Today, we’re going to address whether you should open a bank account in Gibraltar. The short answer is, maybe.
Depending on your client profile and banking needs, there might be a better-suited option elsewhere. For example, if you are an expat and are looking to open a third-country bank account, then you might want to consider opening a Jersey bank account instead.
That said, Gibraltar can be an offshore banking option for certain client profiles. Read on to find out more about who can bank here and why it might be an attractive option.
- Gibraltar is no longer classified as a tax haven
- Banks in Gibraltar specialize in private banking and wealth management
- Most banks in Gibraltar require proof of ties to the country
- Account opening here can be difficult if you don’t know which bank to approach
Feel free to use the table of contacts to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Open a Bank Account in Gibraltar
- What You Need to Know About Gibraltar
- Why Open a Bank Account in Gibraltar?
- Who Can Open a Bank Account in Gibraltar?
- Challenges & Difficulties Banking in Gibraltar
- Recap on Banking in Gibraltar as a Non-Resident
- Frequently Asked Gibraltar Banking Questions
- Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?
Open a Bank Account in Gibraltar
To open a bank account in Gibraltar, you need to be able to demonstrate a connection to the country. But, residency is not the only way to do this. In fact, with the right strategy, most people can demonstrate sufficient ties to open a bank account, even as a non-resident. To open an account, you will need to pass KYC, due diligence, and the bank’s onboarding–more on that below–but choosing the right bank is especially important here.
First, let’s talk about Gibraltar’s banking scene… It’s essentially off-the-radar. No one talks about it anymore. It’s unclear what the benefits are. And for these reasons, it has an air of mystique…
And who doesn’t like a bit of mystique when it comes to international banking?
Despite being a British Overseas Territory with low taxes and some interesting advantages– you don’t hear about opening bank accounts in Gibraltar… especially when compared to its Caribbean BOT cousins like Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman, or BVI.
And, there’s a good reason for that…
In this article, we’re going to reveal the lesser-known advantages of Gibraltar banking, why it might be interesting to open a bank account in Gibraltar, and who can actually benefit from it.
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What You Need to Know About Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a tiny British territory on the Southern tip of Europe, sandwiched between Spain and Morocco.
The wealthy have flocked here for decades for low taxes, banking, and asset protection. Even as a quick stopping-off point for quick uncomplicated marriages.
Let’s make no qualms, Gibraltar was a tax haven.
Thirty years ago, people came here on planes with suitcases of cash… it was that kind of place.
For years, Europeans planted residency flags in tax havens like Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Gibraltar. The proximity was superb and the tax advantages were first-class.
But then, in 2010, the EU Savings Tax Directive happened. People freaked out and alarm bells went off.
Suddenly, Europeans woke up and realized the tax game they’d been playing had changed forever.
Laws, regulations, information sharing, and banking were going to get way more intense… and it did
So, the only way to legally keep taxes low was to either a) get tax residency in a low-tax jurisdiction, b) get structured properly, or c) both.
This led to a dramatic rise in European clients setting up offshore structures. And, countries like Gibraltar and Panama benefited handsomely…
Banking & Structuring in Gibraltar Today
But over the past few years, Gibraltar underwent a massive rebranding, got rid of some major tax loopholes, and shed its tax haven status (now it’s just considered “low tax”)– to the cheers of the EU and regulators everywhere.
There’s still no sales tax, no capital gains tax — and no inheritance, wealth, or estate taxes. And corporate tax is only 10%.
Now, if you’re an internationally-minded person with enough money to have a tax problem frantically hunting for tax residency and attractive structuring options, Gibraltar might be your saving grace.
For years, Gibraltar non-resident companies have been quietly discussed in tax nomad circles– a popular structuring tool and a way to run a tax-free company for Europeans.
Today, Gibraltar is popular for the independently wealthy and anyone hungry for tax residency in a country with territorial taxation close to Europe.
Russians like it because it provides residency in a low-risk jurisdiction and can eventually lead to a UK passport.
