How to open a bank account in Spain

Opening a spanish bank account is very easy for residents and non-residents.


How to open a bank account in Spain as a foreigner

Trying to open a bank account in a foreign country can be a difficult process. This is because, paradoxically, it would appear that banks do not actually want our money. Nevertheless, the most straightforward way to make a withdrawal at most ATMs in Spain is to have an account in the country if you wish to avoid being charged commission, which is why, despite it being a boring process we have to do it.

In this article we will explain how.

First question, are you a resident of Spain?

This is the first question that the bank will ask you. The answer is very simple, if you have a residency permit, then you are a resident, if not, then you are not. For that reason, the path splits at this point, depending on whether you have this document or not.

If you have a residency permit:

  • You must submit your NIE (personal ID number) and meet satisfy the particular requirements of the bank in question.
  • You must also provide proof of address
  • Proof of employment status is required

If you do not have a residency permit:

  • You must obtain a certificate of non-residence, which can be done in any National Police station. A word of warning! The national police service is not the same thing as the autonomous or local police service. They are separate entities. This can also be done at the bank, but you will be charged.
  • Furthermore, you must provide some form of identification, such as a passport.
  • You must demonstrate your current employment status

These are the requirements established under the anti-money laundering laws that exist in Spain and which can throw up obstacles. However, you should also bear in mind that each bank has its own rules for compliance purposes and those can be more even more exacting than Spanish law.

I would also recommend that you choose a well-regarded bank, in other words, avoid the temptation of convenience when it comes to opening an account, as it is often the banks with poor reputations which make it easiest.

For this reason, banks such as HolaBank (CaixaBank) are a very good option. Although, it is worth remembering that any bank carries an element of risk (look what happened to Lehman Brothers).

Nevertheless, in general it will not be overly difficult for you to open an account and it is highly advisable to do it online as with banks like HolaBank especialized in non-residents this will be quite straightforward.

If you are a resident we recommend opening an account as a resident, as accounts for non-residents are less flexible and offer fewer benefits. That being said, if you don’t plan on staying long it is best to open a non-resident account as opening one is a relatively simple process.


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March 3rd 2019, 19:15

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