Offshore Banking:
The Definitive Step-By-Step Guide

Ensure everything you've worked for all your life is protected from financial crisis, frivolous creditors and out of control governments with an Offshore Bank Account.

In this in-depth article you'll learn how to legally move a portion of your savings to an offshore bank account that is literally more than 10 times safer than an account in the United States or Europe and pays up to 4.25% interest on USD deposits.

First off— opening an offshore bank account is 100% legal.

These days even the mere hint of the word ‘offshore’ conjures images of criminal activity, money laundering, and tax evasion.

This is a ridiculous, outdated fantasy.

Offshore” is just another way of saying ‘international’ or ‘overseas’.

And the reality is that diversifying your bank accounts internationally is a completely rational, legitimate, and intelligent idea.

Before we get to where and how to open your offshore bank account in this article, let’s examine why everyone should consider banking offshore...

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Why Bank Offshore

Here are the top 3 reasons why everyone should consider opening an overseas bank account.

1) An Offshore Bank Account Protects Your Assets

Without an offshore bank account, your assets are exposed.

If you hold 100% of your funds in the same country that you live and work, you’re taking on some significant legal risk by holding all of your eggs in one basket.

This goes especially if you are living in the United States—the most litigious country that has ever existed in the history of the world.

In the Land of the Free, you can be sued for absolutely nothing… and suddenly all of your assets and all of your savings are up for grabs by frivolous plaintiffs.

Any court or government agency can freeze you out of your bank account with a single phone call without any due process or giving you the chance to make your case.

It’s truly a “guilty until proven innocent” system.

Holding some funds overseas in an international bank account can help provide a little bit of insurance against this risk.

Banking offshore is essentially a zero-cost way of ensuring that, no matter what happens, you’ll always have access to emergency funds.

Who is Offshore Banking for?

Offshore Banking is for honest hard working people who are concerned of obvious frivolous litigation, civil asset forfeiture and constant overreach of government agencies gone wild.

These are legitimate concerns for honest, law abiding people who have acquired their wealth through hard work and legitimate business.

2) Many Offshore Bank Accounts Are MUCH Safer

The unfortunate reality is that a number of banks in the West are in precarious condition.

Of course, few people ever give a thought to bank safety. Most people spend more time thinking about what they’re going to have for dinner than whether or not their bank is safe.

And why should they? We’ve been told our entire lives that banks are safe. After all, the government says so!

Once again, this has turned out to be an outdated fantasy.

The world learned the hard way in 2008 that banks aren’t as safe as they want us to believe.

Suddenly, OVERNIGHT, some of the largest banks in the world collapsed. Wachovia. Lehman Brothers. Washington Mutual. Dozens of banks vanished in an instant.

And very little has changed since 2008.

In Europe we can see a number of major banks, and even entire national banking systems, that are on the ropes.

The Spanish and Italian banking systems have required multiple bailouts. The Greek banking system is in a state of perpetual crisis.

Capital Controls in Cyprus Cyprian woman locked out of her savings during the 2013 banking crisis

In 2013, the banking system in Cyprus became completely insolvent to the point that they had to freeze everyone’s account and confiscate funds from the largest depositors.

In the United States, banks typically maintain extremely low levels of ‘liquidity’, meaning the amount of cash (or cash equivalents) they have on hand as a percentage of customer deposits is dangerously low.

How overseas banks compare to that...

Many banks overseas still follow traditional, conservative banking practices.

They don’t gamble and make crazy loans with their depositors’ hard earned savings.

They hold strong, conservative levels of capital and liquidity, and they’re EXTREMELY careful with their customers’ money.

And unlike Europe and the United States, they’re located in jurisdictions where governments have ZERO debt and their insurance funds are well-capitalized and solvent.

We’re living in the 21st century. Our technology is instant and it spans the globe.

Geography is an irrelevant anachronism, especially in finance.

Don’t choose your bank because of its convenient location to your home or office.

Choose your bank because it’s the BEST, most CONSERVATIVE custodian of your savings…. whether that’s across the street, or across the planet.

Free Guide:
How to determine if an Offshore Bank is safe

Ultimate Offshore Banking Guide Cover

Not all offshore bank accounts are created equal.

If you are not careful, your new bank account may turn out to be an even worse custodian of your wealth than a domestic bank.

Learn the simple steps to determine whether a bank is safe or not inside our in-depth Ultimate Offshore Banking Guide.

