US Bank Account Advice

Question posted by Joanne Hagerty, on behalf of Innova Partnerships Ltd in EH6

My company are starting to do more business in the US and I was wondering whether it is possible for us to set up a bank account in territory for receipt of payments or do we need to be a registered company in the US to do so ??

All advice welcomed

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Roger Frampton, on behalf of ExportAction in Clearwater, Florida, USA.

Hi Joanne

You will find some information regarding USA bank accounts and banking in the A-to-Z of our web site at www.exportaction.com.

I am literally at Chicago airport waiting fro a flight at present or I would respond more fully.

Having an electronic bank account with a major USA bank is advantageous. It gives prospective customers confidence, should improve your cash-flow and provide opportunities to better manage your foreign exchange.

Although you do not currently have a company, you may be well advised to get one. See the "UK branch" information - again on the web site.

If you want to talk this through, I will be in the UK tomorrow (7th) and Monday 10th before returning to the USA. We do not, by the way, employ sales executives and you will not be bombarded with sales calls and emails.

Kind regards and best wishes for success in the USA.

Roger

rogerf@exportaction.com
www.exportaction.com

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Sue Marsden Gilpin, on behalf of UK Trade & Investment USA in United States.

Dear Joanne,

Some US banks will offer accounts to UK individuals/companies who have accounts with their affiliate financial institutions. For example, Citizens Bank http://www.citizensbank.com/ has a simplified account opening process if the customer has an existing banking relationship established with either RBS or NatWest in the UK. You would need complete the appropriate account opening paperwork through one of those two banks, and be verified as a customer at one of the UK branches. The completed documents would then be forwarded over to the US for account opening processing through Citizens Bank.

Depending on the type of company youset up as (partnership, corporation, limited liability company, sole proprietorship, etc.), different paperwork would be required.

Unfortunately UKTI cannot assist in the opening of accounts, so it would be best for you to speak with an institution like Citizens Bank, or perhaps HSBC or Barclays which has an international presence.

Best regards,
Brittany Banta (and Sue Marsden)
Trade Services, UKTI
ResearchUSA@fco.gov.uk

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Joanne

You do not need to incorporate a subsidiary/associated corporation in the US in order to open a US bank account. In any event, I think you should speak to your tax accountant before doing that as it could well have unintended tax consequences.

There might also be issues relating to going to the US for business purposes if your Directors became Directors/officers of a US corporation. US Citizenship and Immigration and the Border Control are pretty tight over what 'non-resident aliens' are doing in the US, in the way of business matters.

The real problem in opening a US bank account is the anti-money laundering paperwork. Many US Banks was using didn't initially seem to be able to cope with someone with a non-US address and without a US Social Security number.

My advice would be that one of your Directors speaks to your company's UK bank; find out whether that bank has a US affiliate and, if so, get the UK bank to make contact and get to know exactly what documentation is going to be required for you to set up the account. When that's been done, I would suggest that the proposed signatories on the US account should go personally to the US branch concerned and take their documents with them.

Let me know if you require any further help or assistance

Kind regards

James

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Anil Vaidya, on behalf of UKTI London in SE1.

Dear Joanne,

If you are want to open up a USD$ account for billing purposes, you may want to consider just opening up a dollar account with your UK bank. The majority of UK commercial banks will have this ability and you can in fact also hold different numerous different currency accounts (Yen, Euro etc), though of course there are charges associated with this approach ! This approach should help you avoid, the usual business of anti-money laundering requirements etc if you already hold an existing sterling commercial account.

Hope that helps.

Anil Vaidya
UKTI Life Science Specialist

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Simon Rogers, on behalf of ProFantasy Software Ltd in SW4.

To the best of my knowledge it is no longer possible to open a US bank account on US soil unless you are physically located in the States.

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