Though travel has become a lot more difficult in recent years, luckily there are options to open a foreign bank account online.
Most banks previously required applicants to be physically present to open an international bank account. But during the pandemic, they were forced to begin accepting online applications.
And even though travel restrictions are now relaxed again, we’ve seen that most of these remote opening options are still available. At least for now.
We don’t know how much longer this will last, so if this is something that you are considering, it makes sense to take advantage of these opportunities as soon as possible.
Of course, not every bank and every jurisdiction will allow foreign non-residents to open an account online, but if you know where to look, there are some excellent options out there.
- It is 100% possible for foreign non-residents to open bank accounts remotely
- Not all banks offer online bank account opening
- There are important questions you should yourself before opening accounts remotely
- It’s important to confirm the specific requirements your client profile will need to meet before opening accounts remotely
Can You Open a Foreign Bank Account Online?
Yes, a non-resident can open a foreign bank account online. However, this is not an option with all banks. To do so, you need to know which country and bank to contact directly about account opening. Additionally, you will need to be able to meet bank-specific requirements and pass strict due diligence. Read on to find out where to apply and what you need to successfully open an account.
In this article, we’ll help you navigate the most common challenges that non-residents face when trying to open foreign bank accounts online. We’ll do so, by outlining the important questions you should ask before applying.
Additionally, we’ll share specific banking jurisdictions where non-residents can open foreign bank accounts online.
Of course, the jurisdiction available to you will depend highly on your client profile, banking needs, and whether you’re able to meet the bank-specific requirements. We’ll get into all of that below.
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.
Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Challenges of Opening a Foreign Bank Account Remotely
- Questions to Ask Before Opening a Bank Account Remotely
- What You Need to Open Bank Accounts Remotely
- Where to Open a Foreign Bank Account as a Non-Resident (Remotely)
- Ready to Explore Your Options?
Challenges of Opening a Foreign Bank Account Remotely
Opening foreign bank accounts online can be a very smooth process… if you know what you’re doing.
But if you go in blind, it can be extremely frustrating to figure out which banks actually allow remote opening for your client profile.
And while banks publish their official account opening requirements on their websites, there are always a number of unofficial requirements that you have to be on the inside to know about.
If you’re not prepared, your chances of opening an account remotely are slim.
But, if you’re aware of the challenges you’re likely to face before applying, you can avoid some (if not all) of them and get an account open in no time.
So, with this in mind, let’s look at the challenges you’ll need to navigate when you open a bank account remotely…
Challenges of Opening a Foreign Bank Account Remotely:
- Not all banks offer remote account opening
- Strict identification and onboarding process
- Unable to provide proof of a local mailing address
- Finding a bank that is suited to your client profile
- Unable to provide a local phone number
- Some banks only accept applicants of a certain residency
- Choosing the wrong bank can become costly
- And more…
Of course, each individual’s experience can vary. For instance, one non-resident may face only a couple of the challenges mentioned above. Whereas another non-resident may face all of them.
It all depends on your client profile, banking needs, and which bank you choose to open a bank account remotely with.
That last point is key because the bank you choose determines everything. Having the right bank for your client profile can enable you to bypass most if not all of these potential challenges.
To find the right bank to open a bank account remotely with, you’ve got to know what you’re looking for. Read on for some of the key questions to ask when vetting your banking options.
Questions to Ask Before Opening a Bank Account Remotely
To ensure you’re opening an account with the best bank for your specific needs, there are several key factors you need to be looking out for.
These factors include bank sensitivities, account opening quirks, what client profiles the bank caters to, and more.
Unfortunately, these factors often go unnoticed, overlooked, or ignored when opening a bank account remotely.
If you’re not aware of your bank’s sensitivities, you will have a tough time opening an account. And, even if you do manage to open the account, you may find yourself suddenly facing an account closure later down the line.
So, with this in mind, before you apply to open a bank account remotely as a foreign non-resident, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Which specific services do you need to access?
- What are your most important banking priorities?
- Does the bank offer the benefits you’re after?
- How much are you willing to pay in fees?
- Are you able to meet all of the bank-specific requirements?
- Is the bank located in a high-risk jurisdiction?
Of course, you also need to consider important questions for the bank you choose to open with. These include:
- What are the fees for opening an account?
- What other fees may apply? (i.e. maintenance, transfers, transactions)
- Are there any account restrictions?
- Do they accept clients with your specific profile & banking needs?
- Are they on the FATF black or grey list?
- Are they financially sound & well managed?
It’s important you consider these questions for a few reasons.
First, understanding your banking needs will help you identify which banks are suitable for your client profile.
