How to open an account in a Spanish bank

At the height of the financial and economic crisis, which occurred at the beginning of the outgoing decade, it was not difficult for a non-resident to open an account in a Spanish bank. The vast majority of banking organizations in the country opened an account for foreigners, especially if it was intended for the purchase of real estate in Spain. At that time, Spain had a large backlog of new housing or repossessed housing from individuals who had failed to complete their mortgage payments.

Therefore, having a pre-contract for the purchase and sale of real estate in hand was sufficient grounds for opening an account in a Spanish bank. Problems could arise with the subsequent transfer of large sums from offshore companies – first of all, if the amount transferred or brought “in hand” exceeded the cost of the apartment, which could be regarded as an attempt at money laundering.

However, after the restoration of the banking system, it became much more difficult for a non-resident to open an account in a Spanish bank, for two main reasons:

  • threat of capital laundering;
  • corruption.

Although the corresponding law was adopted back in 2010. For citizens of other countries who have a residence permit and property owned or leased, often only a foreign passport, resident card, NIE (foreigner identification number) and registration are sufficient, although some banks also ask you to attach an employment contract.

This can be beneficial in the future from the point of view of obtaining a loan, since the higher the salary, the more favorable the terms of the potential loan. It should also be remembered that there are restrictions on cash withdrawals from cash registers (600-1000 euros per day) or bank branches (depending on the bank or conditions).

How to open a Spanish bank account for a non-resident


All of the above does not mean that opening an account in a Spanish bank for a non-resident is an insoluble problem. The Central Bank clearly states that a foreigner without a Spanish residence permit has the same right to open an account in a Spanish bank. Another thing is that not all banks are accommodating to citizens of foreign countries (primarily those outside the EU and the Schengen area) and sometimes refuse them under various pretexts.

Another move in this direction is that employees of a financial and credit institution require such a voluminous package of documents (including translation into Spanish) that the applicant for opening an account in Spain loses further desire to engage in this process.

Among the most common requirements are justification for opening an account and the intention of the operations being carried out, confirmation of sources of funds, including the existence of an employment contract indicating the average amount of monthly income, etc.

However, a number of local banks open accounts in Spain for non-residents without additional obstacles. Some of them are more liberal than others and try not to complicate the procedure. These banks include:

  • BBVA
  • ING
  • Bankia
  • Caixabank
  • Sabadell

In the last three from the list, applying for an account on your own may result in refusal. The most common explanation is the incompleteness of the submitted documents and the subsequent blocking of the account by the bank due to the unknown origin of the funds.

Therefore, if the main purpose of opening an account in a Spanish bank is to carry out transactions related to the purchase of real estate in Spain, you should contact the real estate agency with which you plan to cooperate. As a rule, agents recommend verified organizations where you can open an account without any obstacles.
It is a little more difficult to open an account for a non-resident in the Spanish bank Santander.

However, it must be remembered that a considerable share of success depends not only on the completeness and “purity” of the presented set of documents, but also on the contact between the client and the bank employee, and sometimes even on personal acquaintance or (in the case of purchasing a home, the presence of a representative of a real estate agency) .


Necessary documents to open an account in a Spanish bank


The documents that Spanish banks require from non-resident foreigners can be divided into two parts:

  1. mandatory;
  2. selective ones, which each bank considers necessary to present or not.

Required ones include:

  • a valid foreign passport with a Spanish visa, the validity of which will be sufficient to complete all bureaucratic procedures;
  • NIE (National Identification Number).

A NIE or foreigner tax number can be obtained from the local police or the Spanish consulate in your home country upon presentation of documents confirming your intention to purchase a residence permit or real estate in Spain. In the second case, a certificate certified by a Spanish notary is sufficient. It contains information about the property that is planned to be acquired, as well as the date of the planned transaction.

Another option for obtaining it is to open your own business, which should be evidenced by a business project. It will take one to two business weeks to receive it. As a last resort, a “non-resident certificate” will be accepted, which is then requested by the banks themselves from the police, charging about 35 euros for this.

When opening an account in a Spanish bank, the so-called “registration” – empadronamiento – is important, which demonstrates that the foreigner is registered at a specific place of residence.

Each Spanish bank can require from its potential client not only confirmation of his financial solvency, but also evidence of the legality of the origin of his funds – especially if he is going to deposit them at the branch in cash with 500 euro bills (Spaniards use “cash” less and less often) , and in small stores there are already notices about refusal to accept 200 euro bills.

Other documents required to open a Spanish bank account for a non-resident include:

  • certificate of origin of income. Usually, a 2-NDFL or 3-NDFL form is sufficient, which must be translated into Spanish by a sworn translator, apostilled and certified by the Consulate General of Spain. The contract for the purchase and sale of real estate in Russia must be translated in the same way;
  • bank account statement showing the movement of all funds.

If all the above conditions are met, you can open an account in a Spanish bank without any problems. Spain is loyal to law-abiding foreign citizens who want to invest in the country’s economy in one way or another. In turn, opening an account in a Spanish bank will significantly simplify all financial transactions for businessmen and those planning to purchase real estate in Spain, including all the most significant payments.

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