QUOTE(castortroy @ Dec 12 2004, 06:33 AM)
Yes I will look into this and see what can be done to get myself an SSN Number and US Mailing address. Is that all that is required to set up the bank account?
Usually, banks also require a photo identification document (like U.S. driver license) and a phone number. While an US phone number is not too difficult to get (look for services like www.onebox.com or www.ureach.com), you can't get an U.S. driver license (or U.S. State ID) without being in U.S. (at least, I do not know how).
If memory serves me well, both Citibank and HSBC allow you to use your foreign international/travel passport instead of U.S. driver license.
A personal visit to the bank is not required to set up the account?
Not for HSBC, Citibank or internet and "internet-mostly" banks (see ibankdesign.com homepage for a list of such banks). A problem with U.S. internet banks is that they are small and do not have much experience of dealing with foreign customers. So they try to avoid them. You may have a better chance to open an account in a big US bank that conducts international operations (Citibank, HSBC, Chase, may be, Bank of America). From online banks, I would try to contact Everbank and USAA.
I have an account with Citibank in India from 7 years and will see if they can help me set up an account with one of their US Branches.
Please let us know if this helps. I think your account history with Indian Citibank could be helpful.
Do you think it is a long process to establish myself a Social Security Number?
You will have to apply for TIN, not SSN. SSNs are given to people who are allowed to work in US. Follow the IRS link I mentioned in my previous post. I bet you will find an average processing time either on IRS website or in the TIN application instructions.
Will they also provide me with some sort of an ID card?
I have never applied for TIN so I do not know. When you get SSN, you get a card. I think it is the same for TIN.
Anything else that I need before applying for the Bank Account?
I think you need to contact an US bank of your interest and ask what documents they will need from you (if they agree to consider your application at all). Required paperwork may depend on a bank. Also, be prepared that you can be asked to provide a bank with notarized copies of your documents.
Good luck and please keep us informed about this adventure.