Mercury is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group and Evolve Bank & Trust®, Members FDIC.
How non-US residents can apply for a bank account for an LLC
Make sure your LLC is approved and has an EIN Number (see how to get an EIN without SSN) before applying for a U.S. LLC bank account.
Foreigners (non-US residents) can open a U.S. LLC bank account.
You don’t have to be an American citizen or a U.S. resident alien to apply for a business bank account in the U.S.
2022 update for non-US residents: Mercury
Non-US residents can apply for an LLC bank account online with Mercury.
Before Mercury, opening an LLC bank account was difficult. You usually had to travel to the US (to the state where you formed an LLC) and open a bank account in person.
Additionally, many banks require proof of address, like a lease, utility bill, or phone bill. They want to see that you have an office in the US. And most don’t allow you to use your Registered Agent address.
However, Mercury is more flexible and works with online entrepreneurs. You can open a bank account with them without traveling to the US. And they let you use the address of your Registered Agent for your LLC’s office address.
- no monthly fees
- no minimum balances
- no transaction fees
- no hidden fees
- earn interest on your money
- send and receive checks
Note: You cannot deposit cash into a Mercury bank account.
Sending and receiving money with Mercury:
- sending money via ACH = free
- receiving money via ACH = free
- sending domestic wire (in US) =
- receiving domestic wire (in US) = free
- sending international wire =
- receiving international wire = free
To open an account with Mercury, you will need:
Tips: To increase your chances of being approved, please do the following: Make sure your passport photo isn’t cropped too much (make sure all 4 corners are in the photo and show the entire passport). Make sure your passport photo is in JPG or PNG format. Make sure your documents are in PDF format. Make sure your documents are legible (can be read). Make sure all edges and corners of documents are visible. Include a website link if you have one. Include a detailed description of your business. In the description, include any links to yourself or your work, for example, a LinkedIn profile. The more details you provide Mercury, the better.
1. LLC approval documents
Depending on the state where you form your LLC, this will be either:
- Articles of Organization
- Certificate of Organization
- Certificate of Formation
You will need to send Mercury a stamped and approved copy of your LLC approval documents. You can upload these documents during the online registration process.
If you need help forming an LLC, make sure to follow our LLC filing instructions.
Mercury only accepts a passport for non-US residents.
They will also ask for your phone number and other contact information.
3. LLC address
You need to provide Mercury with your LLC’s address.
This can be:
- office location of your LLC
- address of your Registered Agent
4. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
If you need an EIN for your LLC, please see how to get an EIN without an SSN.
You will need to show proof of your LLC EIN Number (also called a Federal Tax ID Number).
Mercury accepts the following for proof of EIN Number:
a. Approved SS-4 with EIN written on it
If you applied for your EIN by fax, the IRS will fax you back your SS-4 and write your EIN Number on it.
b. EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575)
Regardless of the method you choose to obtain your EIN Number, the IRS will always mail you an EIN Confirmation Letter (CP 575).
The CP 575 Letter will be mailed to the address you listed on 4a and 4b of Form SS-4. If you listed your Registered Agent’s address, your Registered Agent will notify you after they receive it.
c. EIN Verification Letter (147C)
An EIN Verification Letter (147C) is another official letter from the IRS that can be used as proof.
You will need to order one from the IRS. It’s free.
Here are the instructions: How to get an EIN Verification Letter (147C) for LLC.
5. Complete the Mercury application and verify your email address
After you submit your application to Mercury, make sure to check your email and click the verification link.
You’ll also need to:
- enable 2-factor authentication for security
- add any team members (if applicable)
- and choose an address where you want your debit card mailed
Mercury approval time:
Mercury will review and approve your application in 1-2 weeks. You’ll receive an email notification from them after they review your application.
Traveling to the US and opening an LLC bank account in person
You can open a U.S. bank account for your LLC by traveling to the U.S.
You will need to open an LLC bank account in the same state where you formed your LLC.
The bank that is the most “foreigner-friendly” is Wells Fargo. They are used to opening accounts with non-US residents who don’t have an SSN or ITIN. And you can usually use your LLC’s Registered Agent address as your LLC’s office address.
Call the bank ahead of time
Since all banks have different policies, the most important thing to do is call ahead of time and ask to speak to the branch manager.
Tell them you have a U.S. LLC, that you are a non-US resident, and that you don’t have an SSN or ITIN.
Ask them for all the documentation they require to open an account and take detailed notes.
Ask the branch manager if you can email them your documents to review before you come in.
If everything is good, ask the branch manager if you can make an appointment to meet with them to open the account. This is much better than just showing up at the bank.
We recommend staying in the U.S. for at least 1 to 2 weeks just in case there are any delays or extra things you need to get in order to open your bank account.
Small local banks
You can also open an LLC bank account with any small or local bank.
You can google: “business bank account + (name of city that matches LLC address)“.
Again, just make sure to call the bank to check on their requirements.
Documents needed to open U.S. LLC bank account
- LLC approval (Articles of Organization, Certificate of Organization, or Certificate of Formation)
- EIN Confirmation Letter (CP575) or EIN Verification Letter (147C) from the IRS
- LLC Operating Agreement
- 2 forms of identification (foreign passport and foreign driver’s license)
There may be additional documents that some banks require. Make sure to call the bank ahead of time and ask.
Proof of address
With some banks, you may be able to use your LLC’s address as listed in your state documents and EIN Letter from the IRS.
