We recommend opening a bank account at a local bank after arrival in Northfield. During the International Student Orientation time is set aside to open an account. You can deposit some money in the form of travelers’ checks; additional funds can be wired from overseas soon afterward.

We recommend opening a bank account at a local bank after arrival in Northfield. Establishing a bank account before becoming a resident in the United States is rather complicated, and students will have time during the International Student Orientation to open an account. Most banks require a minimum deposit but additional funds can be wired from overseas later on. Banks will also ask for your passport, your F or J visa, and other required information before they can open your account.


Students are strongly urged to bring traveler’s checks and not to carry large amounts of cash. Students should, however, have $150 to $250 available to cover immediate expenses such as transportation and tips. This amount can easily be exchanged for U.S. currency at the airport of entry. ATMs (Automated telling machines, money dispensers) are another option for obtaining cash. Most ATM’s in the US will accept credit or bank cards with the “PLUS,” “Cirrus,” “NCE,” or “Yankee 24” Logo.

Regarding living expenses during the term, we advise students to have access to about $700 to cover such one-time expenses as textbooks for the term, linens, newspapers or magazines, toiletries, desk lamps, and other personal articles. Once you establish a bank account, you will be able to make purchases by check or Bank Debit Card, in addition to cash. Photo identification (such as a passport or U.S. driver’s license) is always required to cash a check. You may also apply for a non-driver Identification card at the local Department of Motor Vehicles.

Wiring funds to Carleton College

If you prefer to submit payment for tuition and fees directly from abroad, you may wire funds to the Carleton College bank account. You should contact the Business Office for further instructions on how pay from an international account.