Opening a business account in the USA for an LLC as a non-resident

Tarah Ren
Freddie Larkins
Last updated
November 17, 2023

Have you recently established or are contemplating forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the United States as a non-resident?

Or maybe you want to extend your global footprint by forging a business presence in the US market. Opening a business account is one of the key steps in this journey.

But you might be wondering, "Can I open a business account in the US as a non-resident?" The short answer is yes.

In this comprehensive article, we'll guide you through opening a business account in the United States step by step. We'll explore both traditional pathways, like high-street US banks, as well as digital solutions, such as Wise. By the end of this guide, you'll be well-equipped with the knowledge and confidence to open a business account for your LLC as a non-resident.

See how Wise can help

Wise Business: a business account for non-resident LLCs

Venturing into the US market as a non-resident can be daunting, especially when faced with social security number (SSN) requirements from traditional banks. Thankfully, Wise Business offers an account that caters specifically to non-resident LLCs.

Here are some key highlights:

  • No SSN requirement: Unlike some traditional banks, you can open a Wise Business  account without a Social Security Number, making it an attractive choice for non-residents.

  • Verification requirements: While Wise accepts SSNs along with your business documents for the named account holder as verification methods, if you don't possess an SSN, a national ID can be used for verification. Please note all business documents should be stamped and signed by a government body.

  • Company and account holder information: Each Wise Business account requires a named account holder (a director, shareholder, or employee managing the business's finances) and key company information such as legal entity name, primary place of business, Employer Identification Number (EIN), details of shareholders and directors, and a brief description of your business operations. In some instances, additional documents might be requested.

And here are some of the key account features of Wise Business:

  • Set up local account details in USD, essentially providing you with a US account and enabling swift payments from overseas clients.

  • Save money when making international payments.

  • Business debit cards with no foreign currency transaction fees and the ability to set spending limits.

  • Seamless integration with popular accounting software like Xero, QuickBooks, and FreeAgent.

  • Earn a 4.13% APY and enjoy pass-through FDIC protection up to $250,000.

  • Competitive fee structure allowing you to hold over 50 currencies for free.

Wise Business is a flexible and efficient banking solution, easing your journey into the US market as a non-resident LLC. Please note that due to licensing constraints, Wise is unable to onboard businesses from Nevada and certain US territories.

Do I need an EIN to open a business account with Wise?

Yes, you'll need an EIN when signing up for a business account with Wise unless you are a single-member LLC (sole traders and individuals).

For the majority of business types, including Limited Liability Companies (LLCs), Corporations, Not-for-profit corporations, Limited Partnerships (LPs), Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), and General Partnerships, an EIN is a mandatory requirement.

If you're a single-member LLC or a Sole Proprietorship, you don't need an EIN to open a Wise Business account. Instead, you can simply enter '111111111' in the EIN field during the sign-up process.

Wise will ask the named account holder to provide their Social Security Number (SSN) alongside supporting business documents for verification purposes. If you don’t have an SSN or it isn't accepted, you can verify your identity using an alternative ID.

Remember, all business documents submitted must be stamped or signed by a government body for acceptance and verification. Wise may also request additional documents, like a certified copy of the Articles of Organization or the Certificate of Formation.

Get healthy interest rates on USD balances with Wise

Wise Business offers a healthy annual percentage yield (APY) of 4.13% on USD deposits. This feature, secured through FDIC protection of up to $250,000, is accessible to both new and existing US customers.

However, eligibility for this feature requires a verified Social Security Number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN) to report your taxes accurately. Unfortunately, this feature isn't currently available to New York and Alaska residents.

For non-US residents whose businesses are registered in the US, you're still eligible to add the interest feature to your Wise account. While your personal account won't qualify if your address isn't US-based, your business account is eligible, given that it has an EIN. This distinction highlights the importance of an EIN number, particularly for non-resident LLCs that might not readily have one.

How to get an EIN

As a non-US resident, you're eligible for an EIN if your business is or will soon be operational in the US. The application process is more involved for non-residents, especially those without an SSN. To apply for an EIN without an SSN, complete Form SS-4 and submit it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by mail or fax. Please note that online applications require an SSN.

Below are steps to guide you in obtaining an EIN as a non-US resident:

  • Eligibility: Confirm your eligibility for an EIN as a non-US resident. You should have an active trade or business in the US or plan to start one soon.

  • US mailing address: Although not technically necessary for an EIN, having a physical US mailing address makes opening a US bank account easier.

  • Complete IRS Form SS-4: Fill in this form with your business and personal information.

  • Submit Form SS-4 to the IRS: You can fax or mail the form to the IRS, ensuring accuracy and avoiding delays or rejection.

  • Wait for your EIN: Expect your EIN within 4 to 6 weeks after submitting the completed Form SS-4.

