If you are an international student in the U.S., you should consider opening an U.S. bank account. Why? Because it will make your life in the United States a lot easier. Having a bank account in the U.S. while you are living here will significantly make your life easier in many ways, for example: it will allow you to shop online, pay bills by check, make online payments, and take money out from any ATM easily. In addition, if you start working in the U.S., having an American bank account will allow you to receive your paychecks via direct deposit.
In the U.S. there are two types of bank accounts: Checking and Savings.
Checking Account: It’s great for everyday use. You can use your checking account to withdraw cash from any ATM (if different than yours you will need to pay a small transaction fee), make online purchases, and pay bills on and offline. When you open a checking account you receive a card and a check book. Keep in mind that you might have to pay some maintenance and transaction fees, the amount varies by bank.
Savings Account: It’s great for saving money. You can use a savings account to keep money you do not intend to use on a daily/monthly basis. Many people have savings account to use in the long-term. Keep in mind that you will need to deposit some money (the minimum required by your bank of choice) in order to open a savings account. Although a checking account is more suitable for international students than a savings account, it is recommended that you have both. It is always a great idea to have a savings account for use in emergencies situations.
Now, here is how you can open your U.S. bank account:
Once you have decided which bank you want to open your account, you will need to go in person and bring the following documents:
1. Your current and valid passport
2. I-94 card
3. Proof of school enrollment (e.g. Acceptance Letter, I-20, DS-2019, or I-797 approval notice)
4. A form of identification (Student ID or state or foreign driver license)
5. Proof of Residency (Utility bill, letter with your address, or housing contract)
6. SSN or form W-8 BEN
Do you have any question? Let us know in the comments below.