There is no need to use the numerous middlemen websites that may be found using a search engine. Even the slick-looking ones are mostly fake. More and more banks are offering direct offshore bank accounts. Simply compile a list of banks in the country of interest and visit their websites.
Opening an offshore bank account is similar to opening one on your main street; match their requirements, and you’re in. The only difference is that you are not present in person.
1. Is your country accepted?
The first step is to determine whether they will accept your country’s citizens or residents. Swiss banks, for example, do not want US customers because they do not want to deal with the IRS.
If you want to register an account for your company, you must first prove your identity and the legal existence of your company.
DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS IF APPLYING BY MAIL. Make copies that have been notarized by a notary public. Originals can be exploited for identity theft or fraud or even lost.
A Notary Public is a state-appointed public official who performs notarial acts. A Notary is an unbiased witness. The notary has the authority to grant an apostille.
Apostille – This is a means of certifying a document for use in another nation in accordance with the 1961 Hague Convention. A document is entitled to recognition in the nation of intended use with this apostille certification, and no certification or legalization by the embassy or consulate of the foreign country where the document is to be used is required.
In effect, this means that you must show this man that you are who you claim you are and/or that your company is what you say it is.
Due diligence: Banks must demonstrate that they have investigated who their customers are and how they obtained their funds.
- Passport – If applying by mail, a notarized copy is required;
- Name, date of birth, address, phone number, and other personal information;
- Your financial history – documentation demonstrating how you make money (job contract, bank statement, tax return, company documents);
- Documents demonstrating how you earned your deposits. Proof of sale, a copy of the estate agent’s listing, and so on if you sell a house;
- Other information regarding your deposits, such as how much you intend to deposit and what you intend to do with the money once it has been deposited.
When opening a company account, you must send an apostilled copy of the certificate of incorporation, as well as proof of your identity, an application form, and any other papers requested by the bank.
If you wish to open an offshore bank account, you should consider going to the bank in person. If possible, visit the country in question and open a bank account once there. This is especially important if you intend to deposit substantial money; find out who you’re working with!
- Never pay a middleman to open a bank account on your behalf.
- Avoid using services that provide bank accounts in Africa or Eastern European countries.
- Avoid websites of banks where:
- The company’s mailing address is a P.O. Box or a ‘Suite’;
- The website is hosted on a free web host;
- The site’s English translation is poor (that’s less a case now, with incerdibly well done translations by automatic translators);
- You get the impression you’re working with Africans or Eastern Europeans;
- The site was not recently updated, for example, the Copyright reads 2001;
- They’ve only been in operation for a few years;
- They sell a variety of dubious products, including second passports, citizenship, and anonymous debit cards;
- You cannot pay by credit card, since refunds on banker’s drafts, Western Union, and e-Gold are far more difficult to obtain;
- You are required to sign a confidentiality agreement, or you receive the impression that you are entering not-precisely legal or illegal terrain;
- When questioning their methods, bogus offshore banking sites may threaten to denounce you to your tax authority. It’s an old con: get the target involved in anything unlawful, and he won’t be able to go to the authorities.
Offshore bank accounts and company formations are identical to their onshore counterparts; there is no mystery involved. If you wish to register a company, contact a local registration agent in the nation of registration who speaks English. Then, using another local agent, double-check what the first one did.
Finally, do not believe that because your bank account and company are offshore, you may conduct business in your home country and/or with fellow residents and escape taxes.
There will be plenty of websites that claim to help you, right up until you receive a small brown envelope from your country’s tax inspectors calling you in for a chat.