International Student Blog

How Does an International Student Join a Credit Union or a Bank? 

How Does an International Student Join a Credit Union or a Bank? 

We have previously discussed personal loans and what an international student might use them for. They can be used for a variety of reasons and are not limited in their scope as international student loans may be. We have recently wrote about personal loans for internationals and how international students can build credit. You can catch up on those by following this link and this link, respectively. Today, we will discuss how international students can join a credit union and/or a bank.

For information about international student loans, please follow this link.

How to Join a Credit Union

First, you will need to find a credit union that you would like to join. Perhaps that quickest and easiest way to do this is to do a quick search on the Internet to find credit unions near you, and then narrow it down further from there. Next, you will need to see the membership guidelines of the credit unions that you are interested in. It is important to know that what separates credit unions from bank is a defined field of membership. Luckily for international students, most large schools/universities in the United States have credit unions, so the membership criteria may be as simple as being a student at that school. Other credit unions may have a community-based field of membership, so that requirement can simply be met by living in a certain town, city, or state. If you find a credit union that you would like to join as an international student, please make sure to note what the field of membership is and that you fulfill that field.

Next, you will need to fill out an application and make a small deposit. Each credit union has a different application, so what you will need to bring will vary by union. To be prepared, make sure to bring your passport and any other documentation showing your visa status as an international student. After the application has been filled out, you will need to make a small deposit (in the range of $5-$25) which represents a purchase of a share in that union. Also, please note that credit unions may offer a variety of different account types, so even as an international student, there may be an account for you.

Once the above has been completed, congratulations, you are a member of a credit union! As stated above, please note that each credit union is different and may have different requirements. Please make sure of the requirements before you apply.

How to Join a Bank

Opening a bank account as an international student may be tricky due to the lack of credit history and lack of a social security number. However, that does not mean that an international student cannot get a bank account. If you do not have a social security number, many banks will allow customers to open their bank account with an ITIN. Not all international students may be eligible for an ITIN since they are mainly for working non-citizens, but if it applies to you, then it may help. However, even if you do not have an ITIN, some banks will still let you open up an account without one! Some banks will allow you to open up a checking account with a college ID and proof that you attend that college, which works out perfectly for most international students.  Each bank has different requirements, and each bank will accept different items in approving one for a bank account. Before you try to open an account with a bank, please contact them to see what information they will need from you.

While it may be harder for a non-U.S. citizen or H1B visa holder than a U.S. citizen to join a bank or credit union and eventually get a personal loan from a lender, there are options out there for you. If you’d like to learn more and/or search for potential personal loan options visit our main site, at Nomad Credit or email us at and we can personally help you start your search.




John Romanucci

Add comment



Follow Me