Still the easiest place in the world to open an offshore bank account

Written by Andrew Henderson
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Dateline: Tbilisi, Georgia

I spent much of the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul reading a personal development a friend recommended to me. While I’m typically rather impatient when it comes to long tomes, I found this one fascinating.

It’s the kind of book that you immediately want to recommend to everyone you know. That’s how powerful it was.

And for quite some time now, I’ve been talking about the same effect for planting flags in Georgia. I’ve apparently even gotten a reputation for being “the Georgia guy”; a friend of mine who is moving here told his friends, only to be told “you must follow that Andrew Henderson guy”.

I won’t re-hash how Georgia has quickly become highly capitalist and one of the most free economies in the world. Or how it’s one of my best countries in the world for business.

Nor will I re-hash how I went from not buying real estate here, to buying a property of my own, which is currently under construction.

Today, I want to talk about banking in Georgia.

While offshore banking around the world — from the Caribbean to Asia — has become more and more difficult (especially for US persons), Georgia is hands down the easiest place in the world to open an offshore bank account today.

How Easy is it to Open an Offshore Bank Account?

A lot of offshore banks around the world are facing big challenges right now. As high-tax jurisdictions continue their rampage against capital flight, countries like Belize have seen their international banking hubs severely impacted.

One bank there has already gone under.

It’s not that the banks themselves are always a problem — although some are — rather, the problem is that they are tax havens in the backyard of the United States.

Occasionally, one of the less than professional bankers on some island allows a suspected terrorist to open an account there, and all hell breaks loose.

Meanwhile, jurisdictions like Hong Kong are burying many foreign depositors in paperwork as they strive to join the tax lovers at the OECD, and most banks have increased their standards. (My clients and I use one bank that is still easy to deal with, but it’s a small bank and hard to get in without an introduction.)

A jurisdiction like Georgia hasn’t seen such problems precisely because it’s not a tax haven, nor is it a large offshore financial center. It’s not even on the radar of the vast majority of people.

So, what is the easiest way to open an offshore bank account here?

Why Georgia is a “new safe haven”

Several of my in-the-know clients have told me that they agree with my position on Georgia. I know several wealthy individuals who bank here and get top-notch service by depositing as little as $50,000.

Service here reminds them of the “good old days” of private banking in countries like Hong Kong, where banks like HSBC are now impossible to deal with.

In fact, as I have written before, it’s possible to open a bank account in Georgia with as little as $7 (actually, $8.38 at today’s exchange rates).

The process at my favorite banks takes as little as ten minutes. If you’re a US citizen or have US indicia, you’ll be asked to fill out a few forms for the IRS, but that’s about it.

You don’t need piles of paperwork or anything like that. You basically just show up with the cash in your wallet, make a minimal deposit, and get started.

Once you’re in the door with a particular bank, opening additional bank accounts is quite easy. Georgian banks don’t offer remote account opening, but service, once you’ve opened at least one account, is good, and you can handle most account functions from home after you get set up.

In fact, online banking for the Georgian banks I deal with is refreshingly simple. Almost stupidly simple. For as much as I love banking in Singapore, banks there sure do give you a lot of codes, PINs, and access numbers to remember.

In Georgia, it’s simple. You can move money between Georgian lari, US dollars, and Euros in a single click. Exchange rate spreads at the bank are extremely small; if you’re making a really large deposit, you can get one-way spreads as little as 0.13% on the street.

That means it costs $1.30 to change $1,000 from USD to GEL. Dirt cheap.

How to open a bank account in Georgia

You don’t need a lot to get started banking in Georgia. Far and away the biggest challenge will be flying to Georgia to appear in person.

Once you’re there, however, the process is easy. There are so many banks here, but it’s the country’s business-friendly laws, rather than the specific policy of one bank, that makes the account opening process so easy.

That said, there are some banks I’d suggest avoiding. On the one hand, I have a friend who is on the board of directors of a mid-sized bank and he told me that he’d feel comfortable depositing up to $10 million in his favorite two banks.

On the other hand, he would be more careful in the smaller banks and avoid a few of them entirely. He and I are both fully confident in the best banks to manage our cash wisely; you just need to do your homework and choose the best bank for you.

