How to open an offshore bank account and where?

The how to of offshore bank accounts. Offshore bank accounts have particularities that made them different from other common accounts; individuals and medium sized companies can perfectly take advantage of the great benefits offered by these financial options.

How to open an offshore bank account and where?

Updated August 31, 2020

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What are the steps for opening an offshore bank account?

More than a few people believe that offshore bank accounts are destined only for people with big fortunes or who own the most powerful businesses on the planet. This perception is wrong. It is true that offshore bank accounts have characteristics that differentiate them from more common accounts; however, these days people and medium-sized businesses can perfectly enjoy the great advantages that these financial options offer.


Benefits from offshore bank accounts

The offshore bank accounts are extremely attractive, starting with the different benefits that they offer. For example, they offer protection from political and economic changes in your country. When political changes take place in a region, financial risks noticeably increase and, therefore, a person’s assets in local banks can suffer damages. And, in case of economic crises, like in the post-coronavirus pandemic, where many more than a few lost their investments and savings. Meanwhile, with an international deposit, it is possible to not only possible to keep your assets but to even generate more income, beginning with collecting interest.

Another significant benefit of offshore bank account is savings on taxes. The times of strict bank secrecy are behind us, however in all forms of offshore jurisdictions there are laws that protect confidentiality, so that it is possible to save on the payment of national taxes, both with the main balance of the account as with the interest generated during the year.

The assets kept in an offshore bank account are rarely affected by judicial decisions adopted in a court in the person’s country of residence, especially if the account is in the name of a foundation. This means that if for any reason, for example, a divorce or demand, this person had to either hand over or divide his national belongings, in any manner, it would follow that he would keep his patrimony in the offshore jurisdiction. Furthermore, starting from the laws existing in these territories and the bank secret, no one would know of the existence of these offshore assets.

Offshore bank accounts also offer new investment options that are not available in a local bank account. These investments generally offer greater profits than national investments. Moreover, there are more international loan options, with more attractive terms and requirements.

Offshore bank accounts have also been shown to be efficient for those who are trying to save for their retirement. The explanation for this is given because the types of interest improve as their balance increases and, in addition, the longer periods also guarantee higher rates. Therefore, the more funds you transfer from your country to this offshore bank account, the more resources you will accumulate for your retirement.


Personal bank accounts vs corporate accounts: which is the best option?

For a long time, corporate bank accounts were considered the most ideal solution for protecting financial resources; however, these days this view has changed. In an environment of harassment about everything related to the offshore world, personal bank accounts can work better for carrying out financial activities.

The various advantages offered by corporate bank accounts make them an attractive option. For example, funds kept in the bank account of an offshore company are legally separated from those of this company’s owner, so that the account acts as a protective layer for his assets.

Furthermore, all transactions done with the corporate bank account are under the name of the offshore company and not that of the account’s ultimate beneficiary. This is a very useful fiscal and protective strategy for its goods. Faced with the Information Exchange treaties, the tax officials of the ultimate beneficiary’s country of residence wouldn’t have control over the movements of this person’s capital. Today, it’s no longer like this and that’s why it’s necessary that not only the company reside in a tax shelter, but also the account’s ultimate beneficiary.

Many myths were also created about corporate bank accounts during the times when offshore banks offered “secret or numbered accounts”. Actually, these accounts, as well as bearer savings books, disappeared two generations ago and the offshore banks, like any bank, have the responsibility of proving the ultimate beneficiary’s data and the place of his residence.

Why has all this changed? The pressure from high tax burden countries has made almost all jurisdictions yield when faced by the threats of being placed on the gray- and blacklists. So, they signed financial information exchange agreements. Putting your savings in those few countries that didn’t yield is very dangerous.

Meanwhile, the banks, afraid of receiving heavy financial sanctions, have accepted the new rules. The banks are now required to follow the know-your-client (KYC) and Anti Money-Laundering (AML) procedures much more extensively and costly; this is why they have reverted the high cost of keeping a corporate bank account open, to their clients. To this is added the fact that these banks periodically request additional information from the ultimate beneficiary of the corporate account and the company. The cost of these documents can vary from 500 to 2,000 American dollars every year, depending on what each  bank requests and which jurisdiction issues the documentation.

