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.

Similar questions about 'Establishing a presence'

Who can help me set up an American bank account? What happens if my US employee signs off the sale of goods or services? How do tax levels vary from state to state? What are the time differences between the UK and USA? What is the cheapest way to explore the US market? How easily can I withdraw from the US if I change my mind? Is the USA the largest importer of UK goods and services? Is it easy for a British business to expand into the USA? Is now a good time for a UK business to expand into America? How long does it take to start trading in the US? What are the tax implications of setting up a business in the USA? Do foreign corporations have to report profits if they are operating in America? Has Foothold America helped UK-based businesses to expand into the US before? Why does it take so long to set up a subsidiary in America? Why do I need a Federal Tax ID number? Where can I get support and advice if I am considering expanding to the US? Are my US employees allowed to sign off on sales of goods and services? How do I set up a company in the US? How do I expand my business to the USA? Why should I explore the US market? What is a subsidiary? Why do I need a subsidiary? What is a C corporation? Should I set up a C corporation or an LLC? How is an LLC taxed? How is a C corporation taxed? Why do I need an EIN? What is a Federal Tax ID number? What level do I pay tax at in the US? How do I open an American bank account? Why does my business need an American bank account? What is the easiest way to explore the US market? Is there a low risk way to explore the US market? Is my business ready to explore America? Can a British business explore the US market? What should I consider when choosing a location for my expanding business? Who can help me to set up a subsidiary in the USA? Will my US employees expose my business to US corporation tax on sales they generate? What can the US market offer my business? How do I form a subsidiary? Which states should I set up my subsidiary in? How much does it cost to set up a subsidiary? How long does it take to set up a subsidiary? What is an LLC? What is an EIN? What is the IRS?

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