In addition to ease of opening, Georgian banks offer both ATM and debit Visa Electron cards that can be used anywhere in the world Visa is accepted. It’s also a great tool to have for booking travel online in Europe, as Electron cards incur lower transaction fees from cheap airlines.

While bank fees here are rather low, interest rates are quite high. We’ve discussed how 5% interest rates on short-term US dollar term deposits aren’t out of the norm; and if you’re willing to bet on the Georgian lari, you can earn even higher yields. (Be aware that the currency has dropped 25% since I was here last December.)

Opening an offshore bank account is an easy way to diversify your finances, and if you’re willing to get on a plane, I’d strongly consider Georgia for its ease of account opening and maintenance.

I might even be so bold to say that it’s the best place to go right now if you’re looking to deposit a mid-sized sum.

Banking, however, is just one of several flags I am planting in Georgia and recommend to you. Due to increased interest in bank accounts, companies, real estate, and investments in Georgia, I’m considering hosting a small mastermind event here next Spring to help clients who are interested in taking advantage of what I believe could be “the next America” or “the next Singapore”.

If you’d be interested in working with me to plant flags and look at investments here, apply for a Strategy Call so we can determine your best options as part of a personalized and completely legal offshore plan.

Andrew Henderson
Last updated: Dec 27, 2019 at 7:09PM

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39 Comments

  1. Derrek

    What are some of the best offshore banks that I do not need to attend to invest? I am graduating college and want to put money in a foreign bank account and invest in Asian stocks. The problem is I am from the USA and am not able to travel to another country before I invest or put my money in another bank account.

    Reply
    • Jim

      You can invest in Asian stocks through a US brokerage without leaving home. The cost and paperwork will be less.

      Reply
  2. Palo Ucnik

    I am surprised people are not looking more to central european countries with their bank needs. Super easy to open account for foreigners, to incorporate companies too. Even anonymous. Connection to major airports is good, bank services, cards, accounts are top notch and with just a bit of research you can have it anonymous too.

    Reply
    • Sue

      Hi does anyone know if opening a PCC company in Europe with a bank account. I have back issues so its difficult for me to fly.

      Reply
    • Peter Jones

      Hi , what countries in Central Europe offer anonymous banking ? I would love to know.
      Thanks .

      Reply
  3. Chris Wilde

    Hey Andrew, your article intrigued me and I would really appreciate your help with this matter.

    I recently registered a Hong Kong company and I am in urgent need of a bank account for it.

    Would you recommend Georgia?
    Is it easy to open a company bank account there without being a resident?
    What documents would I need apart from the incorporation papers of my company?
    Is the online banking efficient?

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply
  4. Fred

    Hi Folks, I am really interested in two things: an Offshore Company (franchise) and an Offshore Bank account. I am based in South Africa and would gladly appreciate if you could lead me with the best destination you may have experienced. I have already noted Georgia (bank account)…but still wondering whether an offshore company would work in there as well. Please advise.

    Reply
    • Andy

      Fred
      I am also in South Africa
      Contact me we can talk

      Reply
  5. Dennis

    Hi can you advice me how to open a bank account for my Hong Kong Company or Seychelles Company?

    Reply
  6. Vincent

    Hi,
    Can you tell me what documents I would need to open a personal account in one of the bigger banks. Thanks

    Reply
  7. Andre L

    I opened a corporate account for my HK corporation, and about 6 months later had the bank issue a new demand that they knew could not be met. In this case it was an apostilled certificate of incumbency that wold be needed to conine onine banking. Only the HK high court can apostille, and they only do so for documents they issue. The Georgian bank (TBC) knew of this, but wouldn’t allow for me to provide them a notarized certificate of incumbency. This requirement was never mentioned when I opened my account, but rather dropped on me when time came to renew my corporation. The bank abruptly became rude and intolerant (Nara Shengelia, this is you! ). As I wasn’t going to fly to Tbilisi every time I wanted to make atransaction, I finally had to withdraw all my money aND dis continue the account. I assume this all transpired due to the fact that I am American. With the growing pressures of FATCA, the bank wanted me out. So they conjured a demand that coukdn’t be met.

    I’m surprised that nobody has reported a similar story. I think all the hype on Georgia is unfounded. You’ve been warned.

    Reply
      • jc

        crytpo has been a far better alternative for me personally…

        Reply
        • Mr. Pink

          Exactly! Crypto is the solution for all these problems.