However, other banks require additional documentation to show “proof of address”. Things like a lease, utility bill, or phone bill are sometimes required by certain banks.
Make sure you call and fully understand what’s needed before you visit the bank.
If you need to open a bank account in person and need proof of address, Northwest offers a Virtual Office service that includes a business address and lease.
U.S. phone number
Having a U.S. phone number will make the bank feel more comfortable doing business with you.
You can get a U.S. phone number and use it as both your cell phone number and your LLC’s business phone number.
You can get a U.S. SIM Card when you visit or you can get a digital phone number that forwards calls to your cell phone (a U.S. cell phone or a non-U.S. cell phone).
The service we recommend is Phone.com. They have good customer service and their plans are only $10-13 per month. You get a U.S. telephone number, call forwarding, and get voicemail messages sent to your email.
You can also use Google Voice or any other VOIP provider.
In 2018, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) rule about “Customer Due Diligence Requirements” went into effect.
This rule (also called Beneficial Ownership Rule) is required for all banks opening business bank accounts. They must identify the true owners of business before they can open a bank account.
The purpose of the Beneficial Ownership rule is to prevent illegal financial activity, like money laundering, fraud, and tax evasion.
The bank will provide you a Declaration of Beneficial Ownership form to complete before they open your account.
OFAC Restricted Countries
Because of U.S. sanctions, you won’t be able to open a bank account if you reside in:
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- North Korea
- South Sudan
- Ukraine/Russia (Crimea)
The U.S.-sanctioned countries list changes from time to time, so you will need to check the Sanctions Programs and Country Information issued by the U.S. Department of Treasury.
LLC Banking Resolution
A Banking Resolution is a document that describes which LLC Member(s) have the authority to open a bank account.
The bank will provide you with their own Resolution form, so you don’t have to prepare one ahead of time.
Tip: If you see a website charging extra money for a Banking Resolution, it’s not going to be very helpful, since the bank will just use their own form.
Monthly banking fees
Most banks have different “levels” of business bank accounts. They all have different names (depending on the bank), but they are usually as follows:
- basic account (works for most people)
- intermediate account
- advanced account (for large commercial businesses)
The intermediate and advanced accounts require you to keep more money at the bank (deposits) and they charge higher monthly fees.
Most of our readers just stick with a basic business checking account for their LLC.
Usually, banks will not charge a monthly fee if you keep a $1,000 – $2,500 balance in the bank at all times.
If a bank does have monthly fees, they are usually $10 – $15 per month.
Initial deposit amount
Ask the bank ahead of time about the initial deposit requirement. This is how much money you must put into the account when you open it.
For non-US residents, we recommend using cash (USD) when making the first deposit. However, if you already have a US checking account, then you can write a check to your LLC for the initial deposit.
Some banks want $500 or $1,000 for the initial deposit. However, other banks only require you to deposit $100 to open an account.
Minimum balance requirements
Some banks charge a monthly fee if your balance goes below a certain amount.
For example, for most LLC bank accounts, you must keep $500 to $2,500 in the account (at all times) to avoid monthly fees.
This minimum balance requirement varies among banks, so just call the bank ahead of time and ask.
Again, if there are monthly fees, most banks charge $10 – $15 per month.
Note: Chase and CitiBank have higher balance requirements; $2,500 or $5,000. These banks also have higher monthly fees. On the other hand, Wells Fargo and TD Bank have lower monthly fees, or no fees at all.
Business debit card for your LLC
Call the bank and ask when you will get a debit card for your LLC bank account.
Most banks will give you a debit card right after they open your account.
However, some banks will mail your debit card in 1 to 2 weeks.
If the bank will mail the debit card, ask them which address it will be sent to. Make sure you can receive mail there. Or ask the bank if they can mail your debit card to your address outside of the U.S.
Do I need an SSN to open an LLC bank account?
No, you don’t need a Social Security Number (SSN) to open a U.S. LLC bank account.
Do I need an ITIN to open an LLC bank account?
No, you don’t need an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to open a U.S. LLC bank account.
In fact, you can’t even apply for an ITIN unless you have a U.S. tax reporting requirement. If you do need an ITIN or have questions about U.S. taxes, we recommend talking to GW Carter. They specialize in working with non-US residents.
Wikipedia: Know your customer
LexisNexis: The USA Patriot Act
FINRA: Anti-Money Laundering (AML)
Wikipedia: Customer Identification Program
FinCEN: History of Anti-Money Laundering Laws
US Department of the Treasury: Where is OFAC’s Country List
Electronic Privacy Information Center: USA Patriot Act (HR 3162)
CFPB: Can I get a checking account without a social security number
Department of the Treasury: 31 CFR Part 103 (Billing Code: 4810-02)
US Code: 31 USC 5318, Compliance, exemptions, and summons authority
US Department of the Treasury: Sanctions Programs and Country Information
US Code: 31 USC 5318A, Special measures for jurisdictions, financial institutions
US Code: 31 U.S. Code § 5318. Compliance, exemptions, and summons authority
National Association of Securities Dealers: Special NASD Notice to Members 02-21
US Department of the Treasury: Office of Foreign Assets Control – Sanctions Programs and Information
GPO: CFR 2010 Title 31 Volume 1 Section 103-121 (Subpart I—Anti-Money Laundering Programs)
FinCEN FIN-2016-G003: FAQs Regarding Customer Due Diligence Requirements for Financial Institutions