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The Easiest Way to Open a Foreign Bank Account

By Tom Dyson, publisher, The Palm Beach Letter
Monday, March 29, 2010

Joel Nagel must be a busy man...
The U.S. government has built up the largest debt in the history of the world, and there's no possible way it'll ever be able to pay it back. Worse, this debt is now growing faster than ever before... and no one in Washington seems to care.
It's impossible to predict exactly when, but eventually the markets are going to question the solvency of the government... and there's going to be a dollar crisis.
With these insane policies in ascendance in Washington right now, it's never been more important for Americans to get familiar with foreign investments, bank accounts, and tax havens. That's true whether you've got $5 million in the bank or $50,000. This is where Joel comes in...
Joel is one of America's top international asset lawyers. He helps large companies set up entities in foreign countries. He helps billionaires protect their wealth from the taxman. He advises hedge funds on their foreign investments. And he's an expert on immigration and expatriation..
In short, Joel Nagel's expertise is in such high demand, he sits on the board of directors for 15 companies, advising them on their foreign investments and asset protection strategies.
This week, my colleague Brian Hunt asked Joel Nagel the first thing the average American can do to protect his or her assets from a dollar crisis...
"Open a bank account based outside the United States," said Nagel.
Nagel says this is the easiest way to protect your money from a devaluation of the dollar or another failure in the banking system. Most importantly, if capital starts fleeing the U.S. and Washington decides to implement capital controls – inevitable in my opinion – you'll have a nest egg outside the country.
So how do you open a foreign bank account?
The obvious step is to go to a foreign country and find a bank branch. Almost any bank will open an account for you, regardless of where you come from. When I was in China, for example, I opened up a bank account at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China using just my passport. The whole process took about 20 minutes.
For Americans, I recommend Canada. It's close, it's convenient, and the banks are strong. The Royal Bank of Canada will open a non-resident account for you with two pieces of ID.
If you're not willing to take a vacation to Canada, you'll have to jump through a few more hoops. Bureaucracy is the problem. To hinder money laundering and terrorism, governments encourage banks to only accept new account applications in person. They're called the "Know Your Customer" rules.
Here's one idea...
The Royal Bank of Canada operates a bank in America called RBC Bank. TD Canada Trust also operates banks in America.
Contact customer service at a Canada-based institution and ask them to send you an application for a new account. Then contact your closest branch in America and ask them to help you process the application without you having to fly to Canada.
It won't be easy. The American branch will tell you they are a totally different operating entity from the Canadian bank. You'll probably have to spend a few hours on the phone... But a lady from RBC's customer service assured me it's possible.
One more thing, it's not illegal for banks to open accounts by mail. They just can't advertise this service. So to find a foreign bank that's willing to open an account for you "over the wire," you'll have to search for it yourself... or contact an international asset specialist like Joel Nagel.
Good investing,
P.S. Joel Nagel is one of Stansberry & Associates' most trusted advisors. Tonight, we're inviting investors to listen in on a conversation we set up with Joel and another specialist on protecting your assets in times of financial turmoil. This call will be packed with information on the very easy steps everyone can take to shield assets from crooks of all types. If you'd like to join us, click here.

Further Reading:

Late last year, Steve Sjuggerud got a few tips from Joel on a completely legal offshore option that's perfect for people heading into retirement: You don't have to report it to the IRS, and you can pass it on to your heirs tax free. Get the details here: The Last Great Offshore Tax Shelter.
Back in 1933, the U.S. government confiscated all the gold held by American citizens. If things truly unravel, it could happen again. One way to protect yourself is to move your bullion abroad. Find another – unusual – option here: How to Legally Smuggle Gold.

Market Notes


Cisco (CSCO)... networks
Oracle (ORCL)... software
Intel (INTC)... semiconductors
Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)... computers
Apple (AAPL)... iPhones and computers
Walt Disney (DIS)... media and entertainment
Raytheon (RTN)... defense
Campbell Soup (CPB)... soup
Sony (SNE)... electronics
Cummins (CMI)... diesel engines
Kraft (KFT)... processed food
Philip Morris (PM)... cigarettes
Marriott (MAR)... hotels
Hyatt Hotels (H)... hotels
Starwood Hotels (STAR)... hotels
Starbucks (SBUX)... expensive coffee
DuPont (DD)... chemicals and plastics
General Electric (GE)... conglomerate
Host Hotels (HST)... hotel REIT
Vornado Realty (VNO)... retail REIT
Public Storage (PSA)... industrial REIT
Health Care REIT (HCN)... you guessed it
Estee Lauder (EL)... make-up
Wynn Resorts (WYNN)... casinos
Bristol-Myers (BMY)... pharma
Procter & Gamble (PG)... consumer goods
Deere (DE)... farm & construction equipment


Euro... 10-month low

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