Are you planning on setting up a bank account in a foreign county and don’t know how, In this post, we will explain how to open a bank account overseas.
Setting up a bank account abroad requires significant paperwork and answering some personal questions.
First, consider your existing account where you live now. You probably already have internet banking set up to check account balances and pay bills online. If not, that’s the first step. Go to your bank’s website and follow the instructions. If you find that your bank doesn’t offer all the services you need online, switch banks. You don’t want to relocate to another country without the ability to do your banking transactions online.
Here are the functions your bank should provide:
- Online account access so that you can check account balances anytime from anywhere.
- The ability to move money from one account to another electronically.
- The ability to send a wire transfer without appearing at a bank branch.
- Online bill paying capability. Look for the ability to write and issue checks electronically that the bank then puts in the mail for you.
Next, you need a new account in the country where you’re planning to relocate. Like everything else in your new life overseas, opening a bank account is not going to be accomplished the way it is in the United States.
In Nigeria, to open an account at your neighborhood bank, you walk in, sit down with an account representative, answer a few questions, fill out some forms and, in no time, you’ve got a bank account.
That’s not how it works in the rest of the world. Banks worldwide have to comply with more onerous “know your client” standards. In addition, many countries view opening a bank account not as a right, but as a privilege.
Every country’s requirements are different, and every bank processes the requirements in its own way. But the bottom line is that you’re going to have to jump through some hoops. Depending on the jurisdiction, the process can take weeks or longer. Don’t let this deter or frustrate you. It’s just paperwork.
How to Open a Bank Account Overseas
Here’s what you will need to open a bank account in a foreign country:
- Two banking references. If you have only one bank account currently, you might be able to substitute a letter from a credit card company for the second bank reference.
- At least one professional reference. Your professional reference could be from an attorney or accountant in the country. The attorney helping with your residency visa or the purchase of your home should be happy to help.
- Two forms of photo identification. This is typically your passport and a second ID, such as a driver’s license.
- Proof of address. Most banks prefer a utility bill in your name.
After you’ve compiled these documents, set a time to meet with a bank representative. You are likely to need an appointment. An introduction or personal referral from someone already doing business with the bank is ideal. During your meeting, you will be asked some questions intended to help the bank prepare for the account activity you’re planning:
- Why are you opening this account?
- How much money will you be depositing initially?
- Where will that money be coming from?
- How much money do you expect to receive into the account on an ongoing basis?
- What will be the source of those funds?
- How much will you be withdrawing from the account each month?
This is all part of creating your file. Don’t let this dampen your enthusiasm about relocating overseas.
Now you know how to open a bank account overseas, go and make that paperwork and enjoy the good life.