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Liechtenstein is a small country, but thanks to its active financial service and tourism sectors, is relatively well known with a fairly large expat community. If you’re an expat considering Liechtenstein as a next destination, you may be wondering what the process of moving your financial life there will look like.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about opening a bank account in Liechtenstein.
Several banks in Liechtenstein offer online account opening services for people who live in the country, or who are cross border commuters from countries like Switzerland, Austria and Germany. However, if you’re not a resident in a local European country, you may not be eligible for online account opening.
It’s also helpful to know that anyone who isn’t a full time resident in Liechtenstein may have a smaller range of account products to choose from, and may need to make a high deposit to access an account.
It’s possible to open a bank account as a non-resident in Liechtenstein, but the experience differs vastly depending on the applicant. Some banks offer individual banking packages that provide non-resident customers with additional credit cards and e-banking for fixed price monthly fees.
The banks may require high volume deposits or a lot of paperwork to support your application - which may need to be made in person in a branch.
As a US citizen, or a Green Card holder, it’s worth knowing that some banks may restrict access to products due to the increased regulatory requirements needed to offer accounts to US persons.
You may need to complete a questionnaire as part of your application which covers your citizenship or residence status, tax liabilities and connections to the US. Whether or not you can then open an account will come down to the bank’s judgment and policies.
If you’re struggling to open an account in Liechtenstein as an American non-resident customer, it’s worth reaching out to the banks you prefer, to see which services they may be able to offer you.
Some banks offer online account opening services for residents from Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Germany or Austria. However, for non-resident clients you’ll usually find you need to visit a branch in person.
Many banks ask you to connect with them by email, to discuss your needs and establish whether there are products which will suit you, before you make an appointment to open an account.
Either way, it’s a good idea to call the bank you prefer beforehand and request information about the process as requirements and process may vary.
While the exact documents will vary from bank to bank and by your desired account type, the following documents should be all you need to get started:
Liechtenstein is home to a good selection of retail banks, as well as banks which have more of a focus on high wealth individuals, corporate investors and business customers.
Unless you're planning to move large sums, retail banks are a good place to start, with a selection of services and products running from everyday banking tools, to more complicated investment and wealth planning services.
LLB¹ is a 150 year old bank with branches in Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. LLB provides private and corporate banking services in addition to individual banking packages that offer credit cards and the usual suite of services expected from a bank.
VP Bank² is one of the largest banks in Liechtenstein’s financial center. The bank specializes in asset management and is geared towards private clients.
Among its offerings are accounts which can theoretically be opened by non-resident clients, although some restrictions may apply to US citizens depending on your residence and tax status.
|VP Bank offers:|
Sigma Bank³, which used to be known as Volksbank, offers asset management and online banking, as well as a broad selection of other private, retail and credit banking packages.
As a premium bank, Sigma promotes the fact that you’ll have one single point of contact at the bank for all your financial needs.
Most retail banks charge a fixed, all-inclusive monthly rate that covers all expenses. The rates come in a number of packages that are targeted towards local residents, residents from surrounding countries and a more expensive plan for non-residents.
On top of those fees, you may find various miscellaneous charges, like the ones noted below.
Retail banks in Liechtenstein may offer free withdrawals from their own network ATMs - but withdrawals abroad may be subject to additional fees that should be verified with the bank in question. It’s always a good idea to keep these helpful hints on foreign ATM fees in mind.
A monthly fixed fee is applicable to accounts opened in Liechtenstein. This fee typically covers all normal banking expenses.
Non-resident account options are likely to have the highest of all banking package fees, and you may also need to make and maintain a pretty high deposit amount to avoid extra fees or account closure.
As an expat in Liechtenstein you’ll likely need to send international payments from time to time. Banks will charge a fee for most international transfers - costs are often waived for payments in the Eurozone or in CHF - but if you’re sending money to the US, you can expect a fixed charge, plus extra charges in the form of a markup on the mid-market exchange rate.
Using a specialist money transfer service like Wise can be convenient and quick, and mean you get a fast transfer with transparent fees. Use this guide to decide how best to manage your money in Liechtenstein - and good luck with your new adventure.
Sources checked on 10.19.2023
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