Foreign Bank Account

For clarification purposes, a foreign bank is a branch or subsidiary of an established bank with physical institution in another country. The foreign bank will follow regulations and standards like that of the local banks. However, sometimes when the term foreign bank is used, it is used to refer to offshore bank accounts rather than foreign owned local banks (an offshore bank can be foreign owned as well) A Foreign offshore bank account is different from both a local onshore and a foreign bank account.

A foreign bank account is no different from the local bank accounts in the country where the foreign bank branch is established, but it may offer the benefit of security and assurance and familiarity Well established financial establishments that have branches in other countries will find that their account base will grow based on a sound history of banking and a good reputations. Foreign bank account holders have access to the full spectra of banking services.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship Program of St. Kitts and Nevis allows the applicants of the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship Program to enjoy dual nationality and acquire the citizenship of St. Kitts and Nevis under the Saint Kitts and Nevis citizenship programme without being asked to give up their nationality. In order to acquire the citizenship of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, due diligence must be carried out on applicants under the second passport program. Similar conditions exist for Dominica citizenship under the economic citizenship program in Dominica. Citizenship application procedures are guided by approved agents. Citizenship requirements must be satisfied for successful application. Offshore company incorporation is done by registered agents in the offshore countries. Offshore company formation has become easier as registered agents provide online support for company incorporation. Offshore companies are also called IBCs and may be setup as Limited Liability Companies or LLCs for short. Information on how to incorporate is provided by agents. Offshore shelf companies are ready made companies that are simply awaiting purchase. There are also offshore holding companies which are tax efficient.

Foreign bank accounts are particularly attractive to persons who originate in one country where they already have bank account with the parent bank and move to another country (for many reasons -school, work, retirement, on-going business). The confidence in banking with a familiar bank is invaluable and most sought after. Clients who have accounts with foreign banks express their : “connection” to the bank; the familiarity with processes; familiar landscape for online banking; and feel far more secure about their overall asset protection. They also express that they feel they have “access” to fund, compared to if it were held in a local national bank that was unknown to them”

Plus, there are additional features- banks that dealing directly with associated branches or head quarters will find that the required bank references for opening accounts are communicated faster, money transfers (requiring no intermediary bank) and are more efficiently processed, in countries where a foreign language is spoken, most branches will have a native tongue service for their home base clients.

The down sides to foreign banking are obvious but can be managed very well and easily indeed. Let start with currency exchange- When transacting in two separate currencies, it might be a disadvantage to transfer money from one country to another due to loss through foreign exchange rerates, so it is best to plan how money is moved and how much. Then there is the process of opening a foreign bank account. In most countries, in fact all that we are aware of, will not open an account for non-nationals who do not have some valid and legal reason to reside or temporary stay in the country. In order to open an account in a foreign bank the applicant must physically visit with the banks, provide all the necessary documentation, and undergo an interview (most banks).

The documents required to open a foreign bank account are:

  • Local Identification ( a passport alone will not do), SS, Drivers license
  • Proof of local address- a utility bill, or letter from school for students who live on campus
  • Bank references ( must be forwarded from bank to bank)
  • For non-nationals (proof of reason for residence) work permits, work visas, school visas, employer letters

It can take up to 1 month for all documents be collected in order to open an account in a foreign banks,

Where the foreign bank account is an offshore bank account the process and requirements are completely different. See our sections on offshore banking for more details.