Get all the information you would ever need in order to open an offshore bank account inside our Ultimate Offshore Banking Guide.

Free Download:Ultimate Offshore Banking Guide

3) An Offshore Bank might even pay you MUCH higher interest on your US Dollars

Since the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, major central banks slashed interest rates to historic lows.

Literally, interest rates were at their lowest levels in 5,000 years of recorded human history. In some parts of Europe, interest rates were even negative.

Rates have started to climb-- but they’re still FAR below their historic averages.

In most developed countries, in fact, bank interest rates are well BELOW the rate of inflation.

For example, if your bank pays 1%, but the inflation rate is 3%, your savings is effectively losing 2% of its purchasing power each year.

You need to earn AT LEAST 3% each year just to keep up with inflation and ensure your savings doesn’t lose out.

In the United States and Europe, this has become almost an impossibility.

Interest rates are well below the rate of inflation, which guarantees you will lose purchasing power year after year.

But there are a number of jurisdictions around the world where safe, conservative, well-capitalized banks pay MUCH higher interest rates-- even on US Dollar deposits.

If you are already a member of our flagship internationalization service, Sovereign Man: Confidential, you have access to our latest Worldwide Banking Review that shows you several incredibly safe offshore banks that pay up to 4.25% on US Dollar deposits.

Think about it—

Offshore Banking makes sense no matter what...

On one hand, you could hold all of your savings at the bank across the street from your house.

The bank is extremely illiquid, questionably solvent, and is gambling your savings away on the latest investment fad in the banking business.

Your account pays a tiny amount of interest that fails to keep up with inflation.

And in the event that you find yourself on the wrong side of some government agency’s list, even by mistake, you can be frozen out of your account in an instant, depriving you of the funds you need to put food on the table for your family.

On the other hand, you could move a portion of your savings to a safe, conservative bank overseas in a jurisdiction with zero debt and a strong, well-capitalized deposit insurance fund.

Your assets are MUCH more protected, and the account pays a solid interest rate that actually puts money in your pocket year after year.

The choice between the two seems like a complete no-brainer.

But it doesn't mean you have to bank only offshore...

You don’t have to move all your banking offshore and can continue paying your day-to-day bills from your domestic bank account to avoid international transfer fees.

But make sure to consider moving at least a portion of your savings into a safe, stable, highly liquid jurisdiction abroad that is out of reach of your home government and can easily weather a financial crisis.

Where to Open an Offshore Bank Account

These four jurisdictions are some are some of the best countries for offshore banking and excellent choices for a lot of people.

We've spent hundreds of hours analyzing the financial statements of dozens of international banks and doing in-depth boots-on-the-ground research to find the best offshore banks in the world.

And we've found banks in all of these countries that open offshore bank accounts for us citizens and other foreigners.

You might be surprised to learn that none of the banking jurisdictions include tiny islands specialised in offshore services.

That's on purpose, because we found that real international banks that focus on doing business with real people instead of catering to the offshore crowd have significantly better fundamentals most of the time.

Four excellent Offshore Banking Options

1. Offshore Banking in Hong Kong (Our #1 choice)

Offshore Banking in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the world’s most reputable international financial center--  the perfect blend of East and West.

Banks in Hong Kong are EXTREMELY liquid and well-capitalized, and the local government is awash with cash.

The Hong Kong government has such a favorable financial position, in fact, that its “net savings” exceeds 350% of GDP.

(By comparison, the US has the opposite position, with a DEBT level in excess of 100% of GDP.)

This means Hong Kong’s banking system is incredibly sound by the global standards.

In fact, one of the Hong Kong banks we analysed was literally 30 times safer than one of the major US banks.

Hong Kong (along with Singapore) is at the top of a very short list of solvent jurisdictions in the world where we truly and wholeheartedly can recommend opening a bank account.

And many banks in Hong Kong have minimum deposit requirements of as low as US$1,300, which means it accessible to nearly everyone.

Another thing that’s great about Hong Kong is the exposure to the Hong Kong dollar, because...

The Hong Kong dollar is the perfect currency for US Dollar holders…

Right now the Hong Kong dollar is “pegged” to the US dollar at 7.80, +/- a very narrow range.

This means that, for US dollar investors, you could deposit US dollars at a bank in Hong Kong, and then convert those US dollars into Hong Kong dollars (and back) at almost no cost.

Holding Hong Kong dollars makes a lot of sense.

If the US dollar goes through a period of strength, the Hong Kong dollar will mirror that strength.

