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URL:  https://boards.fool.com/information-abouy-the-tin-i-definitely-will-look-17727060.aspx

Subject:  Re: Banking from Abroad?? Date:  8/23/2002  8:14 AM
Author:  smyr Number:  17416 of 24357

information abouy the TIN. I definitely will look into it.

First comment: You need to look for an ITIN (not TIN, TIN is for US residents) and for form W-7. From the IRS web site: http://www.irs.gov/faqs/display/0,,i1%3D54%26genericId%3D13288,00.html

What is ITIN?
An ITIN, or IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, is a tax processing number. An ITIN is issued by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA). An ITIN is a 9-digit number, beginning with the number "9", formatted like a SSN (NNN-NN- NNN). The temporary IRS Number previously assigned is no longer valid.
What is the purpose of an ITIN?
The ITIN is for tax purposes only.
The issuance of an ITIN does not:
a. entitle the recipient to Social Security benefits or the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC);
b. create an inference regarding the individual's immigration status;
c. give the individual the right to work in the U.S. Any individual who is eligible to be legally employed in the U.S. must have a SSN.


Second: I am not sure if he really needs an ITIN or not. The ITIN is for tax reasons from the US edge, you might be able to open the account without ITIN but you have to ask the bank about it.

Third: You do not need a US address. Some banks open accounts to non resident aliens (this is the term you should use each time you ask questions about anything) without even requiring the physical presence in USA to apply. I know for sure that the "big" names like JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, HSBC etc do it. I would bet that they exist many others. For JPM, Citibank and Wells Fargo I have found information for non resident aliens at their web sites. Other more "regional" banks they seem not ot offer clear advice for non resident aliens at their web sites. I suggest you start from those big names to get an idea what they offer and also find out if you will need ITIN to apply or not.

Four: Here starts the real stuff... Those big banks from what I have seen in their sites charge every possible and impossible fee you can imagine for their services, therefore I doubt if it makes any sense for a foreigner to open a simple bank account there if the ammounts involved are less than -say- $20,000. Now your case is a little different because it is really the devaluation of peso risk that you r trying to avoid and not looking for good interest rates so perhaps it would make sense to opt for some of those almost 0% checking accounts or savings accounts with extremely low interest.

Five: The wire services and all that, if it is legal and if you can accomodate with the wiring fees, do not necessarilly require an online bank. Most of the "big" banks would offer you phone-banking not to mention that they probably offer their online banking facilities to non resident aliens (although I would not be surprised if someone could not proceed to international transactions through the online banking). This should not be a problem except of course that he would need to call each time he wants to order a transfer. Bear in mind that often both edges(=both the US sending bank and the argentinian receiving bank) will charge you a fee for wiring. The fee for sending is usually a fixed ammount like $15 plus a percentage of the ammount. Also bear in mind that if currency conversions occur the moment he receives (=if he gets in his hands Pesos while the american bank sends Dollars) the rates of the conversion and the commissions at the Argentinian end will increase the costs & usually at not very favorable rates.

Six: A not very "orthodox" alternative maybe could be for him to open a brokerage account with a discount broker in USA that offers checkwriting and/or a debit card.

Seven: Since his real goal is to protect himself from the devaluation of the Peso and since the interest rates for US $ are really low, if the ammounts involved are not "significant" (=I would consider significant something over 15-20 thousands) I would probably opt to keep my dollars in Argentina (under the pillow etc) and save myself the hassle. If the ammounts are under $5,000 I think the different costs would be significantly more than the interest received. This of course raises some security problems (ie how safe it is to keep $ at his house etc).

Eight: If it is allowed to keep account there in Euros I would try this solution. If I was obliged to move the money outside and for whatever reason I could not do it in USA I would search European banks starting from UK and Spanish banks (I would assume without knowing though that perhaps Argentina has "special conveniences" for Spain and vice versa plus it saves him the language problem if any).

Nine: From your posts I have not understood... how he will convert his pesos to american dollars? Or he already has the money in $$$? I would guess that if they have restrictions even to keep $$$ accounts in their banks much more they would have restrictions on currency conversions. Of course there is always the "black market" :-) but I am not sure if you have solved the conversion issue first. Also once he has the $$$ you should also first solve the issue of how he will pass the money from Argentina to USA (usually the restrictions are tough if a country is trying to stop currency bleeding and perhaps you need to go through illegal ways- illegal for Argentina that is it).

Have in mind that I am far from being a banking expert ( I am rather ignorant and clueless) therefore whatever I say take it with many grains of salt. I am a non resident alien though :-)

Summary in *my* oppinion:
1. first he converts his pesos to $$$ even if this means keeping the $$$ home and of course if he really knows that the peso will keep devaluating. (I have no clue about it, I take it for granted that it will devaluate further else the whole discussion is pointless)
2. he finds out how he will pass the money in USA
3.he searches american banks starting from the big ones I mentioned
4. finds out from the banks if he needs ITIN to open a bank account
4a. If an ITIN is needed he proceeds to obtain it (the IRS web site says how)
steps 3-4 you can do it for him while he is doing the 1-2.

Also you might want to give a look at the Fool board about Alien non-resident Investinghttp://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=17649558&bid=114516 . It is not really active board but every now and then people have asked about banking in USA for NRAs so you might want to review some older posts there and the various answers given.
If you go to search in the websites of the banks I mentioned and you have troubles locating the info for international customers ask here so I would try to pass you the links (the damn info is sometimes located deep in the dust).

Sorry for the long post and hope it helped you a little
best regards

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