Have you ever thought about opening an offshore account? It is not as difficult as it may seem at first glance. You can do it in a relatively short period of time without ever going abroad! An offshore account will help you reduce your tax liability, get a higher return on your investments or simply keep your affairs private.
Some people believe that offshore bank accounts are synonymous to money laundering, millionaires, and unscrupulous deals. In fact, opening an offshore account can be completely legal. Complying with your native country's laws is up to you.
Basically, an offshore account means a bank account in a foreign country. They offer such benefits as international access to your money, better protection of assets or a higher return on your investment no matter where you live.
If you are interested in opening an offshore bank account, follow our guidelines. In these days of electronic banking it can be as straightforward as just having a checking or savings account in your country of residence.
- Choose a country for your offshore account. Banking rules vary from country to country, so you need some guarantee that your hard-earned money will be safe. Nowadays there are over 50 countries and territories that specialize in offshore activity. In the Cayman Islands, it is a popular joke that there are more banks than people.
- If you don't want to lose time searching for all rules and regulations, select a specialized company or financial advisor that will help you set up your offshore account. Companies such as Cayman Banking Services, Maritime International and Delta Quest can advise you on an appropriate bank depending on your requirements, account activity, amount of funds, etc.
- Choose an offshore bank. Large, international banks often offer greater security and more services, but with higher fees. Be sure to ask if you will be able to access your account by the Internet. It will let you make payments, check your account balance and initiate wire transfers from anywhere around the globe.
- Decide what type of offshore account you want to open: a traditional savings account, a checking account, a money market account, etc. Some banks also offer credit cards, debit cards, loadable ATM cards and safety deposit boxes. Take into consideration what kind of fees will apply, whether you have to maintain a minimum account balance, and of course what interest rate the bank offers. Is the APR tied to the U.S. economy or the local currency of the country where you are going to open an account?
- Fill out forms required to open an account: applications, one or two copies of your most recent utility bill to prove your current residency, a reference from your current bank, a certified copy of photo identification such as a driver's license or passport, etc. Most applications are handled online or by mail.
- Deposit the required amount once the account has been opened (it usually takes 2-7 days after you have submitted the documents and forms to the respective bank). Depending on the jurisdiction and the bank, you may need to start with $1,000 (Antigua, Cyprus, Belize) or you may need to deposit $15,000 (Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, etc). You can send funds by money order or initiate a transfer from your bank. If you are going to make a truly large deposit you can do so in person.
Keep in mind that you will need to communicate regularly with your offshore bank, check your account, deposit and withdraw funds. If your offshore bank is located in a place with a warmer climate, such as the Caribbean or Bahamas, you may visit your offshore bank to combine business with pleasure!