The difficulties of operating an offshore bank , the pressure on the low tax burden jurisdictions, and the continuous persecution against offshore companies have caused more than just a few to decide to turn to personal bank accounts for operating their companies. It’s true that they have less anonymity; however, in these times, they work better in the world’s present complex banking system.

So then, how can the information exchange problem be resolved? Easy, keeping personal bank accounts in countries that don’t automatically exchange information, like the United States, Puerto Rico, Russia, etc. or even more easily, by obtaining residence in a tax haven like Panama.


Where to open an offshore bank account

The first question that anyone interested in opening an offshore bank account should answer is “why are you doing it?” Starting from this answer, it will then be possible to determine which bank and which jurisdiction are the ones that comply with your interests.

One of the most common reasons for using an offshore bank account is to lower the tax burden. Therefore, in these cases it’s necessary to select a territory that has friendly tax policies for foreign investors. In other words, that the taxes are low or none. A jurisdiction, like Panama, for example, offers attractive plans for retirees.

A third reason for opening an offshore bank account is that there is an interest for having foreign real estate as a way for investing. The advice would be to search for a country that has laws that make it possible for foreigners to own real estate, completely legally.

Among the best offshore jurisdictions for opening bank accounts are: Panama, Puerto Rico, and Switzerland, although we propose others, also.


Types of offshore bank accounts

After choosing the jurisdiction and the offshore bank that is most appropriate for your interests, the moment is reached for choosing what type of offshore bank account is most convenient. Generally, a simple offshore bank account can offer you all possible benefits; however, businesses will need a corporate account. Both have similarities; however, the requirements for opting for one or the other vary.

Offshore banks demand deposits of a certain amount of funds in the new account. This amount varies depending on the bank. The most used option for depositing said funds is through a bank transfer, not with cash or a check.


Documents needed for opening an offshore bank account

The first document necessary for opening an offshore bank account is a notarized and apostilled copy of your passport. In addition, offshore banks almost always want, with their translation in English:

  • Proof of payment of utilities (electricity, Internet, water), in the name of the requester
  • Bank or payroll statement, also in the name of requester
  • Bank referrals that guarantee that the requester has a good record

For corporate offshore bank accounts:

  • Business documents and its business plan

But remember, compliance bank officers may request other documents like, balances, tax declarations, second ID, etc.


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How to open a bank account in the Principality of Monaco

These accounts are intended for individuals or companies wishing to maintain important accounts (1 million and a minimum balance of 3 million) in an offshore banking place and in a stable country with a long capital management.

The Principality of Monaco is one of the countries that offers the greatest protection to major capitals. Political stability, friendly tax policies, a high standard of living, a great multi-cultural diversity are some of the elements that have made this small nation of two square kilometers an ideal place for international residents with important fortunes.

Monaco is not only the capital of luxury, but also an important global epicentre of entertainment, where every year a Grand Prix Formula 1 is held, the Masters of tennis tournament (Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic resides in the Principality), the Monaco Yacht show and the international Circus Festival; But, above all, Monaco is primarily a key financial center.

The Monegasque (Monaco’s) banking system is considered as one of the safest in the world and assets held in financial institutions exceeds EUR 116 billion. GDP per capita is around EUR 120 000, which places the Principality among the three richest countries on the planet. Monaco has no public debt with any other State and manages annually a budget exceeding EUR 1.2 billion, whereby it manages a turnover higher than operational expenditure.

The legal and fiscal framework of the Principality is very attractive

The legal and fiscal framework of the Principality is very attractive, since there are no taxes on income, capital gains and fortunes, nor tax burdens related to the negotiations.

Opening an account in the most prestigious Bank of the Principality may not be so easy, but the benefits are enormous, because with this, people manage to protect their families in a territory neutral and alien to global conflicts.

