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You do not have to be US citizen or resident to open a bank account but you must provide satisfactory identification. Among the types of acceptable forms of identification are a Tax Payer Identification Number, passport or passport number and country of issuance, alien identification number or any other form of government identification from the country of issuance evidencing nationality or residence and it should be with a photo. These are the national requirements. The Tax Payer Identification Number you can obtain from the IRS. If you go to the IRS.gov website and do a search for the Taxpayer identification number application you will get a link to the application form. This does take a little while to obtain. You will not be able to get a social security number unless you are authorized to work in the US. I suggest you look at a major national bank which is probably more familiar with dealing with foreign nationals rather than a local bank.
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So my wife can walk into, for example Bank of America, with her passport, and open the account?
She will need a TIN number to go with it. What I suggest is that you contact the Bank of America you plan to go to go over what they require. I expect you will need to get the Taxpayer Identification Number. But you should be able to open the account without a problem.
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