How Non-Residents Can Open a Foreign Bank Account in Europe

If you are living in an EU member state, it has now become easier than ever to open a foreign bank account. On the condition that you can show a proof of residence and your passport from your home country, it wouldn’t be too hard to open a bank account on a same-day basis. 

But, what should you do if you happen to be a non-resident and you want to open an EU bank account?

Opening a foreign bank account
Opening a foreign bank account in Europe

This might be something you need to do because you have to accept or receive payments from your European client or maybe because you just want to keep some of your money in a safe haven that an EU member state can offer. Whatever your personal reasons might be, the good news is that it is possible, even though you have to remember that your options will be quite limited. 

If want to know what you should do to get your very own EU bank account soon, make sure you read on below:

Reasons Why You Might Need an EU Bank Account 

Before delving into the process, there are actually a few common reasons as to why people are interested to open an EU foreign bank account as a non-resident. These can include the following:

  • You have plans to go on a European trip and you want to have access to seamless and cheap ATM withdrawals. Of course, you know that it will be very expensive to use your local debit card so you prefer a card that an EU institution itself has issued. 
  • You often travel to Europe and a foreign bank account can help you save on fees. 
  • You are a certified digital nomad whose clients are based in Europe. For this reason, you need to be able to receive their payments in Euros with no need for you to pay for the exorbitant conversion fees. Or, it could also be because most of your suppliers are Europe-based and you need to pay them in Euros. 
  • You are thinking of making an investment in Europe like buying a property that you can rent out with no need for you to become a resident. As such, you prefer to receive the rental payments every month in Euros. 
  • You wish to open your own business in Europe that can operate remotely such as a consultancy firm. 
  • You got some extra money that you want to save and store in the European Single Market, one of the world’s most secure regulatory blocks. 

Open a European Bank Account as Physical Person Non-Resident 

Contrary to what most people think, it is actually easier and simpler to open a personal European bank account. But, you have to remember that regulations can change so much among the members of the European Union added to Switzerland and those that are only part of the EEA. Aside from this, requirements may also change from one bank to another within the same country.

Foreign bank accoun
Foreign bank account

But, there is good news since there are certain countries such as Bulgaria, Poland and Lithuania where it is easy to open a bank account with no need for you to become a resident. There are also instances where the only thing you have to present is none other than your passport. In some other cases, you might be required to show your proof of residency from your own country. Lastly, there are banks that will require you to have an address in the specific country where your card will be sent. For instance, it could be the address of a friend.

The only downside of this is that in almost all cases, there is a need for you to go on a trip to Europe so you can go to the bank so you can open your account in person. It is highly recommended that you contact the bank before you travel to ensure that everything has already been arranged and prepared for you to open an account before you get to the specific country in Europe where you wish to open a foreign bank account. 

What is the Current Situation of EU Bank Accounts?

Prior to doing anything at all, it is a must to take note that even though the EU Single Market develops a cohesive framework for banking regulatory for all of the member states, all the specifics regarding the eligibility for the non-residents could differ from one institution to another. But still, most of the time, you must be a resident of the EU member state so that you can open your own bank account.

Video: How To Open A Swiss Bank Account For Non-Resident?

For instance, it is quite easy to open an account in Germany if you are Romania just as how Dutch citizens don’t have any issues in opening a bank account in Spain. On the other hand, if you are not an EU resident, there might be a few hurdles in opening a foreign bank account, no matter where you try to do it. 

Good thing that there are several workarounds to this concern, like opening a company in Europe and opening an account under the company’s name. But again, this process can be highly cumbersome that it is not really worth all the bureaucracy involved in it. 

On the other hand, there are some member states of the EU such as Estonia that are less strict when it comes to opening bank accounts for the non-residents. But, it is still a must that you prove your substantial ties to the specific country. Once again, it can be something such as a local business. 

The Bottom Line 

All in all, opening a foreign bank account (more at ProTax) in Europe might not be as easy as it sound but it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. And the good news is that even if you are a non-resident, you can still open one. As long as you know the things and steps that you should follow, you can expect that the whole process will be doable. 

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