But if there’s ever a major crisis in the US dollar, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority could simply “de-peg” and revalue the Hong Kong dollar to a much higher level-- thereby preserving your purchasing power.

So holding Hong Kong dollars essentially gives you ALL of the benefits of holding US dollars, but with free downside protection in the event of any major US financial catastrophe.

Although you can hold the Hong Kong Dollar in most banks that offer multi-currency accounts, the best offshore accounts for Americans are in Hong Kong, because of the lower currency exchange rate.

Free Intelligence Report:
How to open an ultra-safe Offshore Bank Account in Hong Kong

Get our free intelligence report, with step-by-step instructions on how to open a bank account in Hong Kong.

How to open an Offshore Bank Account in Hong Kong

Inside you’ll learn:

  • The exact steps you need to take to open one of the best offshore bank accounts in the world
  • Which Hong Kong bank is more than 30 times safer than one of the major US Banks
  • Which Hong Kong banks are still opening accounts for foreigners (even Americans)

Free Intelligence Report Download:How to open an ultra-safe Offshore Bank Account in Hong Kong

2. Offshore Banking in Singapore

Offshore Banking in Panama

When Singapore gained independence half a century ago, it was a backwater with no natural resources.

Today, it is one of the leading financial centers in the world.

Considering Singapore’s foreign reserves and sovereign wealth fund, the country’s financial position is exceptional, with net assets well over 100% of GDP.

In short, there is no chance Singapore is going broke any time soon.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is also solvent, and over the past few decades has proven to be a wise financial regulator.

That’s why Singapore has never had a banking failure in its history, ever.

And while past performance is no guarantee of future results, the entire banking system continues to maintain conservative levels of capitalization and liquidity—certainly much more than banks in the West.

It remains an oasis of financial stability. Its banks are well supervised and well regulated.

We wouldn’t hesitate opening an offshore bank account in Singapore.

That being said, in the past you could open an excellent bank account in Singapore without even leaving home, but it has gotten much harder over the past few years.

Nowadays you will have to visit the island state in person and many banks require substantial minimum deposits now.

3. Offshore Banking in Panama

First, let’s get the elephant out of the room.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are without a doubt aware of the Panama Papers scandal.

Thanks to that, Panama is suffering from an image problem.

Yes, there’s a long list of politicians and crooks who used the services of the Mossack Fonseca law firm to hide income or immorally acquired funds.

But most of the Panama Papers uproar is just ballyhooing by people who don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) how offshore works... or why it’s so essential to the global economy.

Panama is a 100% dollarized economy and you will be dealing with US dollars as a depositor there.

On top of that Panama is just a short flight away from North America, so the physical presence requirement can be easily met if you reside in the States.

We have spent weeks crunching the numbers and visiting multiple banks in the country, and we can tell you that Panama’s banking sector— regardless of what ill-informed, financially illiterate journalists report — is on solid footing.

Panamanian banks are liquid and well capitalized. Additionally, the government’s debt position of 39.1% is pretty manageable.

Here at Sovereign Man we focus on providing objective, rational advice. Here it is:

The Panama Papers scandal should not deter you from considering banking in Panama if that is a jurisdiction that works for you.

On top of that Panama is the easiest place in the world to establish a second residency, which means you can knock out two major Plan B needs with just one visit.

4. Offshore Banking in Liechtenstein

Offshore Banking in Liechtenstein

A tiny German-speaking principality sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria, Liechtenstein, like its Swiss neighbor, has perfected the art of banking.

Liechtenstein has long been known as one of the top asset protection and private banking jurisdictions in the world.

The country is in compliance with all major directives and treaties for anti-money laundering and tax regulation initiatives, and it is rightly seen today as a well-regulated, blue-chip, offshore (technically onshore) destination.

Liechtenstein does not bother providing transactional banking to non-residents and focuses instead on high-end services (and does them extremely well).

If you are looking for a private bank, rather than a transactional bank account, we think Liechtenstein should be on your radar.

Not a single bank in Liechtenstein needed ANY assistance from the state during the global financial crisis. The country’s banks are generally conservative and well run.

Unfortunately, only a few of Liechtenstein’s banks have gone through the trouble and expense of setting up entities licensed as investment advisors with the SEC. Those few are the only ones able to take US persons as clients.

We’ve analysed dozens of offshore banks in over 20 banking jurisdictions...

