If you would like to open a foreign bank account, you will definitely benefit from some professional assistance in the matter. Banks today, especially those located in Europe, apply very stringent due diligence procedures when it comes to servicing foreign customers.
Why open a foreign bank account?
The most obvious reason for setting up a foreign bank account is to facilitate transactions with a business partner who is domiciled in the foreign country. Besides, if you travel to a certain national state or a union of national states such as the EU, for example, on a regular basis, having a bank account there is also a very good idea. There are multiple other reasons to open a foreign bank account, however. Some of them include the following ones:
- Reducing economic risks that might appear in your home country due to some political instability;
- Putting your assets in a safe place thus protecting them;
- Making your wealth more confidential;
- Acquiring an opportunity to invest into promising business projects abroad;
- Increasing the rate of capital turnover;
- Acquiring high quality banking services;
- Making use of professional consultancy on banking issues;
- And many other reasons.
It used to be easy to open a personal or a corporate foreign bank account but not any longer. Bankers today are suspicious of foreign applicants for their services by default. They have to be because some very strict anti-money laundering and terrorism financing requirements are in place.
European banks in particular are cautions to take people from lesser-developed countries onboard. They will want to know exactly what business the company is engaged in if it is a corporate foreign bank account that you want to set up. If a foreign national comes to the bank to open a personal account, the bank officers will want to be 100% sure that this person is not trying to evade taxes and his or her money has been earned in legal ways.
Indeed, it is not easy at all to open a foreign bank account these days but with our assistance, you will be able to complete this task in all likelihood. We have been maintaining close working relationships with a number of banks scattered all around the world. In particular, we have good contacts with banks in Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, Panama, Singapore, and many other countries.
Apply for our assistance to maximize your chances of successfully setting up a foreign bank account!
The stages in the process of opening a foreign bank account
You will have to go through several states when setting up a foreign bank account. Every stage is important and every one of them requires caution, diligence, and attention to details. If you take the matter seriously and prepare very well for applying for banking services to a foreign financial institution, the chances of receiving ‘service denied’ as the answer to your application are going to be very small. The banks conduct the following two procedures when assessing prospective foreign clients:
- KYC procedures: The banks have to adhere to the ‘Know Your Client’ requirement. This means that it is now their responsibility to find out who the applicant is, where he or she comes from, and what he or she does to earn the money. Only when the bank has a complete understanding of the personality of the prospective client, will it open an account for him or her.
- Due Diligence procedures: The banks have to make sure that the prospective client is a law-abiding person; that the money that he or she is planning to put in the bank comes from legal sources; that taxes have been paid on the money that the client is bringing.
The bank officers will want to know the following:
- Who are the ultimate beneficiary owners of the company if it is a corporate foreign bank account that you are hoping to set up?
- Where does the money come from? Has it been obtained in a legal way?
- What is the true purpose of opening a foreign bank account?
- What sort of transactions is the applicant planning to make? What is the expected account turnover?
- What destinations and purposes will the payments have? Who are the payment senders and recipients?
The bank officers have to understand the prospective client’s business very well. They are especially suspicious of high-risk businesses such as:
- Financial mediation;
- FOREX trading;
- Cryptocurrency operations.
Please note that our experts will gladly consult you on opening a foreign bank account if yours is a high-risk business. We have readymade solutions as we cooperate with neobanks and licensed payment systems.
All banks require that you should fill out an application form when applying for their services. Some of them require a personal visit while others do not. Some will organize a videoconference with the prospective client. We will be happy to help you complete the application form in the proper way (we know how to answer the bank’s questions!) and prepare for the interview (we know what questions they are going to ask!).
Documents required for opening a foreign bank account
When opening a foreign bank account, you have to complete the application form and supply all the required supporting documents. This is a very important part of the account opening process because the bank will not even consider your application for services if you complete the form incorrectly (leave some spaces blank, for example) or fail to supply one of the required documents. The document packages will differ depending on whether you are opening a personal foreign bank account or a corporate one.
Please be prepared to supply certain papers even after you have been taken onboard and started to use the banking services. The bank officers may request confirmations of the legality of some transactions. Besides, if anything changes in your company operations or if you want to use the account for a new purpose, please do not fail to send an official notification to the bank. Banks become very unhappy when they see something that they did not expect to see. It makes them nervous and they may feel the desire to freeze your account until things clear up.
The due diligence procedures applied by the banks can be less stringent or more stringent:
- Less stringent due diligence: some banks in Europe, Georgia, Turkey, Belize, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and also European payment systems.
- More stringent due diligence: banks in the EU, UK, and USA.
Basic document package to be submitted when opening a corporate foreign bank account:
- Passport copy for the applicant/ company owner;
- Passport copy of the trusted agent and the Power of Attorney if the account is opened by a representative;
- Proof of company legal address (rent agreement, utility bills, etc.);
- Corporate documents set;
- Business plan, company business activities description;
- Operational documents (agreements, contracts, invoices, bank statements, etc.);
- Company ownership structure and information about all company beneficiaries;
- A letter of recommendation for the home country bank (or from another bank).
Additional documents that may be required:
- Documents confirming the legality of the company beneficiaries’ sources of income (a bank statement, a tax declaration, a salary certificate, etc.).
- If the company is owned by a legal entity rather than an individual person, the corporate documents for the owner-company are required.
- Financial statement and tax returns for the last 1-3 years.
- Other documents.
Please mind that the bank Compliance Department can be quite whimsical in requesting additional documents.
The procedure of setting up a foreign bank account
- Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and place a request for services.
- Cover the cost of the foreign bank account opening service.
- Collect the application documents and fill out the application form. We will gladly assist you with that. Send the documents with a courier. If applicable, we will also help you prepare for the interview.
Please bear in mind that in certain cases you have to make an initial deposit before the account is activated. This practice is applied by many banks in Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and Austria in particular.
The foreign bank account opening timeframe depends on how fast the Compliance Department works and on what types of business activities your company is engaged in if you are opening a corporate account in a foreign bank. Normally, between 7 and 60 days will pass before the account is opened.
You are welcome to apply for a consultation before placing the service request. We will provide all the details of the process of opening a foreign bank account. Please contact us by email, WhatsApp or live chat.
Is it legal to have a foreign bank account?
In most countries of the world, having a foreign bank account is perfectly legal. In many countries, however, you have to notify the local fiscal authorities about having a bank account abroad. This is especially true if we are talking about a corporate foreign bank account.
How long do I have to wait before the foreign bank account is opened?
It depends on the particular bank, on your country of origin, and on your company’s type of business. The average time required to set up a foreign bank account is about a month. If you opt for a payment system, however, the waiting time will be reduced to several days only.
Is it difficult to pass the due diligence tests when opening a foreign bank account?
With some banks in some countries (those that are not overly stringent) passing the due diligence tests is not so hard. At the same time, all reputable European banks take the matter very seriously and if you want to acquire banking services in that part of the world, you will be well advised to apply for professional assistance.