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Old 04-15-2008, 12:04 PM   #1
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Hi all,

I am a South African Citizen with a need to open an account in USA. Is there any info or "someone in the know" who could give me pointers on how to do this.

I have seen a few options on the internet but as always I am a little carefull about security on the net ??

Has anyone got experience with this and/or any advice..

Thanx

Douw
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:45 PM   #2
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Hi all,

I am a South African Citizen with a need to open an account in USA. Is there any info or "someone in the know" who could give me pointers on how to do this.

I have seen a few options on the internet but as always I am a little carefull about security on the net ??

Has anyone got experience with this and/or any advice..

Thanx

Douw
Are you in the USA? If so, it makes sense. Else, not really worth it. You can always open an account in your country with a bank that does business internationally and is linked into the ATM here in the USA.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:22 PM   #3
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I think that with the new (international) banking laws, you will have to present yourself at a bank and furnish personal information, proof of residence documentation, copies of recent utility bills, etc., etc.

Not that I know for sure!
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:34 PM   #4
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I think that with the new (international) banking laws, you will have to present yourself at a bank and furnish personal information, proof of residence documentation, copies of recent utility bills, etc., etc.

Not that I know for sure!
That's part of my point. No reason to open a US account anyway, even if living here. I have several friends from Europe who seem to do just fine using their ATM here--one who's from Spain and has been in the US on-and-off for 5 years. Another was a student from Germany.... Don't know the SA banks, but probably one has a good relationship with Chase or B of A, etc.

Some folks just seem to want to set up accounts where they go, but it is a hassle, IMHO.
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:15 AM   #5
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I just went to the Bank of America On Line banking site, and looked into opening an on line account. Here is the information that you will need to apply, and this would be appropriate for any US bank.

Information you need to apply:
  • Social Security Number
  • Credit card, debit card, or bank account number
  • Current email address
  • Online Banking ID and passcode (if applicable)
  • Co-applicant's personal information (if applicable — Social Security number, home address, and email address)

Foreigners with a resident visa from the US would have a US social security number in order to pay taxes in the US, so you would in that instance not meet any resistance. However, if you are still living outside the US it might be more difficult.

You might find that a foreign subsidiary of a US bank, or a Canadian bank with branches in the US and your country of residence, might be an easier way to open an account without raising the eyebrows of the regulating authorities.

Your best choice would be to talk with a bank officer to determine what other options are available to you.

J
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by JeanneP View Post
I just went to the Bank of America On Line banking site, and looked into opening an on line account. Here is the information that you will need to apply, and this would be appropriate for any US bank.

Information you need to apply:
  • Social Security Number
  • Credit card, debit card, or bank account number
  • Current email address
  • Online Banking ID and passcode (if applicable)
  • Co-applicant's personal information (if applicable — Social Security number, home address, and email address)

Foreigners with a resident visa from the US would have a US social security number in order to pay taxes in the US, so you would in that instance not meet any resistance. However, if you are still living outside the US it might be more difficult.

You might find that a foreign subsidiary of a US bank, or a Canadian bank with branches in the US and your country of residence, might be an easier way to open an account without raising the eyebrows of the regulating authorities.

Your best choice would be to talk with a bank officer to determine what other options are available to you.

J
Thoughtful of you J, to put this together. My European friends used Chase bank, as I recall, in Europe so they just used their own account from back home while here--that made it very simple for them. B of A is another one that may have international branches since they're also very big. ING bank is international but I think they're savings/investments not checking...
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:17 AM   #7
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Douw,

Where are you located? - Info, Standard Band have tie up with Citi Bank - therefore if you bank with Standard see them to get an On Line Account with Citi in the LA area.

Travellers Checks are a good safe way to carry a large amount in large denominations - American Express give very good loss cover. I recently arranged a conference which required the conference treasurer from Canada to bring a large amount of money to pay hotel bill etc - she used AMEX's TC's - see their LINK

Otherwise arrange with your S.A. bank to cover your credit card payment up to an agreed amount on a pre-arranged code to be transmitted when you intend using it.

Richard
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Old 04-16-2008, 03:31 PM   #8
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Hi Richard,

Thanks to all for the advice..

I had already researched some banks like HSBC, Standard, Zion,ABSA,Citi via Standard Bank etc.

I realise that I can use my SA based visa cards overseas and that a Diners Club or Amex can be paid from here as well.... I posed the question and maybe did not supply enough detail...

I am at the moment a SA citizen as mentioned... I am moving my wife and 2 kids to USA within the next two months.

I will follow at a later stage and then the idea is to keep going for a few years.

I do however need to move my money to another country as we are IMHO facing a period where the Rand (our currency) will weaken significantly against world currencies in the next few years.

All my taxes etc. are up to date and current.. I will therefore get a clearance certificate from the SA revenue services to take money out as a traveler on a holiday visa. This will not create a big enough amount to get all of it out...

My question was more aimed towads finding out if anyone had dealings with offshore banks and the chance of creating that while I am still here in SA or if there is any dangers in doing this..

My wife ,Shandy, studied in USA for a few years in the early 90's and still has a current social security number.

I as mentioned before will be wanting to buy a 2nd hand cat in the USA after I arrive there... so I thought that a US account would make things easier ?

So if anyone has some more advice for me it would be appreciated.

Thank you

Douw
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:32 AM   #9
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Douw,

From the additional information given - My understanding is that it appears there are 2 separate issues :-

#1. Bank account in the the US. On this one, because your wife has a current Social Security Number in the US - she should be able to open an account with all the other documentation as mentioned above by Jeanne.

#2. The issue which is the real problem is foreign currency -- 1$US = 7.86147 ZAR -

1 ZAR = 0.127203 US$

Investments

South African residents (natural persons) who are taxpayers in 'good standing' and over the age of 18, may invest up to R750,000 ($95,400) abroad, to be dealt with freely in any manner. A Tax Clearance Certificate (in respect of foreign investments) must be presented to the bank. These funds can be invested abroad or in a foreign currency account with South African local banks. Individuals who utilise this facility may not enter into any transactions whereby capital or the right to capital will be directly exported from the Republic i.e. may not enter into a foreign commitment with recourse to South Africa.

Note: passive income from overseas dividends and interest will be taxed and legislation is in place to this effect.

Travel Allowances

Foreign bank notes and other foreign currency instruments of exchange are allowed to persons who are permanent residents of South Africa within specified limits when proceeding for visits abroad.

A travel allowance may be made available at the respective rate of R140 000 per adult and R45 000 per child under the age of 12 years, per calendar year for one or more visits outside the CMA. In according a person a travel allowance, the foreign exchange made available per applicant may be provided in any form including travellers cheques, foreign bank notes and credit and/or debit cards. 2 adults + 2 Children = R 370,000 ($47,000) per year.

Depending where you are in SA - I can give you a contact who will be able to offer other information. In the meantime here is a good link that may cover some of your concerns =

Click HERE

Richard
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:21 PM   #10
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Back in the 80s when very few countries would allow South Africans in, and when getting money out of RSA was very difficult, we met many SA yachties who put their savings into a new boat and sailed away, living on and in their money. For many of them, they had to live like second-class citizens in the few countries that allowed them in, working illegally and living from hand to mouth. I don't advocate trying that, nor do I expect that would be the answer to your predicament. You run a terrible risk trying to smuggle cash into the US, because the penalties if you are caught are severe.
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