If you are already a member of our flagship international diversification service, Sovereign Man: Confidential, you can find our latest Worldwide Offshore Banking Review in your member area.

Inside you will find a much more in-depth analysis of dozens of banks in over 20 banking jurisdictions.

It shows you which banks are the safest in the world, which pay the highest interest (over 4% in USD and even more in local currencies) and even gives you step-by-step instructions on how you can open an offshore bank account without leaving home.

How to open an Offshore Bank Account

Even Americans can still open offshore bank accounts. It's even possible to do it remotely without leaving home (more on that below).

But it has become a lot more difficult over the years due to increasing Know Your Customer (KYC) regulation and bureaucracy that banks have to go through in order to deal with US clients.

Nonetheless, all of the banking jurisdictions above accept foreign clients and even Americans. It is still possible today to open a foreign account even though it might take a bit more effort than before.

1) Opening an Offshore Bank Account in Person

Most banks require that you visit a location in person to set up the account.

Sometimes the process can be quite simple, requiring no more than an hour, while in other instances you have to jump through many hoops.

Important Tip:
Not all branches and bank employees are the same. You could go to one branch of the same bank and be rejected and then to another and be welcomed with open arms. If you are at first rejected by a branch, do not despair! Try a few other branches or banks.

The requirements vary from country to country and also from bank to bank, but generally you need to bring at least the following items with you. Always enquire with the bank what information you need beforehand to save yourself time and effort.

  • Personal ID—Most commonly your passport is enough, but some countries, like Australia, require multiple forms of ID, such as a passport, an ID card and a bank card all with the same name.
  • Proof of Address—A utility bill, bank statement or bank reference letter is usually sufficient. Make sure you bring the original instead of a copy or printed e-Statement. Note that in some cases the document is required to be in the local language or English.
  • Minimum Deposit—Many banks require you to deposit a certain amount of money shortly after opening an account. The sums differ from bank to bank and can be as low as a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars for some private banking solutions.
  • Bank Reference Letter (Not always required)—A bank reference letter is a letter from a bank that you already have an account with, which confirms you have had an account over a certain period of time in good standing. It is a very common document and your bank should be able to prepare it for you.
  • Personal Reference or Introduction (Not always required)—Some banks will not open bank accounts for new customers without someone credible first vouching for them.We have been able to establish relationships with many of these more exclusive banks, which have made it possible for our Sovereign Man: Confidential customers to open accounts with them.

Questions you should consider asking:

When opening a foreign bank account it pays to be prepared and to consider what you will need in advance.

Many bank managers are not used to foreigners opening bank accounts and may not consider things that are simple to set up while you are there, but difficult to do once you have left.

Here are some things to check on while you’re setting up the account:

  • How to setup and use online banking
  • Whether you need an additional security device for online banking
  • What restrictions are there for large money transfers and how you can authorise them
  • Whether the bank card you are receiving works internationally and whether they have additional debit card types
  • Whether the bank card you are receiving is a debit card that can be used for online payments (Visa or MasterCard)
  • Whether you can receive a (secured) credit card to be able to make online payments easily

2) Opening an Offshore Bank Account Online-- Without leaving home

If jumping on a plane to open an account in person is not an option for you at this time, there are still some possibilities.

When opening an offshore account remotely you will generally be required to provide all the same documents outlined in the previous section, but in this situation you will need to mail them notarized copies of your documents along with a personally completed bank application.

Not being able to visit your desired jurisdiction limits your options significantly, because most jurisdictions require a personal visit for Know Your Customer purposes.

Banks that will allow you to open up accounts remotely are difficult to find, but not impossible.

As these things change frequently, your best option is to create a shortlist of countries and banks that fit your requirements and then inquire by phone.

Alternatively, if you are already a member of our premium international diversification service Sovereign Man: Confidential, you can find several options for opening an Offshore Bank Account remotely in our latest "Worldwide Banking Review".

Our team constantly works to make more and better options available to our clients and as a subscriber you will always have access to our most up-to-date research.

How to Ensure your Offshore Bank Account Stays Legal & Compliant

Once again, offshore banking is 100% legal.

Not only is it legal, it’s a smart thing to do. BUT, depending on your home country, there may be disclosure forms to file with your tax authorities.

This is where people run into trouble with foreign bank accounts; whether intentionally or not, they fail to disclose the account. And some countries take those violations very seriously.

The United States is one of them.