Second, answering these questions will help you to determine whether or not the bank you’ve chosen is located in a safe banking jurisdiction.
Plus, you’ll also uncover hidden fees, security concerns, and get a feel for their customer service experience.
In addition to finding a bank that has what you’re looking for, it’s equally crucial to find a bank where you can meet all their specific account opening requirements.
So, let’s look at what you need to open a bank account online as a foreign individual.
What You Need to Open Bank Accounts Remotely
When non-residents open bank accounts online, they are typically required to submit more documentation than they would if they were applying for the account in person.
Now, this isn’t out of the ordinary.
It’s simply because the banks need to take extra steps to prove your identification and confirm you’re eligible to open the account.
Of course, the requirements you need to open an account online will vary depending on the bank, branch, and even banker you apply with.
But, generally speaking, to successfully open bank accounts remotely as a non-resident, you’ll need to submit the following documents…
Documents Needed to Open Accounts Remotely:
- Two forms of government identification
- Tax ID number
- Proof of income
- Proof of citizenship
- Recent bank statements
- Bank reference letter
- And more…
To recap, the documents, requirements, and challenges you will encounter vary depending on the bank you open with. That’s why it’s critical to find one that matches your client profile and needs.
So how can you find a suitable bank for you?
First, you have to start with the country to find a jurisdiction that accepts foreign non-residents and allows remote opening.
Here’s a look at where non-residents can open foreign bank accounts 100% online.
Where to Open a Foreign Bank Account as a Non-Resident (Remotely)
When it comes to choosing where to open accounts online, there are many options to choose from.
But again, the best option for one person might not be the best option for the next person.
So, it’s important to choose a bank that matches your banking needs and offers the benefits you’re after.
Of course, this can be difficult to navigate on your own.
Fortunately, we can help.
Below, we’ve put together a list of popular banking jurisdictions where non-residents can open a foreign bank account remotely.
Let’s look at each option one by one…
Open Accounts With an International Bank Remotely in the US
If you can qualify, one of the most attractive banking jurisdictions for many foreign non-residents is the US.
The US is particularly attractive because it has many options to open bank accounts 100% online. And best of all, most US banks don’t require proof of ties to the US or proof of residency to start an account.
There are also a number of benefits to having a US bank account for non-residents.
For instance, when you open a bank account in the US online, you’re opening the door to a wide range of products and services. Including the ability to build a US credit history to access credit cards, financing, mortgages, and more.
If you’re interested in learning how to open US bank accounts remotely and what other benefits you can unlock, you can access our premium members-only report “US Banking for Non-Residents, Foreigners, & Int’l Businesses” for more information.
Open an Online Account Abroad in Portugal
If the US is not an option for you or if you’re looking for a bank account with ties to the EU, Portugal is another great option to consider.
Portugal is a popular banking hub for many foreign non-residents. In fact, if you require an online EU bank account but are struggling to open one elsewhere, Portugal may be a good option for you.
That said unless you know which bank will accept you the account opening process can be difficult to navigate. Not to mention, time-consuming and costly.
Fortunately, we cover everything you need to know in our free article “Open a Non-Resident Bank Account in Portugal [Remote]”. Click here for more information and to find out how you can open a bank account today in Portugal remotely.
Open Accounts With an International Bank Remotely in Mauritius
Last but not least, Mauritius is another banking jurisdiction where foreign non-residents can open bank accounts online.
But, keep in mind that this doesn’t apply to all banks in the country. In addition, many banks in Mauritius require proof of ties to the country. Not to mention, an introduction in order to be eligible to open an account online.
That said, if you know the right account opening strategies and know exactly which bank, branch, and banker to contact, it is possible to open a foreign bank account online here without those things.
Because of these hurdles, Mauritius is not necessarily our first choice for bank account opening. But if you have ties to Africa or are not eligible for accounts in either the US or Portugal, it’s still a viable option.
We detail the entire remote account opening process in our premium members-only report “Banking in Mauritius: Remote Opening for Offshore & Non-Residents”. This report covers everything you need to know about banking in Mauritius. Including who should bank here, the risks of banking here, and the best Mauritius banking options for your client profile.
Now, if you’re looking to start opening today, you can obviously use the information in this article to guide your search on how and where to open bank accounts remotely as a non-resident.
Or, you can start opening right now with the help of GlobalBanks.
Ready to Explore Your Options?
Whether you’re ready to open an offshore bank account from the comfort of your home today or you’re just starting to explore your options, we can help.
GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts.
When you join GlobalBanks IQ, you immediately unlock the entire GlobalBanks Database of international banks. It’s home to 250+ banks in 50+ countries.
And, you get access to our library of premium (members-only) reports. These include 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.