How to choose a US stock brokerage, how to open a US stock account for international students in the United States

1. Determine the type of F1 visa US stock account opening

Same as the tax type, there are two types of U.S. stock account openings: one is for Americans (people with U.S. nationality), who can only open U.S. domestic accounts; the other is for foreigners ( People without U.S. citizenship), this type of account opening is to open an international account for U.S. stocks. As an F1 visa holder, it has its particularity: although he does not have US citizenship and is not a US citizen, he currently lives in the United States, and some F1 visas have SSNs. Because of this particularity, F1 visas can open two types of U.S. stock accounts, but no matter what account you open, you can apply for an account online and then mail the materials. For F1 visa, you can use SSN and passport together as identity proof to open a domestic account in the United States. At the same time, you can also provide the first and last pages of the passport and the visa page or ID card as the identity proof to open an international account. If you do not have an SSN, you can open an international account.

Then, since both types of accounts are available, we recommend opening an international account, because it can be exempted from paying 10% of tax, and because it is in the United States, it is more convenient to mail materials and inject funds than opening an international account in China.

Tip: The minimum deposit required for an international account will be significantly higher than a non-international account. For example, Scottrade’s minimum deposit requirement for an international account is $2,500, while a regular account is only $500. Another reason is that even if you pay tax, you can still get a tax refund within a certain amount.

2. Types of U.S. brokerages

Brokers can be further divided into traditional brokers (full service brokers) and online brokers (online discount service brokers).

a. Traditional brokerages

For example, Merrill Lynch, Salomon SmithBarney, Morgan Stanley and Dean Witter, etc., provide professional financial advisors or professional managers to provide customers with consulting, financial planning, advice and order management services, which are usually expensive.


b. Internet brokers

Usually, customers make their own investment decisions. The official website will also provide relevant market analysis and tools. Some online brokerages also provide professional financial advisor services (extra charge). Basically, online brokerage fees are much lower than traditional brokerages or brokers for placing orders.



(1) All U.S. securities firms are regulated by the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Before investing, you can go to FINRA ( to find out whether the securities firm you belong to is a registered member, and you can also find out whether its business History and operating scale to ensure their own interests.


(2) SIPC ( is a non-profit, member-funded company established in accordance with the SIPA (Securities Investor Protection Act, Securities Investor Protection Act) passed by the United States in 1970. American company. SIPC needs to report regularly to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which has the power to supervise SIPC, review its annual report, and approve its articles of association and amendments to its articles of association. The purpose of SIPC is to ensure that the interests of investors can still be effectively protected when securities firms face bankruptcy or bankruptcy.

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