How to Open an Offshore Bank Account
Our team can help you set up an offshore bank account in any jurisdiction that provides this service; we are specialized in offering this service and preparing all the documentation required by banking institutions.
The procedure to open an offshore bank account varies based on the country of choice and the purpose of the account, but most of countries will generally apply the same requirements.
What is an offshore bank account?
The offshore bank account represents a bank account that is requested by a client at one of the banks that are registered in an offshore jurisdiction. The bank account has the same characteristics as the bank accounts that are available anywhere else in the world.
The offshore jurisdiction defines a country or an independent region that provides a very attractive tax system, such as 100% exemptions of various corporate taxes or few and very reduced taxes.
|Offshore bank account
A bank account that can be set up in offshore jurisdictions, while enjoying special privacy and protection.
Who can set up an offshore bank account
|Foreign individuals and corporate clients|
Our jurisdictions for offshore bank accounts
|Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Singapore, Belize, UAE, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Panama, Seychelles, Nevis.|
|Reasons to open an offshore bank account||
• the owner of the account is paid in foreign currency;
The eligibility requirements vary based on the jurisdiction and the bank. In general, the applicant must be above 18 years old, present identity documents, have the minimum amount for deposit (where applicable) and provide information on the tax residency.
|Types of offshore bank accounts||Accounts in foreign currencies, in local currencies, checking accounts, savings accounts, deposits accounts.|
|Our offshore locations for asset protection accounts||Switzerland, Nevis|
|Our jurisdictions with simple setup requirements||Belize, BVI, Switzerland, Mauritius (it allows the setup of bank accounts online)|
|Documents to prepare for personal offshore bank account setup||• Notarized copy of the passport;
• a document attesting the residence;
• a letter of recommendation from another bank, etc.;
• information about the origin of the funds;
• having the required threshold for the deposit.
|Documents to prepare for corporate bank accounts||• the statutory documents of the company;
• documents attesting that the company is operational;
• the power of attorney for the company’s representative;
• information on the tax residency of the company;
• the personal identity documents of the shareholders, etc.
|Fees charged for offshore bank account setup||It depends on the jurisdiction, bank or the type of account.|
|It depends on the jurisdiction of choice.|
The advantages of an offshore jurisdiction
|All offshore jurisdictions provide a set of tax exemptions for both corporate and individual foreigners (banking privacy, property rights, low or no taxes for remittance of profits, etc.)|
|Setting up a bank account online (yes/no)||Depending on each bank’s regulations.|
|Obligation to come in person at the bank (yes/no)||It depends on the jurisdiction. One can also appoint a representative.|
|Additional documentation verification concluded by offshore banks||
In offshore jurisdictions, banks can oftentimes ask for additional paperwork that can verify the client is not involved in any tax evasion, money laundering or the infrigement of any tax laws.
Bank documents and statements issued by the home bank can be required, for up to 1 year previously to the request to set up an offshore account.
How to open an offshore bank account online
For online setup, the banks will request the same documentation necessary for in-person meetings.
It is also necessary to establish an online meeting through videocalls between the clients and the bank representatives.
How to choose a bank
The decision on selecting an offshore bank should be based on the following:
– the reputation of the bank;
– the types of financial services it offers;
– the interest rates;
– the minimum deposit;
– the fees charged;
– the services provided for the remote access of the account;
– privacy regulations.
|Can clients open the account through their representatives?||Yes, foreign clients can set up the bank account through a local, trusted third party.|
|Can clients open multi-currency accounts?||
Yes, multi-currency accounts are available in some offshore jurisdictions.
|Capital requirements for bank accounts in the British Virgin Islands||
It can vary based on the type of account (around $25,000, but the requirements can also vary based on the bank).
|Capital requirements for bank accounts in Switzerland||
They can go up to $500,000, and in case of asset protection accounts, up to $1 million (but it varies on the bank – however, one can’t open an offshore bank account in Switzerland without a minimum deposit).
|Capital requirements for bank accounts in Hong Kong||
Minimum $5,000 (differences can appear based on the bank and the account type).
|Capital requirements for bank accounts in Belize||
|Capital requirements for bank accounts in Mauritius||Minimum $10,000 (it can vary on the bank and the account type).|
|How to make withdrawals once you open an offshore bank account||
Withdrawals can be made with a debit card that has international usage.
Checks are also used, but this is a less common method.
One can also opt for electronic wire transfers.
|How to make deposits||
International wire transfers.
|How to choose a currency||
You can choose a currency based on the options provided by the bank, the economic value of a currency, exchange rates charged when making withdrawals from your home countries, the fees charged by the bank, etc.
|Can foreigners open offshore merchant accounts?||
Yes, most countries offer the possibility to set up merchant account.
|When is a merchant account needed?||The merchant account is required when selling goods online to international markets.|
The same tax principle applies for the taxation of persons. There are several regions which can be considered the best countries to open an offshore bank account, and these are the world reputed offshore jurisdictions.
These are very popular amongst foreign investors, who can also benefit from very simple and straightforward rules on the incorporation of an offshore company.
An offshore bank account does not only represent a bank account registered in offshore jurisdictions such as Belize, but it can also include the fact that a citizen of a country, where he or she currently lives in, has set up a bank account in another jurisdiction.
