Q Question: Can I open an Italian bank account as a non-Italian citizen and non-Italian resident? What are the requirements and what is the process?

AAnswer: Non-Italian residents are entitled to open non-resident bank accounts (“conto corrente non residenti“), regardless of their citizenship or visa status. One initial in person visit at the bank is normally required. Here more information about requirements and process:

Requirements to open an Italian bank account:

  1. Valid ID (e.g., Passport);
  2. Italian tax code (codice fiscale)*;
  3. Anti Money Laundering (AML) compliance.

* check requirements and process to apply for and obtain an Italian tax code.

Process to open an Italian bank account:

a) Open a bank account in Italy:
The smoothest way to open an Italian bank account typically is to go to an Italian bank in person with your passport and Italian tax code (codice fiscale). The bank representative shall check your identity and go through your personal profile information to comply with the Italian regulations regarding Anti Money Laundering (AML). The bank representative shall therefore ask for your personal information and passport, and ask you to sign a few documents which often are offered only in Italian.

The bank account works immediately or within a few hours after the bank representative has completed entering all needed information into the bank system.

b) Open an Italian bank account remotely (i.e., not being in Italy)
Some Italian banks have branches in other countries or have strong business relationship with banks in other countries so that they are able to perform AML compliance formalities abroad. If you are abroad and you want to open an Italian bank account without going to Italy, you need to find a bank that can screen you for Italian AML purposes and then pass your information onto the Italian bank representatives for them to open an Italian bank account.

Some other banks are able to perform AML checks remotely. For example, as identity proof they ask for the first deposit to be done via money transfer from a bank account in your name that you have with another bank and then they arrange a video interview through the internet.

Non-residents Italian bank account terms and conditions:

Non-resident bank account opening formalities, terms and conditions, policies, etc. vary from bank to bank, and sometimes even between branches of the same bank. In order to avoid delays, it is advisable contacting the local branch prior to your visit, to make sure the local representatives are familiar with non-resident bank accounts and to check in advance requirements and specific policies.

Several banks regularly operate with foreigners and some even have specific packages designed for non-residents.

Some Italian banks offer a full range of services equivalent to those offered to Italian residents and/or European Union citizens. These typically include: on-line banking, cheque books (a/k/a check books), automatic utility bill payment, debit card and credit card. Other banks only offer a basic service for the bank account to those who are not residents. Local branches, especially in small villages, could refuse to supply their standard services to non-Italian residents just because they are unaware that their head office has provided for this scenario.

However, a non-resident bank account implies, for the bank, a number of time consuming formalities and compliance requirements. Therefore, most banks will not open a non-resident bank account unless it is instrumental to manage a more profitable (for the bank) bank product. For example, banks that issue mortgages to non-Italian residents will have no problem opening a bank account for the non-resident mortgage borrower.

Sometimes it can be opportune, though not always necessary, to appoint an Italian domicile to benefit from more complete services or better conditions. Italian banks do not require the assistance of an Italian lawyer. As said above, basic requirement are just an Italian Tax Code (codice fiscale), a valid ID and in person visit at the bank.

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*The information presented in the Studio Legale Metta web site has been written and reviewed by Italian lawyers. However, it should not be construed to be legal advice, nor promotion of the establishment of a relationship between lawyer and client. The case studies and answers contained in this web site pertain to the specific situation referenced and should not be understood to generally apply to other circumstances. Persons accessing this web site are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice concerning their individual needs for legal assistance.
Copyright of Studio Legale Metta – Bari (Italy).

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