If you’re looking to get a US credit card as a European resident, you’ve come to the right place.
Our team has helped many European residents obtain even the most sought-after American credit cards. This has included the best travel rewards cards like Amex Platinum and the Chase Sapphire card, as well as secured credit cards from large USA banks.
Now, in case you’re not aware, American credit cards are the most sought-after credit cards in the world. They offer unique benefits, lucrative rewards, and attractive loyalty points you can’t access anywhere else.
But, as a European resident, applying for credit cards can often be challenging. Especially, if you don’t have a Social Security Number (SSN). But, unlike what most articles say, a European resident can apply for a US credit card with an ITIN only. Of course, other requirements will need to be met.
With this in mind, if you try to apply for a card the wrong way you could find yourself blocked from getting a visa for as much as two years!
To make sure that doesn’t happen to you, this article will guide you step-by-step through the process of how to successfully apply for credit cards in the USA as a European resident.
- The United States offers the most attractive credit cards in the world
- US Credit cards offer lucrative travel rewards, signup bonus rewards, and loyalty points
- European residents can face challenges when obtaining USA credit cards
- There are specific steps to take to successfully obtain credit cards in America
- Obtaining a credit card allows non-USA residents to build credit history in the USA
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Can European Residents Apply for US Credit Cards?
- Why Should European Residents Get a US Credit Card?
- What Are the Challenges of Applying for International Credit Cards?
- How Do European Residents Apply for a US Credit Card?
- Frequently Asked US Credit Card Questions
- Do You Want Help Opening a US Bank Account?
Can European Residents Apply for US Credit Cards?
Yes, a European resident can apply for a US credit card. But, you will need to have a USA tax ID number, USA bank account, USA address, and more. Read on for how European residents can apply for credit cards in America.
But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your FREE USA Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help non-residents open accounts with top banks in America.
Why Should European Residents Get a US Credit Card?
When it comes to credit cards, the United States offers the most attractive cards in the world. If you’re a European resident, the process to qualify and apply for credit cards can be a bit tricky, but it is possible.
You just need to know how to properly navigate the process of how to get a US-issued credit card as a European resident.
And it’s definitely worth the hassle. Because once you get a credit card you’ll be able to tap into lucrative benefits you can’t access anywhere else in the world.
Benefits of US Credit Cards
- Build a USA credit history
- Unlock generous sign-up bonud rewards
- Access lucrative travel rewards programs
- Access loyalty point rewards
- Unlock USA banking products & services (mortgages, loans, etc.)
Generally speaking, most credit cards that cater to non-USA residents will give you access to the majority of these rewards and benefits, if not all of them.
Of course, the rewards you unlock depends on the type of credit card you choose to apply for. So you first have to assess your options based on the specific credit card features you’re after.
If you are looking to unlock some of the most lucrative benefits and rewards in the world, then an American Express for non-US residents might be what you are looking for.
Now, if you’re a frequent traveler, you may want to look for a rewards card focused on travel rewards. These are credit cards with an attractive travel rewards program, where you can earn points toward free flights, hotels, and rental cars. These credit cards may also include other rewards such as lounge access in airports, free rental car insurance, priority boarding, free check-in bags, and more.
Other credit cards may be focused specifically on hotel rewards. Whereas others can give you cashback or discounts with your favorite retailers.
Once you’ve selected the credit card that you want to apply for, the next step is to check the requirements that you need to meet in order to qualify to start earning the rewards it offers.
We’ll go over those and other challenges when applying for a credit card in the United States as a European resident in the next section.
What Are the Challenges of Applying for International Credit Cards?
Before applying for international cards here, it’s important to understand the possible challenges you may face during the application process. If not, you could make easily avoidable blunders that mark your credit score. And that can block you from being accepted by other credit cards.
Hard checks on your credit score can last as long as 2 years on your record. So it is absolutely critical that you take great care with each credit card application.
Challenges European Residents Face When Applying for Foreign Credit Cards
If you are a European resident applying for a credit card, you could be denied for…
- Not having a credit history in the USA
- Being unable to provide an acceptable USA address
- Being unable to provide a USA phone number
- Not having a Social Security Number (SSN)
- Not having an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
- Applying for the wrong credit cards
- Applying for a credit card available only to USA permanent residents
- Being unable to meet specific requirements when applying
- Not having a USA bank account
- Being unable to support the credit cards fee
- Not having “good” credit
As you can see, there are many challenges European residents and citizens need to navigate when applying for and obtaining credit cards in America.
Now, the biggest challenge for European residents is not being able to provide an SSN. Which in fact, is one of the main requirements when applying for a credit card in America.
Luckily, some credit card providers will accept an ITIN instead, which is how European citizens can be eligible.
If you’d like to apply for an ITIN as a non-USA resident, we explain how to do so as a non-USA resident below.
Above all, it’s important to note that nearly all of these challenges can be avoided. But only if you go in knowing which credit card provider will accept your client profile. And which credit card provider’s requirements you’re able to meet.
With that in mind, it’s important to review the fee structures of the credit cards before applying. Some credit cards in the USA charge a high annual fee, while others charge a monthly fee.
If you want to make sure you get the right credit card, read on for the step-by-step process on how to successfully apply for American credit cards as a European resident.
How Do European Residents Apply for a US Credit Card?
There are three paths that a European resident can take to get a credit card in the USA:
First, you can make a qualifying deposit at a bank that issues credit cards to European residents.
Second, you can show up in person at a USA bank and obtain a “secure” credit card.
Third, you can establish a USA credit history and go through the normal application process.
Option 1: Get a Visa With a Qualifying Deposit
European residents and citizens willing to make a qualifying deposit (US $50,000), can receive credit cards upon opening of accounts in the USA. Of course, the deposit will then need to stay in the account as long as you wish to keep the credit card.
