often referred to as Employer Identification Number). This doesn’t automatically mean your business is liable to pay tax in the US, but it does mean that your company will be on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) system. You will then be asked to complete a W8/W9 form. As a foreign entity you may be asked to file a W-8BEN-E form, but again, bear in mind it’s just a reporting requirement rather than a tax obligation.
It’s worth remembering that some US banks will offer accounts to UK based companies if you have an account with their affiliate financial institution in the UK. So, contact your UK bank provider to ask if they can forward your application for processing at an American bank they’re partnered with. Some US banks may ask you to provide additional documentation. Others will require you (or another signatory on the US account) to attend the US branch in person with identification, so be sure to ask what’s involved.
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