How can a Lebanese open a bank account abroad
EDIT: Lebanese can open accounts on Transferwise, which gives them access to USA/UK/EU and other banking accounts, all without needing to travel at all. It's a great service, used and trusted by many. It's based in the EU and has a good reputation for being save and having low fees. For more information check this guide
I hope everyone is doing fine in this shitty economical situation Lebanon is passing through. In an attempt to help people brainstorm and figure out the best thing for them to do, I'm going to post a couple of threads tackling some of the financial issues related to Lebanon.
This post is targeted to people who already have a lot of cash and aren't knowing what to do with it, it doesn't tackle how to get your money out of the bank.
A lot of people either have high-cash generating businesses, or where able to withdraw a large sum of money early on and are stacking their cash in vaults at home. Furthermore, with the new bank restrictions, most of us had our credit/debit cards international/online limit turned to 0, thus aren't able to use them online or when we travel, which can be humiliating and catastrophic. Until the banks situation in Lebanon improves, here are the list of countries that -until the thread was posted- allows Lebanese citizens to open accounts, giving them international debit/credit cards and allowing them to transfer their money effortlessly.
Again, this post is to help people not stack all their life's saving in a vault at home, there are other options.
Note that the countries in the list aren't definitely safe, you should always check the credit rating. This is just to help people get ideas, do your own research before you commit.
Lebanon's credit rating can be viewed here.
For people who only have a Lebanese citizenship and are living in Lebanon
Documents Required to open a bank account as a foreigner:
- Proof of residency in Lebanon (an official document containing your full name and home address, could be a utility bill or افادة سكن, this document needs to be translated to English with a sworn translator in Lebanon) - Needs to be 3 months old or newer
- Employment letter and/or a CV/Resume (in some cases)
- Temporary SIM from the country (in some cases)
Turkey (Lebanese passport doesn't require visa)
Credit rating: https://tradingeconomics.com/turkey/rating
Banks to Consider: Ziraat Bankası or Kuveyt Türk Bank
Lowest price of round trip plane ticket: 180$ (direct flight)
Georgia (Lebanese passport doesn't require visa)
Credit rating: https://tradingeconomics.com/georgia/rating
Banks to Consider: TBC or Bank of Georgia
Lowest price of round trip plane ticket: 250$ (1 stop flight)
Armenia (Lebanese passport doesn't require visa)
Credit Rating: https://tradingeconomics.com/armenia/rating
Lowest price of round trip plane ticket: 305$ (direct flight)
Inside the Eurozone:
It's more difficult to open a bank account in countries inside the Eurozone, but not impossible. A lot of users mentioned they successfully where able to open bank accounts in European countries without having a residency (only a tourist visa). It's worth noting that banks in these countries might require additional documentations and take much longer to approve your request. Banks in these countries might only accept to open EURO accounts or take months to approve USD accounts. Most banks in the Eurozone will refuse to give out USD credit/debit card (only EUR credit/debit cards).
Some additional documents that might be required (not all of these documents may be required):
- Official paper stating your Lebanese Tax number from the Ministry of Finance, translated to English with a Sworn Translator
- Proof of income (last 3 salary slips, or in case of self-employment, registration of the company in Lebanon, translated to English)
- Proof of employment (letter of employer, dated, specifying the job name)
- Bank statements from Lebanese banks where you had/have your money
- Prove of tax payments in Lebanon
Credit Rating: https://tradingeconomics.com/cyprus/rating
Cyprus requires a tourist visa (schengen visa) for people holding a Lebanese passport, so it's more difficult than the other countries, on the other hand, the cheapest ticket to Cyprus from Lebanon (round trip) is around 35 Euros only with Ryanair.
Cyprus is a member of the eurozone and thus adheres to all the rules of the European union, which generally makes it a very safe country economically.
Credit Rating: https://tradingeconomics.com/poland/rating
Banks to Consider: Bank Millenium
Poland requires a tourist visa (schengen visa) for people holding a Lebanese passport, so it's more difficult than the other countries.
Poland is a member of the eurozone and thus adheres to all the rules of the European union, which generally makes it a very safe country economically.
Requires you to have a residential address in USA, so you can use this option if you have a family member or friend living in USA. Bank of America can open a bank account for you even if you're in USA on a tourist visa.
Note that the bank can ask you to come physically to the branch in case of fraud suspicion, or other severe cases. If your bank account is in a country that requires a visa for Lebanese passport, you might find yourself locked outside your account until you obtain a new visa.
People holding EU/USA/Canada residency or passport
Can generally open a bank account in any country easily, requiring the same mentioned documents. The time to open a bank account is shorter. It's recommended you open a bank account in the country you have residency or citizenship in.
- This post was made by collecting data from Lebanese who have done this before.
- If I made any mistake in this post, please PM so I can correct it.
- Anyone who has more information that thinks is relevant, please PM and I can add it to this post.
- Make sure you do your own research before you send your money anywhere
- If you want to spend your money INSIDE Lebanon, it might be smarter to keep it here.
- Feel free to PM for more details or questions
Good luck everyone.