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How to Get Started with EU Banks if You Live Abroad

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If you are interested in opening a bank account in Europe, but you are a non-resident or foreigner, this guide should teach you everything you need to know about the different options you have when it comes to opening a bank account in Europe, regardless of where you are or what kind of citizenship you have.

Why Open a Bank Account in Europe?

Before we look at the options, it’s time to see the benefits of opening a bank account in Europe.

If you are a non-resident, opening an account in Europe is easier. Countries like Lithuania, Poland, and Bulgaria allow you to easily open up a bank account without being a resident.

All you need to do is provide your passport, and at times you might need to provide proof of residency from your country. Certain banks will require you to have an address in the country to send you the card.

The disadvantage here is that you will need to go to the country in question in Europe and open the account personally.

Certain countries provide you with the opportunity to open an e-residency.  One of the most common programs is the Estonian e-residency program, which allows anyone in the world to become an Estonian e-resident and then open a bank account in Estonia.

The main advantage here is the fact that you will be able to run a European company from anywhere in the world, while the disadvantage is the fact that you will need to pay taxes in the specific country you decide to open an account in.

Keep in mind that just about every country will have its own set of rules. Ultimately, you will need to identify and print the documents that are required by your bank, make an appointment or walk into the local branch, answer the questions and verify your identity, wait for your confirmation, card Pin, and other documents and activate your account.

As an institution that wants to sell cryptocurrencies on a global scale, you will need to follow specific European guidelines, and having a bank account in Europe that handles all of your FIAT currency transactions has the potential to help you out tremendously.

However, aside from opening the account, you will also need to understand the crypto regulatory & licensing frameworks.

Crypto Regulatory & Licensing Frameworks in Europe

Once you figure out all of the things involved with opening a bank account, now comes the fun part. Discovering and following regulatory and licensing frameworks in Europe.

Almost every country in Europe will have its own set of regulatory and licensing frameworks.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has the Financial Conduct Authority or FCA for example that has established initiatives such as the regulatory sandbox, direct support, advice unit, and Green Finance cohort engagement.

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein on the other hand has the Token and TT service Provider Act which was passed by its parliament on the 3rd of October, 2019.

It applies to service providers such as token issuer, token generator, TT key depositary, TT Token depositary, TT protector, physical validator, and TT exchange service provider. The act establishes the civil law basis for tokens as well as the supervision of the TT service providers as well as the rights and obligations to which they are subject.

Estonia

Estonia has specific laws. In fact, it is considered to be extremely advanced when it comes to the implementation of blockchain-based systems. Estonia’s crypto-asset industry depends heavily on anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-money counter-financing terrorism (CFT) regulation. It has an infrastructure based on an e-solution platform known as X-road, and the blockchain systems are implemented at the state level.

France

A new regime for Digital Asset Service Providers (DASPs) was introduced in France. These regulate entities that offer services that are related to digital assets that are not financial securities or currencies.

In other words, they have an ad-hoc regulatory framework as opposed to an extension of an existing one that provides legal certainty, and different categories of licenses that provide more legal certainty.

Where Estonian Crypto Licenses Fits into The Picture

From the process of preparing the necessary documentation to the incorporation of your company and the process of requesting operating licenses, Estonian Crypto Licenses is created to help you launch your new cryptocurrency business in Estonia throughout the span of a maximum of four months.
You essentially get a virtual currency service provider license through which you can start your business.
In Estonia, The Estonian Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) issues the operating license.
The release of the license is an activity regulated by:

  • The Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act
  • Registration and processing of data collected by the Financial Intelligence Unit
  •  Low risk of money laundering and terrorist financing criteria which simplifies customer and due diligence measures.

You will need a certificate of the register of convictions for each shareholder, board member, and ultimate beneficial owner as well as a responsible person not older than three months, as well as a copy of the passport of all of the personas mentioned, and the rules of procedure for AML/CTF purposes.

What this essentially means for you is that you won’t have to worry about handling all of the information yourself, filling the regulatory requirements, opening a bank account, VAT ID registration, apostilles, and accounting.

This is all handled for you, so you can focus on growing your business in Europe instead of losing precious time handling the logistics behind opening a bank account.

About the author, Estonian Crypto Licenses

He’s the founder and managing director of FinTech Legal Center, which provides pan-European legal, compliance, accounting, Hr and strategy advice to Fintech businesses. His customers say he can make extremely complicated details easy for business people to understand and digest. Further, according to them, he’s the calm in the storm.

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About Estonian Crypto Licenses

Estonian Crypto Licenses is a trading name of TechIuris OÜ, a company based in Tallinn, Estonia and specialised in legal and compliance solutions for European FinTech companies. We are a fully licensed company, and EVEA and e-Residency marketplace members. Here on our blog, we share the latest news on topics such as NFTs, cryptocurrencies, blockchain and much more.

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