Final month, Bank of America reportedly froze access to a Kansas couple after they failed to offer proof of U.S. citizenship. Josh Collins and spouse Jessica Salazar Collins disregarded a kind the financial institution mailed them in June asking whether or not Collins (who was born in Wichita) was a citizen, assuming it was a rip-off.

The couple’s entry was restored after Collins supplied a driver’s license, however the incident left many individuals questioning why the financial institution was asking for proof of citizenship within the first place, and others questioning if you should be a U.S. citizen to open a checking account.

Citizen, Buyer Info

Financial institution of America spokesperson Diane Wagner informed The Kansas Metropolis Star the request was a part of routine updates to clients’ data. “If we do not hear from a buyer in response to our outreach,” she mentioned, “as a final resort, we could prohibit the account till we will verify it’s in compliance with regulatory necessities.” In a press release final month, the financial institution asserted it’s “required by regulation to keep up full and correct information for all of our clients and should periodically request data, similar to nation of citizenship and proof of U.S. residency.”

Nonetheless, federal regulation does not prohibit banks from opening accounts for non-U.S. residents, and should solely request and make sure their identify, date of start, residential deal with, and Social Safety quantity. Some banks could request citizenship data as a part of efforts to curb worldwide cash laundering. However there is no such thing as a statute prohibiting banks from opening or giving entry to accounts with out proof of citizenship.

SSN, ITIN, ID

Many banks will ask for a sound photograph ID and Social Safety quantity when opening a checking or financial savings account. Nonetheless, vacationers, everlasting residents, and even undocumented immigrants may still be able to open a bank account if they’ll present a passport, particular person taxpayer identification quantity (ITIN), alien identification card quantity, or some other government-issued doc that proves your nationality or residence.

An ITIN is issued by the IRS to people who’re required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification quantity however who do not have, and are not eligible to acquire a Social Safety quantity. ITINs are issued no matter immigration standing, and you may fill out a form W-7 to request one.

You may additionally have to offer proof of deal with, for which a utility invoice, lease, present driver’s license, municipal ID ought to suffice.

Should you’ve been denied entry to your account primarily based in your citizenship, or are having hassle opening a checking account as a consequence of citizenship points, contact and skilled banking legal professional for assist.

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