Open a European Bank Account for Non-Residents

European bank accounts for non-residents are becoming increasingly valuable. Whether you’re after a euro account, a European IBAN, a backup bank account, or you’re looking to facilitate investments via European crypto platforms, European banks can be incredibly useful. Fortunately…

Opening a European bank account for non-residents is possible in several European banking hubs. In fact, non-residents can open European bank accounts remotely with limited deposits at large brick-and-mortar banks. Such banks provide strong online banking, multi-currency accounts, reasonable fees, English language support, and SEPA transfers.

In this article, we’re going to help you find and open European bank accounts as a non-resident. This will include who should open accounts, the challenges you’ll need to overcome, and which specific European countries are best suited to certain client groups and account types.

We’ll also uncover some of the quirks for opening European bank accounts for non-resident businesses. Similar to individual accounts, we’ll break down different banking options and specific business-friendly jurisdictions.

Finally, we’ll share how you can get started opening European bank accounts as a non-resident right now — including advice on where to open, how to get direct banker introductions, and how to open 100% remotely.

But, before diving in, if this is your first time visiting GlobalBanks, don’t forget to download your free Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide. It’s designed to help non-residents open accounts in top banking hubs around the world.

Can Non-Residents Open a European Bank Account Remotely?

Yes, European bank accounts for non-residents are entirely possible to open. It’s not always easy. But, if you know which country, bank, and banker to contact you can even open accounts remotely.

In fact, remote account opening is one of the many benefits that non-residents can tap into when banking in Europe. But, by no means is it the only benefit.

Benefits of Opening a European Bank Account as a Non-Resident

Europe is one of the most sophisticated financial markets in the world. It’s banking sector is interconnected, fast, and affordable. Plus, if you believe that the European Central Bank still has the ability to bail out local banks, your money is protected by deposit guarantees up to EUR 100,000.

Here’s a look at some of the other benefits you can take advantage of when opening accounts in Europe as a non-resident:

Benefits of European Bank Accounts for Non-Residents:

  • Retail, private, and business banking jurisdictions are available
  • Multilingual and multicultural support
  • Fast and affordable SEPA transfers to member states
  • Accept members of the Unlucky Passport Club
  • Availability of supplementary financial services (fintech, EMI, PSPs, crypto, etc.)
  • Stable currency (compared to many jurisdictions)
  • Stable banking sector (compared to many jurisdictions)
  • Deposit insurance up to EUR 100,000

Of course, if you want to tap into these benefits you need to know how to successfully open accounts. That means knowing where the account opening hurdles are for your specific situation. And, it also means preparing your application correctly and avoiding costly mistakes.

While we won’t go into all the details in this article, we will discuss one of the most common mistakes that non-residents make when opening European bank accounts for non-residents. And, that is: knowing why you want to open bank accounts in Europe in the first place.

Who Can Open a European Bank Account for Non-Residents?

Who can Bank in Europe as Non Residents
Basically, anyone can open a European bank account as a non-resident. But, non-residents need to demonstrate a justifiable reason for wanting an account in the first place.

Sometimes, simply spending time in the country as a tourist is sufficient. Other banks may require you to be a resident or already own a property in the country. And, even in a relatively homogenous place like Europe, the requirements are different from country to country and bank to bank. In fact, sometimes a bank’s account opening rules can even vary from branch to branch.

Note: This is important because your reason for wanting to bank in a country can make or break your application. So, it’s important to have this sorted before applying for an account.

Reasons to Open European Bank Accounts for Non-Resident Individuals

  • Own or rent real estate in Europe
  • Investing in stocks through European brokerages
  • Investing in cryptocurrencies through European crypto exchanges
  • Wanting a stable currency & bank (e.g., Argentines, Brazilians, South Africans)
  • Spending time in Europe as a tourist or frequent business traveler

Reasons to Open European Bank Accounts for Non-Resident Businesses

  • Paying European suppliers
  • Receiving payment from European customers
  • Expanding operations into Europe
  • Looking for a stable currency & banks (e.g., Argentines, Brazilians, South Africans)
  • Need European payment processing

While you may think that demonstrating any of the above reasons should be straightforward, it’s not. In most cases, banks require supporting documentation that proves your need to bank in the country. Such documentation can include signed contracts, invoices, lease agreements, local utility bills, proof of address, having a locally registered company, tax ID numbers, and more.

However, even if you can demonstrate a suitable reason (and have the supporting ties) to bank in Europe, you still need to figure out which country, bank, branch, and even banker to choose for opening accounts. And, you’ll also need to overcome a handful of uniquely European account opening challenges.

Challenges When Opening a European Bank Account as a Non-Resident

Challenges of Opening European Bank Accounts for Non Residents
Europe is known for being a very bureaucratic place to do business. Well, banking is no different. Some countries are, of course, better (and worse) than others.

So, knowing which specific banks to target and where to apply is an important factor to successfully opening accounts. But, there are other challenges that non-residents face as well.

To help you prepare for some of these challenges, let’s take a look at some of the most common hurdles that non-residents need to be aware of and overcome.

Challenges Non-Residents Face When Opening Accounts in Europe:

  1. Requirements for local and regional ties
  2. Strict document requirements
  3. Local tax identification requirements
  4. Local phone number for verification and activation
  5. Providing the wrong proof of address
  6. In-person account opening
  7. Frequent bank account application denials
  8. Service providers overcharging or recommending the wrong banks

These are just a few of the challenges that non-residents face when opening accounts in Europe. But, if you don’t know what you’re doing, they can be very difficult to overcome.

