How to Open a Bank Account Abroad

Estimated read time 4 min read

What are the steps to take?

The ideal steps to take to open a bank account abroad are quite varied and ambiguous depending on the case. They generally depend on the bank chosen as well as its location.

For banks located within the European Union

Opening a bank account in a bank in the SEPA zone is relatively uncomplicated, especially if you are a European national. In this case, just keep in mind that the documents required will probably be similar to those requested by banks in your home country.

However, each European bank has its own banking policy and it would always be good to take the time to educate yourself to be better informed. Also, it would be interesting to check if your current bank does not have a branch in the country where you wish to obtain the account. This could, in fact, greatly benefit you.

If you need to open an offshore bank account domiciled in a country outside the euro zone, the task becomes much more difficult at this time. The conditions imposed by the banks vary in this case according to each country, each banking system and many other factors.

In addition to the standard documents to be provided, you may, for example, be required to attach a letter of recommendation or even an employment contract. Which of course can be very restrictive. The ideal here would therefore be to approach the embassy of the country in which you wish to open the account for more information.

For online banks or Fintechs

Thanks to the magic of the internet, online banking providers now offer much easier ways to open a bank account overseas. Just go to the official website of one of these providers to learn about the conditions to be met in order to open your account abroad in just a few clicks.

What documents do I need?

The documents required to open a bank account abroad generally vary depending on several factors. As a priority, it essentially depends on the bank you would have chosen. In general, you should expect to be asked for the following documents:

An official and valid identity document

A letter of recommendation, an employment contract, a residence permit, etc.

Note that all this panoply of documents may be requested if you choose to open a bank account abroad in a traditional bank. Depending on the banking laws of some countries, you may not even have access to some types of bank accounts due to your tax status.

The good news, however, is that there are other rather interesting alternatives to traditional banks that allow you to calmly obtain your bank account abroad without worrying too much.

Discover the online providers available

Skip the paperwork with alternatives like Wise, Revolut, and OFX

As you will have understood, opening a bank account abroad with a traditional banking establishment is definitely not an easy task. Between the difficult to obtain documents and the very demanding conditions, this option can quickly become very embarrassing.

To avoid all these administrative constraints, it may therefore seem interesting to opt for more attractive and uncomplicated alternatives such as Wise , Revolut or OFX providers. With these, you will probably only need a few necessary documents (ID and proof of your current address) to verify your account and access local contact details in several countries.

Thus, regardless of your status, your activity or even your monthly income, you can easily and serenely open your bank account abroad with one of these online providers. That said, you will be able to obtain a multi-currency account that will allow you to receive , hold, convert and spend your funds in more than fifty currencies (including the currency of the country you are specifically targeting).

Do I have to declare my bank account abroad?

Beyond the simple fact of having a bank account abroad, it is important to think about declaring it. Indeed, whether you are French, Belgian, Canadian or whatever your country of origin, you should make sure to declare all your bank accounts opened in countries where you do not reside.

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