And for Europeans who need a European base (or who can’t jump to an offshore tax haven immediately without heavy penalties due to the rules in their home country), Gibraltar can be an attractive option.
The bottom line, Gibraltar has a solid reputation and doesn’t suffer from a tax-haven stigma anymore.
Why Open a Bank Account in Gibraltar?
The number of countries that are still willing to open bank accounts for non-residents is plummeting. But in Gibraltar, there are still some opportunities for non-residents… if you have enough money and can meet the opening requirements.
Gibraltar banks specialize in private banking and wealth management services for high-net-worth individuals, non-residents, companies, and trusts.
Here are some reasons you might want to open a bank account in Gibraltar:
- Private banking & corporate banking
- Deposit guarantee scheme up to 100,000 EUR
- UK standards & well regulated
- Banks understand non-resident banking & wealth management
- Banking for gambling, international betting, etc.
- Friendly to high net-worth individuals
- Some banks hold client deposits outside of Gibraltar, providing extra diversification
- 10% corporate tax
Who Can Open a Bank Account in Gibraltar?
As you might expect, if you’re looking to open a bank account in Gibraltar, you’ll need to fit into a few key client groups.
Here are the types of clients that banks in Gibraltar tend to cater to:
- Non-residents interested in private banking (USD 500,000+)
- Non-residents who can show they have ties to Gibraltar
- Residents & non-residents with ties to Gibraltar
- Companies registered or incorporated in Gibraltar (be careful if this is you)
As you can see, Gibraltar is a jurisdiction that caters to individuals with ties to the country and the ability to make sizable deposits. This shouldn’t surprise you. Like its peers across Europe, Gibraltar is a financial hub and its banks specialize in wealth management.
If you have a Gibraltar-registered company or a few ties to Gibraltar, your chances of opening an account increase dramatically.
But, if you have a high-risk offshore business with no ties to Gibraltar, your chances of opening an account here are slim. Luckily, you could consider opening an account in Cyprus. Not only is Cyprus more accepting of high-risk businesses than those elsewhere in the EU, but you can even open a Cyprus bank account online for your high-risk offshore business… when done properly.
So if you are interested in banking here and can meet the requirements, consider establishing ties before applying to open a bank account in Gibraltar.
Challenges & Difficulties of Banking in Gibraltar
If you want to open a bank account in Gibraltar as a non-resident, like opening non-resident accounts anywhere, you should expect some challenges.
Here’s a snapshot of some common challenges that people face when opening in Gibraltar:
- You need to be able to demonstrate ties to Gibraltar
- Account openers need to make significant deposits
- Difficult to open if you’re from a “high-risk” country (Unlucky Passport Club)
- Unique tax considerations for Gibraltar companies
Let’s take a closer look at these below…
You need to be able to demonstrate ties to Gibraltar
Trying to open a bank account in Gibraltar for a foreign company with zero connection to Gibraltar is going to be a waste of your time and money. In other words, it’s a really bad idea.
Sure, if you can deposit between US $200,000 and $1,000,000, you might have a chance of opening an account here.
But banks here will still push to see ties to the country.
We share specific ties that Gibraltar banks accept, strategies for acquiring them, and the fastest ways to get them when you join GlobalBanks Insider.
High deposit requirements
If you want to open a bank account in Gibraltar, a $10,000 deposit isn’t going to cut it.
Banks in Gibraltar specialize in private banking and wealth management services. They don’t want to open bank accounts for people and companies that aren’t going to invest and won’t make money for the bank.
So if you want to open an account here, expect to deposit US $200,000+ upon opening. New clients may be able to squeak by with less.
And you should also expect to invest a portion of that deposit into the products offered by the bank.
If you are unable to support the high deposit requirements and aren’t looking for private banking services, Gibraltar might not be a suitable option. Instead, you might want to consider opening an Isle of Man offshore bank account. Not only do banks in the Isle of Man cater to non-residents, expats, and digital nomads, but they accept lower deposit requirements, have lower fees, and accounts can be opened 100% remotely.
