How to Open a U.S. Bank Account

Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
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Just back from a two-week swing through Belfast, Antrim (at a wonderful InvestNI program) Londonderry/Derry, Galway, and Dublin, meeting with companies looking to export to the U.S. One question that came up time and again: how can an Irish or NI company open a U.S. bank account?

Opening U.S. bank accounts has become harder because of the ‘know-your-customer’ requirements on U.S. banks by virtue of U.S. anti-money laundering regulations. In general (and keep in mind that some banks may have other specific requirements), in order to open a U.S. bank account, a bank will want to see (i) a certified copy of your U.S. affiliate’s certificate of incorporation/formation; (ii) your entity’s taxpayer ID number from the IRS; and (iii) a signed copy of your U.S. affiliate’s initial consent in lieu of a board meeting, which consent should include banking authorization language (see the sample consent here). The pain-in-the-neck part is this: you’ll need someone to actually go to the U.S. bank (with his/her passport and another form of ID) to open the account. The banks want to be sure that the account holders are who they say they are. Often, Irish/NI parent companies will open the account when one of their executives travels to the U.S. on other business.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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