Do You Need a Foreign Bank Account?

As the world of business becomes less local and more global, businesses are beginning to look at new ways of handling money. There are online banks, like Aspiration Bank, and there are banks based in foreign countries.

Do you need to open a bank account in a foreign country to do business and if you do, how does that work?

Who Needs a Foreign Bank Account?

Do you own a company the buys and sells items from foreign countries? Do you travel outside the US a lot? Perhaps you make many foreign investments. These are all good reasons to open a bank account in a foreign country.

There are some rules and laws you need to pay attention to, but it is pretty simple to open a bank account outside the US.

What Documents Do You Need?

Rules differ from country to country regarding non-citizens opening a bank account, but the procedures are similar across the board. Be sure to check on the laws in a particular country where you wish to open an account. You will need the following documents:

  • ID – You will need to present photo identification and most institutions require two different forms. A driver’s license issued within the US and a passport are the most common forms and every country will accept them.
  • Social Security Card – Your social security number will be used to make sure you are who you say you are and also to run a credit check.
  • Proof of Birth Country – You will need your birth certificate and it must be a certified copy. This is available from the department of vital statistics in the state of your birth. Most agencies charge a small fee for this service.

The Application Process

Once you have gathered the necessary papers, you can begin the application process.

  • Complete the paperwork – Many banks have account applications online. Be very careful to answer all of the questions on the form. Read through the terms and conditions carefully before clicking the box. The laws could be very different in a foreign country than they are in the US.
  • Clean up your credit – Foreign banks will run a credit check and will often not allow you to open an account if you have a low score. Take steps to improve your credit, such as paying down debt, increasing credit limits and fixing mistakes, before opening a foreign account.
  • Make an initial deposit – You will need to make an initial deposit to open the account. You can usually do this through wire transfers or by going to the back in question to make the deposit. You may be permitted to move money electronically between a bank in the US and one in a foreign country. The bank will inform you of the rules for using the account.
  • Accessing your account – Some banks will require you to open an account and make the initial deposit in person, but more and more allow everything to be done online. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the bank’s rules.

In this global economy, opening a foreign bank account in a foreign country could be a good idea. If you decide to open a foreign account, be sure to read the rules.

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