If you are a US citizen or US resident, and you have a foreign bank account, you may need to file the following forms:

1) FinCEN Form 114 (also known as the FBAR)

US taxpayers who have a financial interest or signature authority over foreign bank or financial accounts must file this form if the aggregate value of those accounts exceeded $10,000 at any time during the calendar year.

This form includes bank accounts, but also other foreign financial accounts like brokerages or even an offshore precious metals account.

The FBAR must be filed electronically each year by April 15th at this website.

You can learn more about how to file a FBAR form here.

2) IRS Form 8938

This form is required for US taxpayers who hold certain foreign financial assets, including bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and shares of private companies.

The reporting threshold is MUCH higher than the FBAR, and depends on two factors—whether or not you’re married, and whether or not you live in the United States.

For example, a single person living in the United States must file the form if his/her foreign financial assets exceeded $50,000 on the last day of the tax year, or $75,000 at any point during the year.

But a married couple living overseas doesn’t need to file the form unless their foreign financial assets exceeded $400,000 on the last day of the tax year, or $600,000 at any point during the year.

Form 8938 should be filed along with your usual IRS form 1040 tax return.

3) IRS Form 1040 Schedule B

US taxpayers with a foreign bank account should also file a 1040 Schedule B, and check the box in Part III where it asks about foreign financial accounts.

Canadian Offshore Banking Disclosure forms

If you have “specified foreign property”, which includes foreign bank accounts, and total value exceeding CAD $100,000, you’re obliged to disclose those assets to CRA on form T1135.

Videos & Step-By-Step filing instructions.

If you are already a member of our flagship international diversification service, Sovereign Man: Confidential, you can find step-by-step instructions on how to file all of these forms in your member area.

We will also notify you of all the deadlines in advance.

Conclusion & Further Resources

I hope you can see now that opening an Offshore Bank Account and moving a portion of your savings abroad is a no-brainer decision.

It will significantly increase your asset protection and ensure you can easily weather another financial crisis.

But even if none of that happens, you’ll still be better off, because you can for example earn over 4% interest on your US Dollar savings.

Below you can find a list of further resources that will help you make a decision of where and how to open an offshore bank account.

1. Our free resources

Free Intelligence Report:
How to open an ultra-safe Offshore Bank Account in Hong Kong

Get our free intelligence report, with step-by-step instructions on how to open a bank account in Hong Kong.

How to open an Offshore Bank Account in Hong Kong

Inside you’ll learn:

  • The exact steps you need to take to open one of the best offshore bank accounts in the world
  • Which Hong Kong bank is more than 30 times safer than one of the major US Banks
  • Which Hong Kong banks are still opening accounts for foreigners (even Americans)

Free Intelligence Report Download:How to open an ultra-safe Offshore Bank Account in Hong Kong

Free Guide:
Ultimate Offshore Banking Guide

Get all the information you would ever need in order to open an offshore bank account inside our Ultimate Offshore Banking Guide.

Ultimate Offshore Banking Guide Cover

  • An analysis of how the banking systems in Hong Kong, Norway and Singapore compare to those in the United States and United Kingdom
  • How to analyse the finances of a bank so you can steer clear of unstable institutions that could jeopardize your savings
  • What US citizens and residents should consider when opening an Offshore Bank Account

Free Download:Ultimate Offshore Banking Guide

2. Our Products

Sovereign Man: Confidential is our flagship intelligence report service informing you about the best places on Earth to safely protect your life, your liberty and your assets.

Our intelligence reports cover everything from new residency or foreign banking options to how to reduce, defer, or even eliminate your taxes, to incredible investment picks.

Members have recently received our latest Offshore Banking Review where we did an in-depth analysis on over 20 offshore banks and banking jurisdictions.

Inside you will learn which banks are the safest in the world, which pay the highest interest (over 4% in USD and even more in local currencies) and how exactly you can open an offshore bank account without leaving home.

Click here to learn more about Sovereign Man: Confidential.

Sovereign Man: Explorer is your essential introduction to international diversification, a guide to ensure you have access to the most important tools to build your own Plan B.

With Sovereign Man: Explorer, you’ll learn...

  • How to strategically, legally and intelligently structure and implement your personal Plan B
  • How to secure a portion of your savings an incredibly safe offshore bank account
  • How to establish residency abroad and qualify for a second passport
  • How to buy and hold precious metals at one of the safest storage facilities in the world
  • Ways to reduce, defer and even ELIMINATE a substantial portion of your taxes

Click here to learn more about Sovereign Man: Explorer.

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