          Reply
  8. Dave James

    Andrew, this web site is very intriguing. I was searching for info on bank accounts that reward the depositors with decent rates. Georgia sounds good. Your experience in opening safe & secure accounts is what I need . There must be ways to accomplish this without traveling! I would appreciate your input. Thanks!!

    Reply
  9. Mohammad shamim ahamed

    I am interested. Please communicate with me.

    Reply
  10. sunny

    which book did you read

    Reply
  11. Joseph Somah

    how can a foreigner Open a Bank acount in another country?

    Reply
  12. Bruce R

    Where can I open a bank account that is connected to an on-line brokerage account so I can do daily penny stock trading?

    Reply
  13. Yasmin

    Hi. We are a company established in Malaysia and are looking into having an offshore account. Please advise on the steps to be taken. Thanks.

    Reply
  14. str91

    Hey andrew
    This was a nice article.Thanks for that
    It really got me into going to georgia and open a bank account.
    Could i please ask you a question?
    Aside the passposrt that they ask what about the address document? should it be in english? and what about if it is not?
    i know that some passports have address on them but some dont. mine does not have thus i will need to prove my address somehow and present a document.But do not know which one they will ask for.
    i would be grateful if you could help me out with that.my country of residence is greece by the way.
    thank you in advance

    Reply
    • Marina Ivin

      Hello, thank you for your interest.
      Could you please email to [email protected] and we’ll see how we can help you.

      Reply
  15. Just a random Brazilian woman

    I’m from Brazil. How/where can I open an offshore account? What’s is the easiest (and cheap/low fee) bank without residency ?

    Reply
  16. Antonio

    thank you an awesome information pack for everyone considering for a change.

    Reply
  17. Bridget

    Interesting article. I have tried the past two years to open various offshore accounts for Sterling and USD but as I am resident in Turkey (UK national) many of the banks like HSBC and now Lloyds International dont want to know. HSBC would only give an account with 50,000 on deposit and if that money did not come from trading linked to Turkey. It has become almost impossible for expats to find secure offshore banks for their money especially if they have little to deposit. The last time I researched I was left with the options of Bank of India or Bank of South Africa. Neither of which seemed particularly good to me. Would welcome any suggestions?

    Reply
  18. Jack

    Hi Andrew
    If I fly to Georgia could you or one of your pretty assistants pick me up at the airport and act as a guide to the city?
    I am interested in the real estate market, opening a bank account, and residency visa.
    Any recommendations on where to stay?
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Stasa Momcilovic

      Hello Jack,

      Thank you for your comment!
      If you are interested you can send us your application and we’ll see how we can help you.
      Here is the link https://nomadcapitalist.com/apply

      Reply
  19. Alex Wong

    Hi Nomads,

    I will be traveling to Tiblisi soon to open some bank accounts. Apart from my passport, what documents do I need to bring. Also, is there any restrictions in repatriation of currencies? And are there limits as to the amount of funds I can transfer to these accounts?

    Cheers

    Alex

    Reply
  20. Lawrence

    Is it as easy to open a corporate bank account in Georgia as it is a personal one?

    Reply
  21. Ixone Elosegui

    Hi, we have a Trading Company in Hk and the bank account at the HSBC. Without no explanation and without any illicit action made from our side, HSBC just closed our account without any explanation. Already know other trading companies also happened the same. The problem now is that opening a bank account in HK is now almost impossible. Is there any bank specifically you can recommend me that might be “less complicated” to deal with?

    Reply
  22. Al Meeker

    You make the statement that CAPITAL SECURITY BANK has 100 percent liquidity. That is pretty hard to do in the banking field. Their statement shows they do make loans although you state that they do not. Their statement also shows they invest in securities and other investments and to most of us when you make an investment you have risk and your $$ are not available immediately. Also this bank does not have much Net Worth for a bank and I am reasonable sure, from your statements, your Net Worth is more than this bank.
    I have no experience in foreign banks so perhaps I am just being naive. At any rate I think you should evaluate your statement of 100% liquidity.

    Reply
  23. Tori

    Comment
    Thanks for the useful article, I was interested in the types of bank accounts and the possibility of opening them in different countries.

    Reply
  24. Just asking

    Is JSC Silk Road Bank a good Georgian bank?

    Reply

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