Additionally, it’s important to note that this will be a charge card. In other words, you will need to pay the balance of the credit card at the end of each month.
Also, not all banks open accounts for European residents. So you will need to know which banks (and in some cases bankers) are willing to accept you before you can apply for an account… let alone a credit card.
Lastly, the credit card options issued to European residents through this option are usually very limited. Most banks only have one or two credit cards that they can issue.
Alternatively, if you follow the process outlined below in option 3, you will be able to access credit cards that offer attractive perks.
Option 2: Get a Secured Visa as a European Resident
Certain banks in the USA will open accounts for European residents if they show up in person to complete the account opening.
These same banks are often willing to issue what is known as a “secure” credit card. These cards are “secured” by an initial deposit made by the account holder.
In other words, the account holder makes an initial deposit of US $1,000, and then the credit card limit is set to this amount.
This is a powerful tool for European residents and citizens looking to establish a credit history in the USA. But, if you are looking to obtain an international card that offers member rewards and travel rewards, you won’t find those cards here.
Option 3: Apply for a Card With an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
Now let’s take you step-by-step through the process of how to apply for a credit card if you’re a European resident, you don’t want to leave a deposit of US $50,000, and you want to get access to all of the rewards we mentioned above.
Step 1: Apply for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
First things first, when applying for a credit card as a European resident, you need to be able to provide a USA tax identification number. And, as a non-USA resident, you likely don’t have or perhaps aren’t eligible for a Social Security Number. So, your only other option is to apply for an ITIN through the IRS.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a quick process. Applying for an ITIN number can take up to six weeks to be approved.
Now, this step cannot be avoided. So, it’s important you take the time to properly fill out the ITIN application form and submit the required documents.
Step 2: Open an American Bank Account
After acquiring an ITIN you’ll be ready to apply for bank accounts in the USA. Opening bank account here as a non-resident is crucial to getting a credit card as it’s the only way to pay your monthly USA credit card bill.
But, just like the challenges you can face when applying for a credit card here as a European resident, opening USA bank accounts as a non-resident can also be challenging.
Fortunately, GlobalBanks can help – more specifically, GlobalBanks USA.
We cover everything you need to know about how to open a USA bank account as a foreign non-resident in our premium members-only report “US Banking for Non-Residents, Foreigners, & Int’l Businesses”.
This report also shares the many benefits you can unlock when opening an American bank account. But also how to navigate the account opening process and even how to open accounts 100% remotely.
You can access this report immediately when you join GlobalBanks USA (more on this below).
[Note: When you join GlobalBanks USA our team of experts will help you open a USA bank account as a European resident. In fact, we will even make direct introductions to bankers for account opening.]
Step 3: Apply for a Card for European Residents
The final step is to apply for a credit card. Of course, depending on the credit card you choose, the application process and requirements you’ll need to meet will vary.
That said, to successfully obtain a credit card as a European resident, you’ll need to meet the following eight requirements.
- Two forms of government-issued identification
- USA bank account
- Acceptable USA address
- USA phone number (varies by bank & credit card company)
- Completed USA credit card-specific application form
- Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number
- Proof of income & source of wealth
- An acceptable credit score (varies by banks)
Before applying, it’s crucial to understand which documents are specifically required by the credit card provider you’ve chosen to apply with. This way, you can determine whether or not you’re able to support the requirements.
If you’re struggling to choose the right credit card or not sure how to successfully be approved for a card as a European resident, don’t worry, we can help.
Our premium members-only report “US Credit Card Strategies for Foreigners & Non-Residents” will help you identify the best-suited cards for your client profile. Plus, we share the step-by-step process on how to successfully apply for an American credit card as a European resident and how to start building credit history in the USA.
You can access this report immediately when you join GlobalBanks USA (more on this below).
If you have any unanswered questions or want to learn more about banking in the USA, including how to obtain American credit cards, we can help…
Frequently Asked US Credit Card Questions
Below are two of the most common questions we receive from people exploring how to apply for a US credit card for a European resident. If you have further questions you would like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Can You Get an American Credit Card as a European?
Yes, you can get an American credit card as a European. Applicants need to meet specific requirements depending on the card card strategy they are following. In certain instances, applicants may need a qualifying US credit history, though this is not always required. The credit cards available to each applicant depend on the strategy they choose, their banking profile, available credit history, and other factors.
Can Non-US Citizens Get a US Credit Card?
Yes, non-US citizens can get a US credit card. All US credit card issuers will accept applicants from non-US citizens. However, a small number of credit card companies will issue credit cards to non-US residents. To be eligible for a US credit card as a non-US resident, you will need to provide proof of identification, proof of income, a US credit history (optional), and more.
Can I Have a US Credit Card if I Live Abroad?
Yes, you can have a US credit card if you live abroad. That said, many US credit card issuers do place restrictions on foreign and non-resident applicants. Specific credit card strategies do allow for non-resident applicants to successfully (and legally) obtain a US credit card while they live abroad.
Do You Want Help Opening a US Bank Account?
If so, you can get access to GlobalBanks USA (our dedicated US account opening service) in just a few clicks.
GlobalBanks USA is a 100% personal account opening solution. It provides direct access to our team of US banking experts.
When you join, you receive…
+ Expert suggestions on where to open US bank accounts.
+ Step-by-step support to navigate US account opening.
+ Direct introductions to helpful and responsive bankers.
+ Plus, detailed guides to maximizing the value you get from your new USA bank account.
And “yes!” GlobalBanks USA helps foreigners and non-resident individuals open accounts.
In fact, GlobalBanks USA even helps non-resident US LLCs and foreign & offshore entities.
To learn more about opening accounts with GlobalBanks USA, just click here now. Or, contact us directly with any questions!