Difficult to open if you’re from a “high-risk” country (Unlucky Passport Club)
Gibraltar might be home to only 30,000 people but more than 70,000 individuals have bank accounts here. And 6,500 corporates and trusts have decided to open bank accounts in Gibraltar as well.
Of all the individuals and corporations that bank in Gibraltar, 97% of them are residents of low and medium-low-risk countries.
That means only 3% of the people and companies with bank accounts in Gibraltar are from medium and high-risk countries. THREE percent.
Translation? You better be from a low-risk country or have serious money if you want to open an account.
Think of it this way…
There are only 70,000 individuals and 6,500 corporates in the entire Gibraltar banking system. If you’re a non-resident or foreign company with no ties to Gibraltar, you better be in the top 1% top of your class and show the bank that you’ll be a very profitable client.
Unique tax considerations for Gibraltar companies
Yes, Gibraltar banks open bank accounts for Gibraltar companies. But this isn’t a good reason to create a Gibraltar non-resident company. And if you already have a Gibraltar non-resident company, you should probably consider banking elsewhere.
If a Gibraltar non-resident company remits income into a Gibraltar bank account, they are liable for taxes. But if they open an international bank account, they won’t have a tax liability.
Therefore, Gibraltar non-resident companies that want to optimize taxes open corporate bank accounts outside of Gibraltar to avoid triggering tax liabilities locally.
So if you have (or you’re thinking about structuring) a Gibraltar non-resident company, you’ll want to confirm the banking options available to you outside of Gibraltar first.
Recap on Banking in Gibraltar as a Non-Resident
Banking in Gibraltar isn’t for everyone. In fact, it isn’t for a lot of people… but if you have the money and can demonstrate sufficient ties to the country, it could work for you.
For everyone else, there are banking options that are easier to access and more friendly to non-residents and foreign companies.
This is true regardless of whether you’re looking for private banking, wealth management, or simply wanting to open everyday personal or corporate accounts.
We share a number of these alternatives in GlobalBanks Insider, including how to open private bank accounts for significantly less than it costs in Gibraltar. And, we also recently published a report on opening bank accounts for offshore companies, along with many others.
Bottom-line, Gibraltar is an expensive banking hub that caters to a specific type of client. If you’re not one of those, you should look elsewhere.
But if you are one of the clients Gibraltar banks prefer to serve, we can help you get started.
Frequently Asked Gibraltar Banking Questions
Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people exploring how to open a bank account in Gibraltar. If you have further questions about online offshore banking, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.
Can I Open Bank Accounts in Gibraltar as a Non-Resident?
Yes, you can open bank accounts in Gibraltar as a non-resident. Non-residents looking to bank in Gibraltar will need to make a qualifying deposit, which normally involves opening private bank accounts. Non-residents will also need to demonstrate a clear rationale for opening accounts in Gibraltar, which typically involves clear ties to the jurisdiction. Of course, not all banks in Gibraltar accept non-resident applicants. So, bank selection will be an important factor to consider when choosing where to open a bank account.
What Banks Open Accounts for Foreigners?
Each bank will accept an application from a foreign applicant. However, when a foreigner does not have legal residence in a country or is unable to present sufficient ties to a country, most banks will reject their application. With this in mind, it’s important for foreigners to choose banks that match their specific residency status in the country where they want to bank. There are other factors as well that need to be considered. However, whether a bank accepts your citizenship and residency profile is an important starting point.
What Is the Easiest Country to Open a Bank Account in as a Foreigner?
The easiest country to open a bank account in as a foreigner will depend on the person applying for the account. For example, many people claim that the Republic of Georgia is an easy country to open an account in. It is. But, if you have a straightforward client profile it can be equally easy to open in the Isle of Man, Jersey, Panama, Switzerland, and other jurisdictions.
Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?
If so, you can access GlobalBanks IQ and start the process of applying for an offshore bank account online in a few clicks.
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