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It may not be the best known destination, but the Republic of Georgia has a lot to offer expats looking to explore and settle somewhere new. If you’re considering a move to Georgia, one of the first things you’ll need to do is open a bank account.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about opening a bank account in Georgia.
Unfortunately it’s not usually possible for an individual to open a bank account from abroad - even online - unless you’re a Georgian living overseas, and maintain a local Georgian phone number.
If you’re a US citizen you’ve probably got a couple of options. You could look into the option of engaging a local lawyer in Georgia and granting them power of attorney, so they can work with you to get your account open.
This service isn’t always available for all account products, or for all banks - so do double check before you get started. Or, you could consider getting an international account from a global banking brand which may let you open your account from the US and continue to transact when you move.
However, in this case you may struggle to find accounts which support GEL, as it’s not the most commonly traded currency on a global level.
There’s no legal reason why a non-resident can’t open a bank account in Georgia. However, as each bank sets its own policy, you’ll need to review a few to see if the account you’re interested in is available to non-resident customers.
Not all banks will offer accounts to non-residents, and foreigners wishing to open a bank account will often need more proof of identity than Georgian residents.
Bear in mind also, that online account opening isn’t the norm in Georgia, so even if you find a bank which has a non-resident account you like, you’ll probably have to visit in person to set up your account.
To open your account you’ll usually need to visit a bank branch, show your documents, and fill out a form or two. If you can’t speak Georgian you may want to bring a translator.
While English is fairly commonly spoken in the country, it’s not a good idea to expect it; you can also make an appointment at the bank of your choice and ask for an English-speaking banker.
Foreigners hoping to open a bank account in Georgia are likely to need the following documents:
There are a multitude of banks to choose from in Georgia, many of which are local. That being said, it’s possible to select a larger international institution for your personal banking. The most popular banks in Georgia include:
The Bank of Georgia¹ is one of the biggest and most trusted banks in the country. Web services are available in English.
Customers at the Bank of Georgia can choose products and services including:
TBC² is another massive Georgian bank, with account services, cards and a selection of additional financial products for Georgian residents, as well as comprehensive and easy to use options for Georgians living abroad.
|Options available include:|
Liberty³ is another large, trusted and popular bank in Georgia. Liberty customers can access a full suite of common financial services and products including:
Basis Bank has recently taken over VTB Bank, increasing its network of 21 branches around the country. Basis is known for offering individualized service and attention.
|Customers at Basis can access:|
No matter where you bank, you’re going to run into fees for everything from account maintenance to withdrawals and transfers.
The most common fee types are discussed below, but it’s always a good idea to research your bank’s individual price list.
While withdrawals from your own bank’s ATMs - or from partner bank ATMs - typically won’t come with any fees, withdrawals from other banks will cost you. Using an ATM overseas will usually mean paying a fee to your own bank, and one to the ATM operator.
Costs can be even higher if you run into dynamic currency conversion, which is well worth looking out for - and avoiding.
While checking accounts usually come with a pretty nominal fee structure, you should expect to see some kind of account maintenance charge, usually about 2 GEL to 5 GEL per month.
The fees you pay on a monthly basis may actually buy you a few free transactions, which can vary based on the bank and the account package you select. Premium account products are also available which will come with much higher fees, but some extra perks too.
If you’re sending money from the US to Georgia or vice versa, check out the fees for international transfers from the banks you use.
Bank international transfer fees can include several separate charges which aren’t always easy to spot, so reading through your account fee schedule isi essential.
All in all, banking in Georgia is pretty simple. Having financial freedom means enjoying all the country has to offer - from unique Georgian cuisine to breathtaking countryside excursions. Good luck opening your bank account in Georgia!
Sources checked on 10.19.2023
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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