US bank account for non-present, non-US citizen?
July 18, 2012 8:03 AM Subscribe
Is it possible for a non-US citizen who does not currently reside in the US to open a US bank account? If so, please help since I keep hitting dead ends...
posted by widdershins to Work & Money (7 answers total)
My brother (a Norwegian citizen) used to work as an actor in the US when he was younger (he had the appropriate work visa). He has relocated to Norway, but is still getting occasional residual checks. I live in the US (and am a US citizen, in case it's relevant) and have power of attorney for him. His residual checks currently come to my address. The amounts are small - usually somewhere between $5 and $30 - and intermittent - I'd say maybe 20-40 checks a year.
He used to have a US bank account from when he lived here, which I would deposit his checks into and he would withdraw from in Norway using his ATM card. However, the bank closed the account when it went overdrawn.
I'm trying to figure out the best way to handle this. I've called several US banks, including some which have branches in Norway (Citi) as well as the bank I use, and nobody can open an account for a non-US citizen who is not physically present. (He is unlikely to come to the US any time soon.) He cannot cash checks issued in the US to his Norwegian account, so I can't just mail them to him.
The only thing I can think of is to deposit the checks into my own bank account (is there a special way I should do this besides just depositing them and hoping the bank doesn't object to the different first name?), keep track of the total, and send him a wire transfer once or twice a year. I'm not thrilled about this, both because it could look like income for me (which it obviously isn't) and because wire transfer fees are quite high. Any other options?
This has been stumping me for months now, so would greatly appreciate any help!