If you are moving to Canada to work, study, or live, it is important to open a Canadian bank account to help you ease into your new life. It is not easy for non-residents to open bank accounts in Canada and your success could depend on your country of origin. It is important to contact your bank of choice about the possibility of getting a non resident account. You can either visit a bank in person to open an account or you can open bank account online in Canada for non resident. However, online options are not plenty and may not be available to everyone.
Non Resident Bank Account
- A non-resident bank account is an account you can open in a country you don’t live in.
- Non residents accounts are becoming quite popular with online banks and fintechs such as Wise, Revolut, Payoneer, and Zenus.
- Depending on your needs, it is also possible to open a non resident account in the US as well as a Swiss bank account for non residents.
- 1 Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Canada?
- 2 Types of Canadian Bank Accounts for Non-Residents
- 3 Can a Non-Resident Open an Investment Account in Canada?
- 4 Documents Needed to Open a Canadian Bank Account for Non-Residents
- 5 What Banks Should I Choose?
- 6 Common Fees to be Aware of when Opening a Bank Account in Canada as a Non-Resident
- 7 Final Thoughts on How to Open a Non-Resident Bank Account in Canada
Can a Foreigner Open a Bank Account in Canada?
Yes, you can open an account as an individual and for business purposes as a foreigner in Canada. Although it is difficult for a non-resident to open a bank account in Canada, it is possible as long as you provide sufficient documents and identification. Several options are available to open an account in Canada:
- You can use a “Correspondent” Bank to open a Canadian bank account. Correspondent banks are banks that already have relationships with Canadian banks. This means that you an even seek assistance from your home bank provided they have a relationship with Canadian banks. However, it is not guaranteed that you will be allowed to open an account.
- Contact a Canadian Bank and ask about opening an account as a non-resident. This is always the best option.
- Open an International Account. Here, you open an overseas bank account with a Canadian bank. You will need to be a high-net-worth individual and deposit huge amounts of money in your account and maintain high balances.
- Visit Canada to Open an Account. This is another best option in many cases but it is costly.
- Open a Wise Multi-Currency Account. This is the easiest option for opening a Canadian bank account for non-residents. You will get a dedicated Canadian bank account number, transit number, and institution number. However, it does not come with all the functionalities of a regular bank.
Types of Canadian Bank Accounts for Non-Residents
The most popular types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Canada are savings accounts and chequing accounts. Savings accounts allow you to save over a set period of time as you earn interest. Chequing accounts work like current accounts allowing you to receive payments, transfer funds, and pay for your bills. To open an account type that earns interest, you will need to have a Social Insurance Number (SIN) but some banks may not ask for it. You can apply for a Social Insurance Number using a study permit or work permit with your passport.
Can a Non-Resident Open an Investment Account in Canada?
Yes, foreigners are allowed to open investment accounts in Canada. The most common accounts are Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP), Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA), Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), and non-registered accounts. However, this is possible only if you are 18 or 19 years old and above (depending on the province in Canada). You must also have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN).
Documents Needed to Open a Canadian Bank Account for Non-Residents
There are specific documents that foreigners will be required to provide when opening a Canadian bank account. The documents (type and number) you need to provide depend on the financial institution, since different institutions have different requirements. However, all financial institutions will need you to provide current documents/papers that contain your full name. Before opening an account, ask your designated financial institution what additional documents you may need to present and when presenting your documents, make sure you provide original documents. Most banks will ask you to provide any two of the following documents:
- Valid foreign passport
- Driver’s License (Local or International)
- Your permanent residency card or immigration papers (most Canadian banks accept Temporary Residence Permits, work or study permits, or Confirmation of Permanent Residence documents)
- Employee ID card with your picture on it (if you are employed)
- Debit card or bank card with your name and signature on it
- Provincial or territorial health card
- Certificate of Indian status
- Proof of Financials
- Bank Statements
- Identity documents issued by a governmental authority
If you are a newcomer in Canada or intending to relocate to Canada, you can open a no monthly fees and no minimum balance account with Simplii.
When you have the necessary documentation ready, go through the application process and make an initial deposit into your account as required by your bank of choice. After that, you will receive a debit card and your bank account will be ready for use.
What Banks Should I Choose?
You can open a bank account in Canada with several institutions (banks, credit unions, trust companies, and Caisse Populaire. It is crucial to carefully research the credibility of the bank or financial institution before you open an account. Your choice of bank will also depend on the functions you want for your account, fees and charges, interest on your savings, or if there is insurance on your deposit. Some of the most common local banks you can go to include the following:
- Bank of Montreal (BOM)
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
- Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
- Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD Bank)
- National Bank of Canada
- Laurentian Bank
- HSBC Bank Canada.
Common Fees to be Aware of when Opening a Bank Account in Canada as a Non-Resident
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a financial institution in Canada is the fees. Different institutions may offer different fees but the most common fees you need to know about include the following:
- Monthly fees. Most Canadian banks will charge a monthly fee for holding a bank account with them. To avoid this fee, hold a certain amount of money in your bank every month (not possible in all banks though).
- Foreign transaction fees. You could incur some fees when you use your debit card overseas.
- ATM transaction fees. Some banks offer a limited number of free ATM transactions. When you exceed the limit, you pay for the extra transactions. Also, some banks charge a fee for non-network ATM transactions.
- Debit transaction fees. Some accounts come with monthly debit transactions fees and exceeding this limit will require you to pay for each extra transaction.
- Interac E-transfer fees. The Interac E-transfer service allows you to send funds across different banks or financial institutions in Canada. It is advisable to ensure that your bank of choice has no limits or charges associated with this service.
- Overdraft fees. If you happen to use more than you have in your bank account when making payments, some banks will cover the payment for you and ask for an overdraft fee afterward (it may cost you more than you should pay). To prevent this, you can request your bank to set up direct deposit which allows your account to be charged automatically. This helps to maintain your account’s minimum balance and prevent overdraft fees.
Final Thoughts on How to Open a Non-Resident Bank Account in Canada
It is possible to open a non-resident bank account in Canada. However, it is important to know that different banks and different accounts have different fees, withdrawal limits, interest rates, and different perks. Take your time and do some research to find the best bank for your financial needs.