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Old 07-17-2015, 12:02 PM
 
Location: From Michigan. Now in Memphis, TN
130 posts, read 197,410 times
Reputation: 181

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Hello, I am spending a year in Belgium and I will be receiving a stipend and I would like access to ATMs and to a credit or debit card. I read that the IRS has now severely complicated banking abroad for US nationals as it requires a W-9 that must be approved by the IRS to open an account abroad and this can take months to be approved.

So I wondered are there any international banks that I could open a checking account with here in the US before leaving and then simply continue using once I get there? It sees ING and BNP operate in Belgium. Is it as simple as open an account at a US ING branch and withdraw from a Belgian ING branch?
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:17 PM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,590,084 times
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You can use an ATM at any bank, you don't need to have an account there.

You might save "other bank" withdrawl fees if your US bank has an agreement with a bank in the region you are traveling to.
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:23 PM
 
Location: From Michigan. Now in Memphis, TN
130 posts, read 197,410 times
Reputation: 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
You can use an ATM at any bank, you don't need to have an account there.

You might save "other bank" withdrawl fees if your US bank has an agreement with a bank in the region you are traveling to.
I have to be able to direct deposit at the bank which is why I need a bank that has branches in the US and Belgium if that is even possible.
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Old 07-17-2015, 01:15 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
12,685 posts, read 8,750,439 times
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I'm no expert, but unless you can open up a EURO account in the US, you are going to have to pay any bank to change your USD to Euro's.

So I would find out which US banks allow you to open a Euro account. This is possible in Canada and even the UK I believe, but I'm not sure about the US.

Don't forget to ask about ALL fees etc.

The best people to find out are going to be the banks...
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Old 07-17-2015, 01:23 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 17,405,522 times
Reputation: 19654
Ask ING: https://www.ing.be/en/expats/Pages/non-resident.aspx
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Old 07-17-2015, 04:30 PM
 
4,687 posts, read 2,316,319 times
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Does your city have a BBVA Compass? We have that (recent, since about 5 years) and I was happy to see it as it is the bank I use in Spain. I plan to open an account before I return to Spain, just to have extra avenues in case of emergency. But I have to say I have never had a problem using my debit credit card from my hometown bank in Europe - in airports, banks or businesses. I do understand that your case is different as you will need to make your direct deposits.

I think it's a good idea to follow up with ING (saw it advertised heavily in Europe and I have had investments with them myself here stateside before they changed to CapitalOne, so I have confidence in them). You might check to see what banks Belgium owns in the US also. My bank here is owned by a French bank. It's all so intertwined, so you should have no problem.

Just remembered. Next Friday I will see a client (I am a therapist.) and his daughter will be visiting. She is currently living /working in Belgium and she and her husband are on vacation here right now. I would be happy to ask her about reputable banks or try to get other info for you. If you'd like to know sooner than a week from now, I can ask my client to contact his daughter. She is en route to Texas by car from Tennessee.

Let me know.
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Old 07-18-2015, 04:05 PM
 
1,789 posts, read 1,449,386 times
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You are going to want and need a foreign bank account.

Word of caution....Be very careful.

I strongly suggest you speak to tax professional who deals with foreign accounts specifically to make sure you do not run afoul of the IRS

Welcome to the hell that is FATCA and having foreign assets.

You will need to know all about FBAR filing requirements and 8938 filing requirements.

Make sure you have a firm grasp on exactly what extra paperwork needs filed and when the deadline is. Penalties are extremely stiff.

Make sure you are very diligent about reporting any income. Don't forget trivial interest earnings in savings or checking accounts. Forgetting any income could be a ticket to a front row seat in a court room where you will not win.

They have went completely nuts on this. Everyone thinks, I am not a tax cheat trying to hide millions in an offshore account so this stuff doesn't apply to me and the IRS won't be interested in me. WRONG. They are scooping up small fish with the big ones and handing out the same punishments.

To open an account I would bring, passport, drivers license, notarized US bank statement, utility bill and ssn card. I don't know of any requirement to get preapproval from the IRS. You will fill out the FATCA paperwork at the bank and they will file it with the IRS and if your subject to liens they will inform the bank directly. At least this is the way I think it works, I haven't opened a foreign account since the FATCA roll out a few years ago.

Make sure you check ahead of time to see if they will even accept US customers. Many don't want to deal with it, but any large banks should be fine.

I don't know about ING but so far as I know there is no US bank you can open an account in and then walk into a foreign branch and access the account. You would have to open a new account in that branch and transfer money to it. I looked high and low for something like this 15 years ago and was told by many banks that it wasn't possible for them to do that. I finally gave up and opened a foreign account.

If your living there, I would forget it and just open a foreign account.

Also regardless of whether or not your required to file taxes.....FILE THEM. Claim the foreign income credit, if you don't you lose it.

Lastly, I don't care what anyone says, talk to a professional. Small price to pay to prevent big headaches later.
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Old 07-21-2015, 05:32 AM
 
32,073 posts, read 32,974,848 times
Reputation: 14950
I believe HSBC has branches outside the USA as well as in the USA. But as already said you will probably need to open a local Euro account as well your American dollar account.
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