Opening an offshore bank account in Switzerland for a non-resident has its perks. While Switzerland is no longer the hub of banking secrecy that it once was, the country is still one of the best banking jurisdictions in the world.
In fact, 30% of the world’s assets are managed and protected by Swiss banks alone.
So if you have a lot of funds at your disposal and you’re looking for the best service and wealth management options, Switzerland is still your place.
Understandably though, it’s not easy to access banking in Switzerland. But if you can meet the requirements and know specifically which Swiss bankers to contact, you’ll be able to tap into some of the best banking services in the world.
How Can I Open a Non-Resident Bank Account in Switzerland?
Opening a bank account in Switzerland is possible for non-residents, but not at all banks. To successfully open an account you will need to know which bank, branch, and even banker to contact before applying. Additionally, you will need to be able to meet strict requirements and make a sizable deposit. We detail this and more below.
So, how does one get into the Rolls Royce of banking jurisdictions?
It’s not easy, but it is entirely doable if you know what you’re doing.
The key is to know what your client profile is, how much you’re able to deposit, what documentation you can provide, and specifically where to apply.
We’ll cover all of that and more in the following sections:
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Opening Accounts in Switzerland
- How to Prepare For Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland
- Challenges of Opening Accounts in Switzerland
- What You Need to Open a Bank Account in Switzerland For a Non-Resident
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.
Benefits of Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland for a Non-Resident
What makes opening a bank account in Switzerland so special for non-residents?
For starters, if you can successfully open accounts here, you’ll be tapping into the world’s largest offshore financial center with superb financial security and stability.
While Canada, the UK, and the US all have unsustainable debt to GDP ratios above 100 percent, Switzerland’s debt to GDP ratio has stayed between 38 and 42 percent for the past 10 years.
Switzerland has low inflation rates, a reliable legal system, a well-established democracy, and very little political instability, making it one of the safest jurisdictions overall to house your money.
But that’s not all. Here are some of the many benefits non-residents can unlock when opening accounts in Switzerland.
Benefits of Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland for a Non-Resident:
- Financial security
- Economically & politically stable
- Access to stable & financially sound banks
- Availability of tax planning, wealth management, and legal aid services
- Wide range of international investment options
- Accepts clients from the Unlucky Passport Club, countries that are sanctioned or otherwise shunned by banks in other countries
- Accepts foreign entities
- Sophisticated & experienced bankers
- Remote opening is possible
- Access to USD, Euros, Franc
- And more…
Now, depending on your client profile and the bank you choose, you will be able to unlock most (if not all) of these benefits.
Read on in the next section to learn what client profiles Swiss banks cater to.
How to Prepare For Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland
Banking in Switzerland isn’t for everyone.
As the world’s most elite banking jurisdiction, it is focused on elite clients. This includes individuals, families, and entities that can make sizable deposits and maintain large account balances.
To successfully open a non-resident bank account in Switzerland and unlock the top-tier benefits that the jurisdiction has to offer, you’re looking at a minimum deposit of US $1,000,000.
Keep in mind, though, that not all Swiss banks are equal. So just because a bank is located in the country and has high requirements, that does not necessarily mean that it will be a good choice for you.
So, before you try to open a bank account in Switzerland as a non-resident, it’s important to do your research.
To make sure that you find the appropriate bank for your needs and that will accept your client profile, here are some key questions to ask yourself and any potential banks…
Questions to Ask Before Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland for a Non-Resident:
- Why do you want to open a bank account in Switzerland?
- What are your most important banking priorities?
- What specific banking services do you need to access?
- Can you meet all bank-specific requirements?
- What countries does the bank accept clients from?
- Is it important for you to be able to open a bank account remotely?
- What is the initial deposit requirement?
- What is the minimum required account balance to maintain the account?
- Does the bank accept clients with your specific client profile & banking needs?
- What fees are associated with opening & maintaining the account?
These questions are important to answer for a few reasons.
First, they can help you to determine which bank is the best fit for what you’re looking for and the requirements you’re able to meet.
Second, they can uncover any hidden fees or requirements that may not be publicly known.
Once you’ve done your research and found the right bank for you, the next step is to open an account.
Before doing that, however, it’s important to know some of the most common challenges that non-residents face when trying to open bank accounts in Switzerland. Read on for what those are.
