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But I thought foreign nationals open bank accounts all the time in Miami. He does not yet have a visa so traveling to Miami is out of the question. This is just so confusing and I have absolutely no idea where to get information.

I understand many who do not have a SSN get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) for use instead, but I don't know if this addresses your particular issue.

Best would be to directly contact the banks you have in mind and simply ask whether they can accomodate you. Online banks should usually respond to email quickly.
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