International Banking Services for Students

Discover banking solutions for international students studying in the U.S.

If you're studying abroad in the United States for an extended period of time, it might be beneficial to open a local bank account. Having a U.S. bank account not only provides a safe location to store funds, it also provides you with relatively easy access to money when you need it, including foreign currency wire transfers. Citizens Bank provides international banking services tailored to your unique needs, such as currency exchange, to make banking for international students simpler.

How to open a checking account if you're not a U.S. Citizen

If you are at least 18 years old and a resident in the U.S., you can open a checking account with most financial institutions. However, you will have to visit a local branch to open the account, and provide the following documentation:

  • If you have a Social Security Number or International Tax Identification Number, (this is necessary if you plan to work in the U.S. and have been approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)) you will need one of the following forms of identification:
    • United States Visa
    • United States driver's license
    • United States state identification card

  • If you do not have a Social Security Number, you will need a passport from your country of origin and a completed W-8 form.

Building a personal relationship with your banker is important as you have unique needs and they can be an advocate for you and a helpful source of information. When you first meet with a banker, let them know why you want access to a checking account; is it to save on currency exchange fees? Will you be working and need to deposit funds? The more they know, the more they can help you manage your banking during your stay in the United States.

Preparations you should make before leaving home to access your checking account abroad

As you prepare to study abroad, speak to your local bank to see if they have a U.S. affiliate and how easy it would be to open an account or link accounts. If you intend to rely on your home bank while you are in the U.S., you may want to see if they will change your Personal Identification Number (PIN) from six to four digits so you can use it at American ATMs.

Taking a couple credit cards with you may be a wise option in case of an emergency, but with currency exchange rates and interest rates they can be more expensive than opening an account in the U.S. However, your home bank may offer a multi-currency account or currency cards in dollars. There may be an annual fee on these cards but they could reduce the risk of paying more when exchange rates change. Before you leave the country, write down the contact information for your credit cards and the card numbers, so you can contact your bank or credit company if your cards are lost or stolen.You may even want to add your parents to your account back home so that they can control transfers to your account in the United States. Make sure they have a copy of your card information as well, just in case.

International banking services available for students at Citizens Bank

Citizens bank offers international banking services that you may want to take advantage of during your visit. From exchanging more than 70 foreign currencies at our branches to having convenient access to a U.S. checking account, our banking options for international students simplify banking during your stay. We also offer foreign currency international wire transfers, foreign currency drafts and international check processing. Speak to a Citizens Bank representative at 1-877-360-2472 for more information on how to open a checking account in the United States.


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