Opening an offshore bank account from a restricted country

I got word yesterday from Belize that their corporate registrar won’t accept clients from Russia any longer. That means anyone holding a Russian passport is prohibited from forming a company in Belize…  The same goes for bank accounts… no more Ruskies.

When Belize blocks you, you’re really in trouble. Hong Kong and Switzerland are one thing, but Belize? Come on now.

It should be pointed out that these rules come down from on high (the United States). The conversation with banking and corporate regulators probably went something like this:

Uncle Sam: Hey Belize, stop opening companies and bank accounts for Russians or we’ll pull your correspondent accounts again and put you on our naughty list!

Belize: Yes sir!

And what happened to the Russian Reset we were hearing about under President Trump? I guess that’s out the window as they fight the media and the Democrats on allegations of collusion.

This got me to thinking. What other countries have a near impossible time opening foreign bank accounts? Which are the restricted countries when it comes to international banking?

I contacted the heads of several offshore banks and compiled this list from their answers.

High Risk Countries – The following countries require “Enhanced Due Diligence”

  1. Egypt
  2. Lebanon
  3. Papua New Guinea
  4. Russia
  5. Tunisia
  6. Vanuatu
  7. Venezuela
  8. Zimbabwe

Banks in most countries aren’t prohibited from accepting clients from these jurisdictions. They’re just urged to use extreme caution in doing so.

As noted above, some countries prohibit Russian citizens. But, in most cases, they can apply… they might not be approved… but they can apply.

One interesting note on Vanuatu. You can find offshore bank licenses for sale from this country all over the web. What a total scam… you’ll never be able to get a correspondent account for a bank licensed in Vanuatu. Don’t even bother to try.

Restricted Countries – You’ll never get an offshore bank account

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Belarus
  3. Burundi
  4. Bosnia and Herzegovina (Balkans)
  5. Central African Republic
  6. Congo, Democratic Republic of 
  7. Cote D’Ivoire
  8. Cuba
  9. Eritrea
  10. Guinea
  11. Guinea‐Bissau
  12. Guyana
  13. Iran          
  14. Iraq
  15. Korea, Democratic People’s Republic‐ North
  16. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  17. Liberia
  18. Libya
  19. Myanmar (Burma)
  20. Somalia
  21. Sudan‐North
  22. Sudan‐South
  23. Syria
  24. Uganda
  25. Ukraine (Crimea)
  26. Yemen
         
    If you don’t have a passport from one of these countries, you have no shot at getting a foreign bank account. Your best bet is to purchase a second passport from a country like Dominica. Then you can use that passport to open the account.

Another solution is to apply for residency in a foreign country and use that to open a local bank account. For example, you can get residency in Panama with an investment of $100,000. Once you have your visa, you can open a bank account at any number of banks.

The catch in the Panama program is that you must have a US or EU visa before you apply for residency from a restricted country. If you have a US visa, it’s relatively easy to get residency in Panama. Without it, you will have a long and hard road.

The reason is simple: Panama figures the US did enough due diligence that they don’t need to worry about you. Your US visa is your ticket to enter Panama… and that ticket, plus cash, can get you residency and a bank account.

I hope you’ve found this article on offshore bank accounts from restricted countries to be helpful. If you would like to purchase a second passport or secure residency and an account in Panama, we’ll be happy to work with you. Please send an email to info@premieroffshore.com and we’ll send you over the program details. Be sure to indicate what passport you hold in your message.