Today, we’re going to address whether you should open a bank account in Gibraltar. The short answer is, maybe.
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 banks 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.
But before diving in, don’t forget to download your FREE copy of the Non-Resident Starter Banking Guide. It helps non-residents navigate the world of international banking and start opening accounts faster and easier in countries like 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.
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 was 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…
But over the past few years, Gibraltar underwent a massive rebranding, got rid of some major tax loopholes, 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 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.
Bottom-line, Gibraltar has a solid reputation and doesn’t suffer from tax-haven stigma anymore.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let’s take a closer look at these below…
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.
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.
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 corporates 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-residents 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.
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 the clients Gibraltar banks prefer to serve, we can help you get started…
If you’re a high net worth individual or non-resident company looking for banking solutions, we can help you find and open a bank account in Gibraltar (or elsewhere).
But, if you want to know which specific banks will accept you, which account opening strategies to use, how to avoid high fees, and overcome tough paperwork requirements, then we’d be happy to help you on your journey.
If you’re ready to take action and start opening international accounts now, you can access GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.
GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts for you or your business today.
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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.
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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.