To open a bank account in the most prestigious Bank of the Principality, it’s imperative that the individual can demonstrate the sources with which he has managed to create a fortune of more than one million dollars. The Bank even agrees to work with politically exposed individuals, although it generally prefers not to accept Americans or Canadians because the tax systems in these countries are constantly requiring the partitioning of private information and Monaco continues to be regarded as a jurisdiction respecting confidentiality, an element that makes it unique in the world and explains why large capitalists prefers to safeguard their assets in Monaco's bank accounts.


How to open a bank account in Panama

After the Panama Papers, the offshore world has changed, especially in Panama. Opening a bank account in Panama these days isn’t as easy as it was before; however, the isthmus’ Financial Center continues to be attractive, with its 2 State and 68 private banks — 45 of them with a general license and 23 with an international license — in addition to 11 international banks with local representational offices.

Because of new norms for the evaluation of money laundering and terrorism financing risks applied internationally, opening a bank account in Panama these days is a long and tedious procedure. The banks thoroughly investigate the client, and for those who are not nationals and/or permanent residents, opening a bank account is usually difficult and, at times, impossible.

Caporaso & Partners is a specialized legal firm with offices in the Banking Area and ample knowledge of the laws, banking regulations and policies of each bank, which can advise you on opening a bank account in Panama, in person or remotely.

Request a consultation by email at [email protected] or visit our website to research about how to open a bank account in Panama, Europe or in other offshore jurisdictions, according to your needs.


How to open a bank account in the United States?

Opening a bank account in the United States has become a necessity for thousands of people around the world who, to protect their assets or carry out new affairs, they need to manage a bank account in an American financial institute or simply for gathering PayPal credits or some other e-wallets.

Almost all banks in the United States open checking accounts for non-residents; but this requires two steps: the physical presence of the account holder and the presentation of a utility bill (receipt of a bill payment for a phone, electricity, internet, gas, etc., account, in the account holder’s name and with an address in the United States).

Because they are uncompromising regarding the physical presence for opening a bank account in the United States, it is completely obligatory.

There’s a very safe way to obtain a utility bill which guarantees that, without residing in the United States or having a permanent domicile there, you can receive this precious document.

Before starting to explain how to obtain the utility bill, we should make it clear that, according to our experience, the fastest and most efficient bank for opening bank accounts is the Chase Manhattan Bank, a prestigious banking institution with decades of activity in the financial sector that has branches throughout the United States.

To open the account, you need:

  • Present your passport
  • Make a minimum initial deposit of 100 dollars (this bank charges bank fees of 15 USD if the balance is lower than 1500 USD).
  • Present the Utility Bill (to find out what to do to obtain a utility bill, purchase our KIT “open an account in the USA” for only 99 USD.

The US Banks opens accounts only for natural persons, not foreign companies.

Another way to obtain the indispensable utility bill is to request a temporary driver’s license in the United States. This mechanism works well, but no better than the Metro telephone line, since officials take their time with the temporary driver’s license, while the telephone line is activated immediately following payment. We always advise opening an account with the large banks in the United States, because they have fewer obstacles for opening checking accounts than smaller banks.


How to open an offshore bank account online?

Are you planning on opening a personal or business bank account? Here at Caporaso & Partners we’ve had 30 years’ experience in opening foreign bank accounts, both in dollars and in euros.

Unfortunately, the days of the bank secrecy and numbered accounts are over and today, opening an online bank account can be a nightmare. There are dozens of offers on internet, including hundreds of scams, so then, what do you do? Who do you turn to? And why do those consultants ask for so much money to simply open a foreign account?

Banks have become so much more picky, due both to the new worldwide laws on money laundering, as well as to the fact that many scammers used online banks to pull in their victims. These days, opening an online foreign bank account takes a lot of time, controls are exhausting, and the agents aren’t very diligent or friendly, making things even worse.

However, if you speak and read a little English, you can open an online account on your own, without the help of experts who have to invest a lot of time and obviously have to bill you. In addition, banks currently don’t like talking to intermediaries and, as a policy, they have to keep in direct contact with the customer, compile personal data and collect them in a document known as KYC, Know your Customer. To be able to do this without the customer preparing and avoiding the questions with prepared answers, the banks’ compliance officials require standard and optional documents and information. And so, time is going by  and even if you have paid high fees, opening an account can take weeks and even months.

