Guidelines for remote opening of a foreign bank account during the pandemic
Air communication between countries has virtually stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic. This does not mean, however, that your money should remain in self-isolation the way you do. On the contrary, asset diversification during the time when you have to stay indoors can become the task that you have been putting off because of lack of time.
Besides, this is a good opportunity to redefine your priorities, reconsider the value of your prior achievements, and develop new plans of action and new strategies that will help you protect your future. This pandemic is not forever, of course. But you can be 100% sure that new disasters await us all. Why not prepare yourself for them?
Without doubt, the world is going to change after the COVID-19 outbreak ceases. However, no matter how much the epidemic is going to affect the economies and the policies of the world countries, asset diversification will remain the best strategy of capital management. Sooner or later, these efforts are certainly going to pay back.
People who manage to adapt to the new reality where the Internet technologies will become much more important will be more successful than those who have missed the train.
In case you have never thought about the advantages that a foreign bank account (or two) can bring to you, it is high time to do it now. We have written extensively about these advantages on our portal and here we would like to give you a detailed instruction on how to open a bank account abroad under the conditions of self-imposed isolation.
Can a foreign bank account be opened remotely?
The answer is ‘Yes, it definitely can’. Below we will tell you how it can be done notwithstanding the current situation. We will also provide some examples that will illustrate the possibilities for bank account opening in several countries.
It goes without saying that the opportunities to open a foreign bank account remotely are more limited in comparison to setting up an account on a personal visit to the bank. At the same time, such opportunities do exist and besides, the coronavirus pandemic seems to have provoked the appearance of a new tendency in the banking industry.
As the bankers realize that it has currently become much more difficult to physically go to the bank in order to open an account there, some of them are starting to make better use of the modern video conferencing technologies. They still have to conduct all the KYC (Know Your Client) procedures but the most advanced banks (such as a few Swiss banks, for example) have already started doing that remotely via video conferencing applications.
We are witnessing the adaptation process that has been triggered by the new conditions. It is not unreasonable to expect that the pandemic is going to change some rules in the banking sector making them more humane and less bureaucratic. In any case, Internet technologies are going to penetrate even further into the banking industry. This fact should make establishing an account in a foreign bank a bit easier.
You may be unaware which banks do use the modern technologies to the full and which ones do not. Offshore-Pro Group is in close everyday contact with over 200 banks located in different parts of the world and we have the latest news from them all. If you apply for our assistance, we will gladly tell you what opportunities look most promising at present.
We invite you to request a free professional consultation on choosing the foreign bank where your chances for opening an account remotely are greater than with other banks. Please write to email@example.com and we will send you a link to an electronic questionnaire. Your answers to the questions will allow us to suggest several banks to you that will both suit your purposes and accept you as a client.
Our expertise does not end there though. We know how to talk to foreign bankers; we know what arguments they will accept and what arguments they will reject. We have been in communication with them for a long time and we are very well aware of their preferences and their dislikes. Their requirements seem rather strange at times but “we are ready for any unforeseen events that may or may not occur”, as a US vice-president once said.
We will not only help you choose the bank that suits your financial goals but we will also suggest the ways to meet the stringent requirements that all contemporary banks put forward to prospective clients. In particular, we will gladly assist you in filling out various forms and other documents. Since you are not present in front of the banker when filing a remote application for services, he or she has to judge you by the documents that you have submitted. We know exactly what the application documents should look like in order to satisfy the compliance department of each individual bank. So please apply for our assistance in setting up a foreign bank account thus improving greatly your chances for success.
Why is the choice of the country where you open a bank account so important?
If you have been following the articles published at this website, you probably already know that every country has its own laws that regulate the activities of the banks located on its territory. Yes, some banking operations are standardized and you will find many similarities between various banks when trying to set up an account there. On the other hand, different countries often differ in many other respects especially when it comes to opening a bank account remotely.
Thus, before you start thinking about establishing a bank account in a certain country, you have to find out if the legislation of this country permits remote account opening for foreign nationals. If it does not, you obviously have to turn your efforts in a different direction.
Some countries such as the USA, the UAE, and Singapore, for example, have laws that prohibit setting up bank accounts remotely for the majority of people. The key word here is ‘majority’, however. There are often some loopholes that can be used to establish a bank account in an individual case. Of course, you have to know these roundabout ways in order to make use of them. We do.
How do professional intermediaries such as Offshore-Pro Group manage to set up foreign bank accounts for their clients?
Well, we know that each country has its own rules and regulations. We know the nuances, the exceptions, and the weak points that every jurisdiction has. We also know that it is possible indeed to open an account abroad without leaving home and to effectively manage your capital that is kept in a foreign bank wherever in the world it is stationed. It takes time. It takes effort. But it is possible.
You also have to bear in mind that many banks that do allow remote cooperation with their clients may request personal presence of the account owner or his/ her representative in case a special banking operation is to be performed. They will usually do it not on their own will but because their country’s legislation explicitly requires it. This said, sometimes the mode of your cooperation with the bank will depend upon the personality of the bank manager that you are talking to.
