Expat Banking

Most countries do not require credit checks. Some countries don’t even require you to have a line of credit. However, you must be related to the country in some way, and you have to provide certain documents to prove it when opening a new bank account. The most common problem with opening a bank account in your new country is that your home country can consider it an offshore account.

Opening a Bank Account

To open a bank account in any country, you need to present a proof of employment and a proof of residence. You will probably need a letter from your employer. Some banks may require pay slips for the previous three months. A rental agreement or proof of ownership of property in your new country can be considered a proof of residence.

What about Taxation?

This depends on several factors. First, this will depend on how much money you receive (into your bank account).

This is not the only form of taxation you will face. You are also subject to taxation (by your home country). In most cases, people are required to divulge their overseas assets including money held in your bank accounts. If this amount, combined with your other assets, exceeds certain limit, you will be required to pay taxes. Failure to do so may result in prosecution for tax evasion and/or money laundering.

Some popular international banks include:

HSBC: Located in Canada, Britain, USA, China and other countries in Europe. You may transfer funds in HSBC accounts within these countries tax-free.

Bank of Nova Scotia: Located in Canada, Jamaica, Singapore and Malaysia. www.scotiabank.com

The United States government monitors money transfers into and out of its accounts from offshore sources. The purpose of money transfers should be clearly defined. You will also have to have a proof of what you use your money for.

Some US accounts have been frozen by the government on suspicion of transferring funds for terrorist activity. This practice is legal and legitimate under anti-terrorism laws.

If you plan to make regular transfers back home, use one bank (that has branches in both countries). If you do not plan to make such transfers, you may use any trusted bank in your new country.