Even though it’s against our interests, we advise our customers to open bank accounts by themselves, precisely because banks prefer dealing directly with the customer and, for us, when problems or delays come up, at times, it’s not profitable to process this type of expedient.

Therefore, we have decided to offer our customers the Phone Consultation formula to help them, at an accessible price, open a foreign, online bank account.

How does the Consultation Formula work?

Simple, you must pay 300 EUR in fees through one of these methods. As soon as you notify us of the payment by e-mail, we’ll ask you to complete a form that will help us to better understand what you need.

Immediately after, we’ll schedule a phone conversation through Whatsapp where we’ll detail the advantages of one or another bank according to your needs, information exchange agreements, available money, account movement, services and banking expenses. We will identify the most appropriate bank for your needs, during this conversation. Immediately after that, we’ll send you the link from which you can open the account with the list of documents you must present and those that they could possibly ask for in addition.

All through the process, you will have the opportunity of calling us to ask for advice and clarifications. Remember that you must speak some English because an agent of the bank may want to speak directly with you.

As a general rule, banks require a certified copy of the account holder’s passport, as proof of residence (bill for water, electricity, landline, bank account statement, etc.) dated no more than three months earlier and, for businesses, company documents. In some cases, the documents must be translated into English (or another language, depending on the bank’s location) and apostilled ( The Hague Apostille is an official certificate that mainly serves to verify the authenticity of the signature, the title and/or the stamp of the translated document’s authenticity).

If you don’t speak English or prefer to receive help, you can see the cost of our services at this link. If, in place of a bank, you prefer an e-wallet, even if this is a little more expensive than a bank, it offers you greater anonymity and a wider range of collection and payment services, we recommend that you open a free account here.

How to investigate and negotiate recuperating funds in dormant and inherited offshore bank accounts?

Offshore Banks Directory offers the services of lawyers specialized in investigating and negotiating the recuperation of funds in dormant and inherited offshore bank accounts.

“Dormant bank accounts” and inheritances are more common than the majority of people imagines. However, how can I know if there is a bank account with a lot of money that we have a right to hidden in some offshore bank, or if there is an inheritance that belongs to us and we haven’t claimed it?

The so-called “dormant funds” are those which have been deposited for long periods of time, without any type of movement, in a bank that has, in addition, lost contact with the holder of these funds. There is a series of situations that can have an impact depending on whether the person forgets to update the bank on important information relating to changes in an account, among which moving to another country, business closure or, sometimes, even the death of the account holder.

In the past, bank relations are usually long-term, but when periods of account inactivity go on for several years, banks in the main offshore jurisdictions usually freeze the accounts. For example, in Panama, the account is frozen after six months of inactivity and after five years, inactive funds devolve to the State. The rules vary from country to country, but they all collect dormant accounts, even though with different periods of time, and the funds become difficult for beneficiaries to access. Faced with this, more and more people need to know if there are inactive funds or inheritances to which they have a right, and one of the best ways to have this information first hand is to turn to specialized investigators and lawyers, like the ones from the Offshore Banks Directory.

All banks are expected to protect “dormant funds”, through the use of various measures to avoid any illegitimate access to said funds; in addition, in the case of Switzerland, funds that have been without contact for 10 years and then remain inactive for an ulterior 50 years (meaning 60 years from the last contact with the client) and which are greater than 500 Swiss Francs are published on a website, where the holder’s first name, last name and last known residence appear. Nonetheless, other jurisdictions aren’t as open with these data and they don’t make them known as easily; this is why working with specialized lawyers, such as the ones with the Offshore Banks Directory, who know bank mechanisms very well and are capable of locating hidden funds and inheritances, is essential.

People who believe or who are certain that they possess the rights to inactive “dormant funds” can directly contact the bank; however, this isn’t the most advisable, since financial institutions are very reluctant to let assets slip from their hands and require an ample series of documents. The Offshore Banks Directory can also help with this, as they count on specialized lawyers and can therefore speed up the cumbersome negotiation process.


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