May 27, 2024  
International Student Handbook 
    
International Student Handbook

Other International Student Resources


This page provides links to additional resources and information for international students. Florida Polytechnic University is neither affiliated nor has a partnership with any organizations listed. These resources are not for promotional purposes.

International Student Banking Options

The following lists some of the banks that offer accounts in the US for international students. There are other banking institutions; please ensure to conduct additional research:

What Will I Need to Open a US Bank Account?

Most banks will request similar information and documents to open a bank account, but the required items may differ between institutions. The following are some of the documents required to open a bank account in the US (this list may vary depending on the banking institution):

  • Visa

  • Valid passport (cannot be expired)

  • Secondary photo ID - student ID or a driver’s license

  • Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record - print here

  • Proof of residence and address (e.g., utility bill, housing lease, etc.)

  • Proof of university enrollment (i.e., student ID card, acceptance letter, copy of schedule), and

  • Money to deposit (keep in mind that each bank and account will carry its own minimum deposit)

Some banks may request a social security number (SSN); F/J students are not eligible to be issued the SSN unless they have employment. If you are not employed, ask the bank what “alternative” documents you can provide.

  • Some banks may require you to apply for an ITIN - please see more about this number and how to apply - here.


Alternative Online Banking Option

If you want to step away from traditional banks, there are digital global banks offering “borderless banking.” An online banking option designed specifically for foreign nationals in the United States (US) is:

This alternative banking institution offers a checking account with no social security number (SSN) or US credit history required. You are able to set up your bank account online or on your phone, before arriving in the US.

Things offered: 

  • SSN not required

  • No service fees

  • No account minimums

  • No ATM fees

  • Free international money transfers

  • FDIC insurance up to $250,000


What If I Cannot Open a US Bank Account?

If you cannot open a US bank account for whatever reason, you can apply for a “prepaid card: A prepaid card is not tied to a bank account. It allows you to preload money onto it. For example, if you load $1,000, then you’ll have a $1,000 limit to spend.

Some options where you can order a prepaid card and manage your account online:
Prepaid cards offer a lot of the same functions, such as:
  • Receiving direct deposits of paychecks

  • Paying bills online

  • Withdrawing money from ATMs

*Note that prepaid cards may charge fees for things like paying bills and reloading money.

Other Financial Resources

  • Alternative Money Wire Options:

Preventing Financial Fraud

Financial fraud and identity theft are prevalent in the US. This means someone that uses methods to assume your identity or access your personal information and accounts to take money from you. 

It is essential to keep your information safe. Banks will never email or call you and ask for personal information. The following are potential warning signs of financial fraud and the steps you can take if you are a scam victim.


International Student Grants and Scholarships

The following is a list of organizations that offer international student scholarships. Florida Polytechnic University does not provide or fund these external scholarship programs (with the exception of the LAC Scholarship). 


US Cell Phones and Plans

When you move to the US, you will be introduced to a new set of cell phone plan offerings. With so many options, picking the right plan can get confusing. Please view the following links for resources to assist you with some of the plans offered.

You can also check if your cell phone will work with specific carriers that offer sim cards to convert your phone for use in the US, and you can compare different plans offered in the US on WhistleOut.com

Please view some of the cell phone providers in the US that offer plans or SIM card services to international students:


Lakeland Florida Utility Companies

Some residences include utilities; most require separate payments to a provider for water, electricity, or gas. To identify utility providers, it is important to check with the housing rental company or landlord you are leasing. This means the following providers may not be the service companies that provide utility services where you live.