Many banks in Canada in particular require that an account signer be physically present when certain deals are made. With our assistance, however, this problem is also quite solvable. We can introduce you to professional company directors who reside in Canada and who will act on your behalf when you want to use your Canadian bank account. Your relationships with the nominee director will have to be based on trust but it will be supported by a legal contract that will guard you against any fraudulent moves on the part of the director that are possible if only theoretically.
Why is the choice of the foreign bank so important?
It has to be understood that each bank will be unique in its requirements to the clients to a greater or a lesser extent. The KYC (Know Your Client) and the AML (Anti-Money-Laundering) procedures are very much the same in most parts of the world but only in their core. The peripheral requirements differ from one bank to another. You have to know what individual conditions have to be met when applying for services to a certain bank.
Speaking about remote account opening, some banks will want to have an extended telephone interview with the applicant and others will prefer a video conference. One bank will require one kind of authentication documents, while another bank will want to see something else, and so on.
We will gladly inform you in detail what conditions have to be satisfied to obtain service from a particular bank. We also know what foreign banks are most stable and most reliable, thus we will put you in the hands of a trustworthy financial partner.
Why is it so difficult to set up a foreign bank account remotely?
Remote bank account opening has become so complicated mainly due to the high pressure that national governments as well as international regulating authorities are applying to the banks all over the world. This pressure is conditioned by their desire to combat tax evasion, money laundering, terrorism financing, and other sorts of financial crimes.
Their goal is not to stop law-abiding people from setting up foreign bank accounts but rather to fight the illegal activities specified above. Therefore, you preparedness to talk openly about your sources of income as well as you financial goals is the key factor in establishing a bank account abroad. The more transparent your intentions are to the bank managers the more eager they will be to provide services to you. The better they understand where you come from and what you are after the sooner they will agree to open an account for you.
The pressure that we have referred to above did not come out of nowhere. Such scandalous financial information leaks as ‘Panama Papers’ and ‘Paradise Papers’ triggered international investigations. The leaks showed that many politicians, celebrities, and criminals used offshore banks and companies to evade taxes and to conceal the income that had been obtained in an illegal way such as from bribes, for example.
As a result, a war on offshore banks and offshore jurisdictions was declared. This led to much tougher KYC and AML requirements that the world financial authorities put forward to the banks. Today, the rules and procedures of setting up a personal or a corporate bank account abroad are very much unlike those that used to be applied before.
A number of small island countries have incurred great losses in this war. Their economies were based largely on providing offshore banking services. They still depend very much on foreign deposits in their banks but the number if these deposits has fallen drastically. Thus, these island states are going through some really hard times at the moment.
What you should think about before opening a foreign bank account
When you are considering what foreign bank to open an account with, you have to find out not only about the possibility to do that but also about the possibility to use your account freely once it is established.
In other words, you have to ascertain that you will have online access to your account and the possibility to make payments and withdraw money in the part (or parts) of the world where you live or where you often go. The opportunity to set up an account with a foreign bank does not always come together with the opportunity to use this account without trouble. This is why you have to decide what account functions you are going to need and what kind of transactions you are going to make before you choose the bank where you would like to open an account.
We have seen quite a number of people who have set up foreign bank accounts, put money there, but now they cannot withdraw the money nor use the accounts in any other ways. They often find out later that certain operations require their personal presence or that they have to update their personal information or that they have to pay a visit to the bank in order to receive the debit card and so on. Now, some of these banks are located on remote islands or on other continents and travelling to these destinations can prove quite problematic. These people have money on their bank accounts: that is true. Now, what is the use of the money that you cannot use? (Pun intended.)
It is also important to learn in advance if the foreign bank that you are going to apply to requires a local postal address or a local telephone number. Some banks do have such requirements. In some cases, you will need a local SIM card only once when activating your account. At other times, you will have to keep your local telephone number functional permanently as access codes, for instance, will be sent to this number every time you enter the online banking platform.
Now imagine that you have set up an account somewhere in the Caribbean. If a storm break out in the region, the local mobile communication system may go out of order and thus you will not be able to gain access to your bank account because your Caribbean telephone number will be ‘temporarily unavailable’. You have to know about such things in advance.
This should be a compelling reason to apply for professional assistance when setting up a bank account abroad. We will draw your attention to certain things that you might have never even though about yourself. We know the industry inside out and we know what factors must necessarily be taken into consideration when establishing a foreign bank account. We can surely guard you against some unpleasant surprises that you might face after setting up an account with a foreign bank.
Why can your citizenship status affect opening a foreign bank account?
Some banks will accept applications for services from foreign nationals while others will not. Naturally, you have to consider only the banks that do provide services to foreigners. We know around two hundred such banks in various parts of the world.
As should be expected, most banks have different requirements to local and to foreign applicants. The KYC procedures are stricter for foreigners, as, again, should be expected. Sometimes you can find the necessary information on this issue at the bank website and sometimes it is not there. However, if you use professionals’ advice, you will be well prepared to file the application knowing what to expect.