For example, the wrong address or not having a local tax identification number (or the right visa) can result in immediate denial. Likewise, if you contact the wrong banker, you won’t even receive a response.

That’s why bank selection, how you present yourself, and how you prepare your application are so important. And, that’s exactly why we share detailed instructions on how to overcome European banking challenges and avoid mistakes in our premium reports.

Of course, each country (and bank) is different. So, you need to make sure that the country you choose to open in is best suited to you (or your business). With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best European banking hubs for different non-resident client types below.

Where in Europe Can Non-Residents Open Bank Accounts?

Where can non-residents open in Europe
These days, most people think of the 27 member states of the European Union when they hear “Europe”. But, when looking at Europe from a banking perspective, this is a mistake.

The fact is, all of Europe can offer interesting banking options to non-residents. And, in many cases, it can be easier to open European bank accounts outside of the EU member states.

In fact, sometimes it can even be easier to open euro bank accounts in non-EU countries. Though, in almost all cases, non-residents can choose between opening in EU or non-EU banking hubs.

Of course, there are a few standout European banking hubs that are worth discussing. These include some of the most popular options for expats, digital nomads, entrepreneurs, and investors.

And, in most cases, non-resident bank accounts can be opened 100% remotely with reasonably sized deposits, and with low (or no) fees. Here’s a look at some of these jurisdictions now:

European Bank Accounts for Non-Residents

Below, we’ll highlight a few specific countries that cater to specific non-resident client groups. But, depending on your client profile and specific banking objectives, there could be far better jurisdictions available to you elsewhere.

Such jurisdictions may include Austria, Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and many other European jurisdictions — all of which are included in the GlobalBanks Database.

The GlobalBanks Database shares the best non-resident banking options across Europe, highlight the most important considerations when opening non-resident accounts at each bank, including:

  • Desired personal and business clients that each bank caters to
  • Account opening requirements and process at each bank
  • Banks that accept non-resident, offshore, high-risk, and other client types
  • Availability of remote account opening and alternative opening options
  • Account deposit requirements and the ability to negotiate terms
  • And much more

Where to Open European Bank Accounts for Non-Residents Expats

Several European banking hubs, such as the Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey, offer excellent expat banking. Simply put, banks in these countries offer specific services designed to support the expat lifestyle. However, they still have onboarding requirements, which can be challenging to overcome for some.

We detail the account opening process in our premium report “Banking in the Isle of Man: Expat Banking Goes Mainstream”.

Where to Open European Private Bank Accounts for Non-Residents

Europe has a number of private banking jurisdictions to choose from. Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and others have long traditions of private banking for non-residents.

However, if you’re just getting started with private banking, Andorra could be worth considering. A tiny country sandwiched between France and Spain, it caters to non-residents but requires a fraction of the deposit often required by other private banking hubs.

If you’re interested in opening private bank accounts in Andorra, you can follow the step-by-step instructions in our premium Andorra banking report “Banking in Andorra: Accessible Private Banking in Europe”.

Of course, we cover all the European private banking hubs in our premium report “Private Banking Secrets: Make Money Like the Super Rich”.

Where to Open European Digital Bank Accounts for Non-Residents

In addition to traditional banking options, Europe also has a wide range of digital banks, fintech platforms, and EMIs to choose from. Such platforms often have specific nationality and residency requirements, as well as certain risk categories for businesses. For instance, certain platforms will only accept residents of certain countries. In other cases, platforms will cater to non-residents and even high-risk businesses.

But, unlike traditional banks, many fintech platforms that cater to non-resident individuals and businesses usually charge high onboarding, transaction, and maintenance fees. So, knowing which platforms will actually accept you is critical before applying.

We cover many top fintech and EMI platforms in our two premium reports “European EMIs for Non-EEA Individuals” and “European EMIs for Non-EEA Businesses”.

Honorable Mention: Republic of Georgia

Europe has a wide range of banking options for digital nomads and entrepreneurs that lead location-independent lives. In fact, several European banking hubs are among the most popular in the digital nomad community.

But, one of the most popular jurisdictions lies between Europe and Asia, the Republic of Georgia. Yes, there are risks to banking in Georgia. But, there are benefits that can come from banking in Georgia as well. Such benefits include lower deposit requirements, remote account opening, and higher risk tolerance than other banking hubs.

If you’re interested in banking in Georgia, we detail the step-by-step process to open accounts and benefit from banking here in our premium report “Banking in Georgia: Nomad Heaven or Eastern Europe’s Cash Haven?”

Ready to Open a European Bank Account as a Non-Resident?

If you’re ready to take action and start opening European accounts now, you can get started with the information shared in this article.

But, if you want immediate access to the best European banking options, step-by-step instructions on how to open European accounts, and access to the best international banking resource available anywhere, you can get started right now with GlobalBanks IQ.

GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts for you or your business today.

When you join GlobalBanks IQ, you immediately unlock the GlobalBanks Database of international banks — home to 250+ banks in 50+ countries.

And, you get access to our library of premium (members-only) reports, including proven account opening strategies, country-specific banking options, and lists of banks for specific client types.

Plus, you unlock our account opening checklists, dedicated account opening alerts, and much more.

To get started, click here to see if GlobalBanks IQ is the right choice for you to start accessing the benefits of international banking today.

You can also view all of the account opening solutions offered by GlobalBanks on our products page.

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