A US credit card can provide financial leverage for international students, undocumented immigrants, internet entrepreneurs, and anyone trying to operate a US-based business from overseas. It is possible and sometimes easy to obtain a credit card without being a resident, a citizen that owns a social security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Can I get a US credit card without a Social Security Number - SSN?
Yes, many banks issue credit cards without requiring a social security number. Banks use multiple means to identify you and associate your identity with a credit score. These include using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which is issued by the IRS for tax purposes; a passport number; and other information such as date of birth, address, etc.
Can I get a US credit card without an ITIN?
Many banks allow non-residents to create bank accounts. Many of these same banks offer these existing customers credit cards based on their financial history with the bank. If the bank detects a fair amount of transactions every month over some time, this is sometimes used as validation. Some banks may even send you a preapproved offer for a credit card, given your transaction history. However, if your bank does not reach out to you, you can always walk into your local branch and speak to an associate.
Remember that the decision to offer bank accounts or credit cards to non-residents is a local branch decision based on their risk tolerance. If you get turned down at one branch, seek out another branch in another location. Bank branches in cities with a high immigrant population are usually more open to offering financial services to non-residents.
Which credit cards do not require a Social Security Number - SSN?
We did a lot of research and interviews and came up with a list of the best credit cards for foreigners that do not require an SSN. The requirements vary based on the policy of each issuing bank, but it is possible to be successful at all the places listed here.
Can a non-resident get a US credit card?
Whether you are living in the US or a foreigner living in your home country, it is possible to get a US credit card. If you live overseas, some banks will offer credit cards using an ITIN that can be obtained while living abroad.
If you are living in the US as an undocumented citizen or just as a tourist visiting the country, you have many more options since some banks require that you visit a branch to apply for a credit card.
Can a tourist open a credit card in the US?
Even if you are visiting the US for a short period, once you have the qualifications, you can obtain a credit card from any of the foreigner-friendly credit card issuers we listed. The approval process and mailing of the credit card can take two to three weeks, so if your trip is very short, you may not have your credit card before you head back to your home country.
Can I build my credit with an ITIN number?
An ITIN can certainly be used to build your credit. Your credit score is attached to your identity, and can exist independent of an SSN and even an ITIN. Banks that offer credit cards without any Tax ID use the customer's identity such as a passport to verify their identification and keep track of their credit score.
How can a non US resident qualify and obtain an American credit card for online purchases?
The credit card application process varies from bank to bank but there are few common requirements.
- Social Security Number (SSN) for citizens and documented residents.
- Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for non-residents.
Proof of address
- Bank Statement
Credit Score (If you have one)
- Driver's Licence or State ID for residents.
- Passport for foreigners.
Not all banks require the complete list of requirements listed above. Some do not require proof of address, just a US mailing address so that they can mail your card and bills. Check with the specific bank for their requirements. If you need a US address, you can purchase a virtual address, a physical address that you can use for banking purposes.
What is an ITIN and do I need it as a non resident?
A taxpayer identification number is a unique identifier issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is required for individuals who file tax returns. Many financial organisations will offer the alternative of presenting your ITIN if your do not have a Social Secuirty Number (SSN).This is usually done when applying for a new credit card or loan.
This allowance has been a life saver for foreigners living overseas and undocumented or illegal immigrants who live in the US and need access to financial services such as credit cards.
How Do I Get an ITIN?
There are multiple methods of application to get an ITIN.
- Mail your completed W-7 form, original proof of identity, and foreign status documents to the IRS. This can take up to 14 weeks.
- Schedule an appointment at one of their tax help offices. You won't need to send your proof of ID and foreign status documents after submitting your application for an ITIN. After processing, the IRS will automatically issue your ITIN through the mail.
- If you want to get an ITIN online, use the services of an IRS authorized Certifying Acceptance Agent (CAA). You won't need to mail your original proof of identity and foreign status documents. The certifying acceptance agent will be able to confirm your identity. The agent will provide a digital scan of your ITIN over email when it is processed.
How long does it take to receive an ITIN?
It takes about seven weeks to receive an ITIN if you apply using a Certifying Acceptance Agent. If you apply directly to the IRS via mail, it could take up to 14 weeks to receive your ITIN.
What documents should I bring to apply for an ITIN?
You will need:
1. A valid government-issued photo ID with your name and date of birth on it. Examples include driver’s licenses, state IDs, passports, military IDs, etc.
2. Proof of citizenship or immigration status - this may vary depending on where you live. For instance, if you are a citizen of another country, you may need to provide documentation that proves your citizenship or immigration status.