What Does Country of Residence Mean? [Non-Res Banking]

If youโ€™re trying to determine โ€œwhat does country of residence mean?โ€ get the quick answer below, followed by important nuances later in the article.

Importantly, you will need to confirm your country of residence anytime youโ€™re looking to establish a new banking relationship.

In fact, country of residence needs to be confirmed whether you are looking to bank offshore, access an international debit card, or simply open a backup account.

What Does Country of Residence Mean?

Country of residence refers to a country where you have permission to reside. This can include both temporary and permanent residence. However, in the context of banking, country of residence typically refers to country of tax (or fiscal) residence, which means the country where you are obligated to file and pay taxes.

As mentioned, we will explain important nuances related to country of residence throughout this article, including how certain countries are perceived.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. Residency vs Nationality
  2. How Difference Residencies Are Perceived
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Ready to Explore Your Options?

Residency vs Nationality

To start, letโ€™s make a clear distinction between residency and nationality.


Nationality is your country or countries of citizenship. This is often (though not always) the country where you were born. When it comes to banking, financial institutions will ask whether you have second, third, or more nationalities as well.


On the other hand, residency relates to countries where you have a right to reside. You do not need to be a citizen of a country to have residency. Though you do need to go through a formal approval process in order to obtain residency in most situations. In banking, residency is most often determined by your country of tax residency, which is the country where you are obligated to file and pay taxes.

How Difference Residencies Are Perceived

Many individuals decide to obtain residency in countries that offer more favorable conditions than their home countries. These favorable conditions can include lower taxes, warmer climates, easier to navigate business environments, safer communities, better schools, and more.

That said, not all countries are perceived favorably when it comes to banking. Not surprisingly, those countries that cater to individuals seeking favorable tax conditions are often singled out as high-risk.

For example, individuals obtaining residency in low-tax environments like Malta, Cyprus, UAE, Panama, Cayman Islands, and elsewhere, may find that banks are less accepting of their applications for new bank account opening.

Of course, these individuals still have a wide range of banking options available to them. They just need to know where to look and how to overcome challenges related to their country of residence.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are two of the most common questions that we receive from people looking to understand what country of residence means. If you have further questions you would like answered, donโ€™t hesitate to get in touch with us directly.

What Does It Mean By Country of Residence?

Country of residence refers to the country where you have the legal right to reside. While this often refers to your home country, it can also refer to a country where you are not a citizen. However, in order to obtain residency in another country, you will need to complete a formal application process with the local government in order to seek approval.

What Do I Put for Country of Residence?

When completing account opening documentation, your bank will ask you to put your country of residence. This typically refers to your country of tax residence, which is the country where you are obligated to file and pay taxes.

Ready to Explore Your Options?

If you would like assistance navigating your banking options at home or abroad, we can help.

You can access GlobalBanks IQ, our international banking intelligence platform, in just a few clicks. Unlock our bank database, individual bank profiles, account opening strategies and reports, banker scripts, and more.

But, if you want a 100% personalized account opening service that taps into our teamโ€™s expertise and provides direct banker introductions, you can get started with GlobalBanks Insider.

Of course, if you have any questions, please contact us directly.

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GlobalBanks Team
GlobalBanks Team

The GlobalBanks editorial team comprises a group of subject-matter experts from across the banking world, including former bankers, analysts, investors, and entrepreneurs. All have in-depth knowledge and experience in various aspects of international banking. In particular, they have expertise in banking for foreigners, non-residents, and both foreign and offshore companies.

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