In what countries should one open an offshore bank account?
There are different countries that can provide very good advantages for financial purposes. The choice should be based on the personal situation of each person.
If we refer to those who want to set up an offshore bank account for business and investment reasons, the main countries would differ compared to those that would provide the most suitable conditions for individuals.
When we refer to businesses, the best countries to open an offshore bank account can actually be offshore jurisdictions, which provide numerous opportunities, such as the following locations:
- 1. Panama – it provides multiple types of bank accounts;
- 2. Nevis – it offers very good conditions for those interested in asset protection;
- 3. the Cayman Islands – it has bank accounts created especially for investment purposes;
- 4. Belize – here, one can open an offshore account following very simple rules;
- 5. Singapore – it is one of the top global economies and those who are high-net worth individuals can find here bank accounts suitable for their needs.
These are not all the jurisdictions that can be considered the best countries to open an offshore bank account.
The decision regarding the most suitable place is, of course, influenced by the value of your financial assets and the way in which you want to protect/invest the respective assets. Our team of specialists can advise you on this subject.
We invite you to watch a short video presenting the procedure for opening an offshore bank account:
Why open an offshore bank account in Panama?
Panama is one of the most well-known offshore jurisdictions, where both foreign investors and foreign individuals alike go to conclude various types of transactions.
The country is considered a tax haven, which describes an economy that does not charge a wide range of taxes which are customarily charged in onshore countries.
Panama does not charge the following: 1) the capital gains tax, 2) the income tax, 3) the tax on the shareholders’ shares, 4) the transfer tax, 5) the property tax, 6) the estate tax, 7) the gift tax, 8) the succession tax and others.
Because the country does not apply so many taxes, many foreigners come here to maximize the level of their investments and in most of cases, they will opt to open an offshore bank account at a local bank in Panama.
The advantages of opening an offshore bank account in Panama are listed below:
- local banks can accept even non-resident citizens;
- those who set up an offshore bank account in US dollars can obtain higher interest rates compared to other countries;
- non-residents can obtain credit cards;
- opening a bank account is a simple task, especially when we refer to the deposits required – in some cases, only $3,000 is needed to set up a bank account;
- it is also allowed to set up an offshore bank account online.
What are the advantages of an offshore bank account in Nevis?
Nevis is another offshore jurisdiction that provides many advantages to foreigners. Of course, we refer here to tax exemptions that can be found in other offshore jurisdictions, as well as privacy policies.
It must be noted that one can open an offshore bank account in Nevis with an initial deposit of $10,000. The duration of the bank account set up can be influenced based on the nature of the account.
Thus, there are 2 main situations – bank accounts set up for personal reasons or bank accounts for companies.
The set up of a personal bank account can take approximately 2 weeks, while in the case of a corporate bank account, the registration formalities can take minimum 1 month to maximum 2 months.
This country also does not require foreigners to arrive in-person for the set up formalities. Other advantages are: 1) internet banking services, 2) issuance of credit cards, 3) telebanking services.
Why choose the Cayman Islands for setting up a bank account?
Another top jurisdiction for offshore activities is the Cayman Islands, where foreigners can find a very competitive market, which benefits from a solid regulatory framework.
The Cayman Islands is well known for its transparent offshore banking services. It is also a place that provides tax neutral policies for both residents and non-residents.
Many taxes do not apply here as well, such as: 1) the income tax, 2) the capital gains tax, 3) the wealth tax.
Given that the Cayman Islands provide a very solid tax and legal system, many international banks have set up their operations here, serving both residents and foreigners with various banking services and products.
It must be noted that the Cayman Islands is the home of 40 of top 50 international banks. At an international level, only few other offshore and onshore jurisdictions can compare to the banking level that is available in this country.
Thus, setting up an offshore bank account here can be a very good decision, as the foreigner will benefit from top quality banking services.
In order to open an offshore bank account, the bank of your choice will need certain documents. Documents regarding the identity of the applicant are required, as well as details on the current residential address.
Besides these, it is necessary to present a legitimate reason for opening an offshore bank account, as well as to provide information regarding the source of the funds that will be deposited in the account.
When is it advised to open an overseas bank account?
There are many examples when the offshore bank account can be useful. Aside from investment and business purposes, for individuals, this can be the perfect solution when living in a certain foreign jurisdiction for a longer period of time.
It is recommended to set up an offshore bank account as by doing so, you will avoid the fees charged by your home bank for the transactions completed overseas.
It is advised to open this account if you live in a foreign country, if you work there or if you retire.
Besides this, the offshore bank account is ideal for those interested in offshore company formation. An offshore company refers to a regular business which is set up in a different jurisdiction than of the place where the investors have their residency.
An offshore jurisdiction usually provides various tax advantages, which can vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Regardless of the purpose for which you need the account, it is recommended to verify and compare the services you can obtain from the local banks, as well as the fee system (if applicable) and any other associated costs.
Please mind that you must also be eligible, as per the requirements of each foreign bank. Please contact our consultants if you want to know more on the eligibility criteria.
You can also address to our team in the case you need legal assistance on the procedure of setting up an offshore merchant account, which is a type of account opened in offshore jurisdictions for e-commerce businesses.
This type of merchant account is available for a wide range of business activities, including for those which are considered high-risk businesses, such as cryptocurrency.