  • Notify the IRS of business changes: Use Form 8822-B to inform the IRS of changes to your business mailing address, location, or responsible party identity within 60 days.

Obtaining an EIN as a non-US resident might seem complicated, but following these steps can simplify the process and enable you to enjoy the benefits of your Wise Business account, including earning interest on your USD deposits.

What are the requirements for opening a business account for an LLC in the US with high-street banks?

Opening a business account for a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the United States can appear daunting, but understanding the requirements will smooth the process.

There are several things to consider, including whether you need a Social Security Number (SSN). While there isn't a unanimous agreement among banks, having an SSN can provide a broader range of banking options.

But more importantly, ensuring your LLC is approved and possesses an Employer Identification Number (EIN) is crucial.

Here are the main requirements for this process:

  • Incorporation: Start by incorporating a U.S. company, either an LLC or a Corporation, in any state of the United States. This will result in a Certificate of Formation (for an LLC) or Articles of Incorporation (for a Corporation).

  • U.S. Address: Depending on the specific bank's requirements, this could be a registered agent address, a virtual mailing address, or a physical address. Some institutions may require proof of this address, such as a utility bill or lease agreement.

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN): Obtained from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), an EIN is akin to a taxpayer identification number in your home country. It's possible to secure an EIN for your U.S. company without an SSN or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).

  • LLC Operating Agreement and Banking Resolution: Some banks may require a Limited Liability Company Operating Agreement and a Banking Resolution.

  • Identification: Proof of identification for significant shareholders or company officers is required. This can be a passport, driver's licence, or national I.D. card.

  • U.S. Phone Number: Certain banks may need you to have a local U.S. phone number and may verify whether it is a VOIP or a real phone number.

[Sources: LLCU, Startfleet, GlobalisationGuide and Wise.]

Do I need to travel to the US to open a business account?

Opening a business account in the United States usually requires visiting the bank in person to provide identification and other necessary documentation.

However, you can easily open a US business account online with digital providers like Wise and Mercury.

Whether you need to travel to the US to open a business account will depend on the bank, so it’s always best to contact your chosen provider directly.

However, it's also worth noting that all retail banks, including but not limited to Bank of America, Chase, and Citibank, require you or a company representative to visit the bank in person. So unless you're planning to travel to the United States in the near future, these accounts might not be a viable option.

Can I found an LLC in the US as a non-resident?

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to be a US citizen or hold a US Social Security Number (SSN) to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in the United States. Even as a non-resident foreigner, you can set up a US LLC online and gain access to a US LLC, a US bank account, and the capability to make US payments.

The best state to form your LLC is your home state, but as a non-US resident, this advice doesn't apply to you.

Therefore, you can choose any state to form your LLC, with two popular choices being Wyoming and Delaware.

Delaware offers the advantage of not requiring the owner's name on entity formation documentation, providing anonymity.

On the other hand, Wyoming allows you to list a nominee as the LLC owner and is a popular choice for non-resident entrepreneurs, particularly those running online businesses. Wyoming is also cost-effective with lower filing and annual fees and is known for its friendly business environment.

If you're considering costs, forming an LLC varies by state. For instance, Kentucky is the cheapest state, with a filing fee of just $40, while Delaware has a filing fee of $90. California has a substantial annual fee, known as a franchise tax, but it still houses a booming economy, offering some potentially great opportunities.

By understanding these details and doing your research, you can make a well-informed decision about where to establish your LLC.

Alternatives to the Wise Business Account

In addition to Wise Business, there are several other attractive options for handling your LLC's financial needs.


Mercury, a financial technology company, welcomes applications from non-US residents and is known for its flexibility. Mercury provides the convenience of opening a business account online without having a physical presence in the US. It even allows the use of your Registered Agent's address as your LLC's office address. With no monthly or hidden fees, no minimum balance requirements, and the ability to earn interest on your money, Mercury offers a competitive edge. It also provides free ACH transactions, and both domestic and international wire transfers have recently become free.


Another alternative is Levro, an invite-only international banking service that offers a multi-currency account for global businesses. Capable of handling transactions in over 34 currencies, Levro streamlines the process of making both international and US payments. It also offers FDIC-insured bank accounts with up to 4.84% APY. With no monthly fees and a transparent cost structure, Levro delivers a simplified banking experience for businesses with international dealings.


Payoneer also presents an appealing option for digital businesses. It lets you receive payments in multiple currencies via local bank transfers. It also supports payments to over 190 countries in 70 currencies, making it a viable solution for businesses operating in over 190 countries. Payoneer offers lower fees compared to international bank transfers, helping companies grow by enabling them to participate more fully in the digital economy.

Traditional Banking

If you prefer traditional banking, there are numerous national and local banks across the US. For those with existing accounts with an international bank operating in the US, transferring your account could be an option. However, when it comes to opening a new account, the “Big Four" - JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo - remain strong contenders due to their wide range of services and strong presence.