Challenges of Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland for a Non-Resident
Banking in Switzerland is very different from banking anywhere else in the world.
Swiss banks have some of the strictest account opening requirements and due diligence procedures out there for non-residents.
It’s a place where non-resident applications are denied left, right and center.
Mostly this is because people aren’t able to meet the high deposit requirements.
But, that’s not the only reason.
Here’s a look at some of the other common challenges non-residents face during account opening.
Challenges of Opening a Bank Account in Switzerland for a Non-Resident:
- Swiss banks are selective in the clients they accept
- Strict account opening requirements
- Intense due diligence process to prove sources of income
- High initial deposit requirements
- Strict minimum account balances
- Higher account fees than other banking jurisdictions
- Not all banking services are available to non-residents
- In-person visits typically required for account opening
- Frequent account opening denials
- And more…
As you can see, there are many challenges non-residents need to navigate to open a bank account in Switzerland.
This is especially true since most Swiss banks are becoming increasingly selective about who can open accounts.
As Switzerland is one of the best banking jurisdictions in the world, it should come as no surprise that banks here have high standards.
But, what most people don’t expect is that even maintaining the account comes at a premium. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself charged outrageous fees for account maintenance, transactions, and even for the services you opt-in to.
Here’s a look at some of the fees you could be charged when opening a bank account in Switzerland as a non-resident:
- Annual maintenance fee
- Transaction fee
- Legal aid service fee
- Tax planning service fee
- Accounting service fee
- Wealth management service fee
- Fee for investing in products owned by the bank
- Kickbacks on investment products not owned by the bank
- And more…
It all comes down to the bank and the types of accounts you pick.
Needless to say, you’ve got to be very careful when doing your research to pick which bank to open an account with in Switzerland. Picking the wrong bank could mean thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees.
Luckily with the right guidance, non-residents can overcome these challenges to successfully open accounts, save money in fees and access the many benefits of having a prestigious Swiss bank account.
Once you know which bank you want to open an account with, it’s time to apply. In the next section, we’ll walk you through the typical process for opening a bank account in Switzerland as a non-resident.
What You Need to Open a Bank Account in Switzerland as a Non-Resident
In the sections above, we’ve covered a number of factors to consider in the process of opening a bank account in Switzerland. Here’s a recap of the essentials to make sure that you don’t miss any of the key parts of the process.
As with each jurisdiction, each Swiss bank has its own set of account opening requirements, deposit levels, and guidelines for non-residents to follow.
So, before you apply, it’s important to take the proper steps in choosing a bank that’s right for you…
Steps to Successfully Open a Bank Account in Switzerland for a Non-Resident:
- Determine if you’re eligible
- Determine what benefits are significant to your banking needs
- Which banks offer the benefits you’re after?
- Which banks accept your client profile?
- What documentation and requirements are needed?
- Complete and submit all documentation
- Wait for approval
- Open Account
The steps listed above may seem straightforward. However, it’s crucial to take these steps seriously as they can determine the outcome of whether or not you can open an account as a non-resident.
Now, in addition to these steps, you’ll need to provide specific documentation and meet bank-specific requirements. Of course, the requirements will vary depending on the bank you choose to open with.
But, generally speaking, here’s a look at what you need to open a bank account in Switzerland as a non-resident.
What You Need to Open a Bank Account in Switzerland as a Non-Resident:
- Choose a bank that accepts foreign non-residents
- Choose a bank that offers the benefits & services you’re after
- Completed bank-specific application form
- Two forms of government-issued identification
- Proof of source of wealth & income
- Proof of address in your country of residence
- Opening deposit amount
Now, depending on the bank you choose to open with, additional documents may be required. Not to mention, some banks may require documents to be certified by a lawyer.
So, before you apply, make sure you understand what documents need to be submitted. In other words, make sure you don’t miss anything that is required as you’ll decrease the chances of you opening a bank account here.
If you’re interested in opening a bank account in Switzerland as a non-resident, and you’d like to know exactly which bank to approach and what you’ll need to apply, we can help you get started.
Ready to Start Opening Bank Accounts in Switzerland?
Whether you’re ready to open a bank account in Switzerland for a non-resident today or you’re just starting to explore your options, we can help.
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