Opening a U.S. Bank Account from Zurich

I am currently based in Zurich and looking to open a bank account with a U.S. bank that offers the ability to use checks or a credit card. I have noticed that there are a few U.S. banks with local branches in Zurich, such as Citibank, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs.

Has anyone here had experience opening a U.S. bank account while based in Zurich?

Thank you!

AFAIK these are mostly for Corporate Banking, not private banking. I know that JPM is very reluctant to cash cheques at all.

One of the few banks that I know of that will open an account for American expats (I’m assuming you’re an American) is the State Department Federal Credit Union. To the best of my knowledge, very few others will.

Perhaps it’s worth looking into for you.

Thank you for sharing the information! I should have specified earlier that I'm not an American citizen. However, the link you provided is informative and could be useful to others in a similar situation!

A couple yaears ago my wife and me walked in a Bank of America branch while on vacation. We were able to open a checkings and savings account with no problem.

What we needed:


U.S. Address to receive documents and cards. (We have friends there).

We received temporary debit cards right away and were mailed personal debit cards within a few days.

We also received W-8BEN forms to fill out after a few weeks.

After about a year or so I asked for the first credit card and a few month later for a 2nd. Both were issued with no problem. Miles/Points gained are much higher than with any other card I own. We have Swiss and dutch credit cards as well. The currency risk is mine alone, but thats manageble for us. No foreign exchange fee on the cards and a fee of 89$ for the Flying Blue card and $95 for the premium rewards card is OK for us as both cards get us way more than that in return.

At first we were afraid of Uncle Sam or IRS wanting us to become tax- residents and the consequences it would bring to our accounts with the Swiss Banks we still want to keep. But so far nothing.

Extremely interesting: thanks for sharing. It looks that a requirement is, at the very least, being in the U.S. when opening the account -- which does make sense, but I was hoping it were not required...

To the best of my knowledge, if you want to open a US bank account, you will need a US Social Security Number. If you don't have that, odds are, you're out of luck.

I do not have a social security number, also no ITN. Opening an account was no problem at all. Getting credit cards was also no problem.

When I opened our account with Bank of America back in 2019, I also heard about Wells Fargo accepting non resident aliens, but the BoA branch was a whole lot closer to were we were at the time.

I do however not have a credit (FICO) score. In my banking app it says „score unavailable“, „rating unavailable“. When I asked the helpline, I was to,d, that a rating was only available to residents. No big deal so far.

I am 100% swiss, no resident of the U.S. But I am U.S. american by heart.