You should also remember that the bank managers will want confirmations of all the bits of information that you provide when opening an account. Whatever claim you make, it has to be supported by a document.
Moreover, different banks require different confirmation documents. What one bank will deem necessary may appear unimportant for another bank. For instance, some banks have recently started requesting confirmations of the applicant’s tax residency. In other words, they want to see that you pay taxes in the country of your citizenship or your legal residence (these can be different countries with some people). This requirement entails the need to obtain a confirmation paper from your home country tax authorities.
In addition to that, some national states like to issue special permissions to their citizens granting them the right to open foreign bank accounts. If you come from a jurisdiction that imposes this requirement on its residents, the bank manager will ask you to submit such permission.
It is also quite customary with many banks to require different sets of application documents from applicants who come from different countries. What is enough for a citizen of one country may appear insufficient for a citizen of another country. Banks also quite commonly require different sums of money to be used as the initial deposit and the security deposit depending on the applicant’s country of origin. We know all these little things and we will be happy to share this knowledge with you.
A foreign bank account in Panama as an example
Let us assume that you would like to set up an account in one of Panamanian banks being a non-resident of this Central American country.
There are some good reasons to do that indeed. First, it is very easy to make US dollar transactions through Panama-based banks. Second, the country offers a huge amount of possibilities to plan taxes especially if you become a tax resident of Panama. This concerns both private individuals and corporate entities.
If you went about setting up an account in a Panamanian bank on your own, you would probably be unsuccessful as the process is complicated however sad the truth may be. Nonetheless, we know the right banks and the right bankers and we know what strategies one has to follow in order to open a bank account in Panama. It is not easy to do it without any doubt. But it is possible to do it. Again, without any doubt.
If you want to establish an account with a Panamanian bank, you have to prepare quite a number of documents including secure personal identification documents, proofs of your residential address, papers confirming your citizenship and tax residence, those confirming the legality of your sources of income such as bank statements, your tax ID, and so on and so forth.
Please mind that in many countries, you are obliged to inform the local tax authorities about opening a bank account abroad. In addition to that, you have to bear in mind that the Panamanian bank is going to exchange the information about your personal bank account with the fiscal bodies of your home country. This goes for a personal account while the situation with a corporate account is a bit different. In case your corporate account balance is less than US$ 250,000 on December 31 each year and if your company has been in operation during the year, you financial information as the company beneficiary will not be automatically exchanged with your home country tax authorities.
These are additional examples of the multiple little nuances that you have to take into consideration when deliberating opening a foreign bank account. We hope that we have managed to convince you that the importance of professional assistance in this matter cannot be overestimated.
The costs involved in opening a foreign bank account
You have to realize that it costs money to establish a bank account abroad. The total sum will very much depend on what your home country is. Your nationality will determine the set of documents that you will have to submit to the bank when applying for services. Besides, document legalization costs as well as courier service costs are different in different countries. Thus, the exact sum of money that is required to open a foreign bank account will have to be calculated individually in each case.
Banks charge fees and their amounts differ from one bank to another too. The general rule here is as follows: the larger and the older the bank is the higher fees you will have to pay. This includes the requirements to the initial and the security deposits as well. The necessary security deposit in a hundred-year-old well-established Swiss bank, for example, can be quite substantial.
Our account opening services
We offer a variety of services related to establishing bank accounts abroad. For example, we can help you save a lot of time and effort (and some money too) by applying for a preapproval to the bank before you actually submit the application documents for opening an account there. When you receive a preapproval, it means that the bank expresses consent to consider your application document package. It does not mean that the account will be certainly opened for you but only that there is a chance that it will. At the same time, if your application fails to be preapproved by one bank, you can proceed to apply to another bank without wasting too much time and money on a hopeless endeavor. We can file applications for preapproval to several banks at a time on your behalf.
Another service of ours that you may find appealing is the combined service of establishing a business company abroad and setting up a corporate account for the company in a foreign bank. We can assist you in setting up a company and a bank account in one and the same country such as Canada, for example, or you can establish a company in one country and a bank account in another one. The combined service comes at a lower price, which is what makes it attractive.
The key thing that we have to do when setting up a non-resident bank account for you is bring together three factors. First, we have to find the bank that will be able to satisfy your needs and desires. Second, we have to find the bank offering service conditions that are acceptable for you. Third, we have to find the bank that will agree to service you. We have been able to bring these three conditions together for a great number of clients and we will be happy to do it for you too.
Before you apply for our services, please sign up for a free consultation on choosing the best foreign bank where you can open an account. Please send your request for the consultation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will get back to you within a few hours, assign a personal consultant to you, and suggest the time for a virtual meeting.
Do not waste time while you are idling in self-imposed isolation! Please write to us straight away and start upgrading your lifestyle. We guarantee that the information that you supply to us will remain strictly confidential.