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Opening a Bank Account in Spain as a Non-Resident

Opening a Bank Account in Spain as a Non-Resident

Establishing non-resident accounts in Spain is a crucial step to turbocharging the European expansion of many global businesses.

The benefits are evident. Efficient payment processing. Simplified tax compliance. Improved credibility with local banking institutions and partners.

But can non-residents open bank accounts in Spain?

The short answer is yes — but it’s complicated.

Opening a bank account in Spain as a non-resident throws up its own set of challenges — mainly a series of bureaucratic hurdles (yawn).

But you wouldn’t be reading this article if it was a piece of cake. In fact, that’s why we’ve made this article — to make your life easier.

We’ll explore the specific advantages of having local bank accounts, discuss the necessary documentation and requirements, and guide you through the process of selecting the right bank to meet your unique business needs.

We’ll also address key considerations for managing international trade transactions, accessing financing options, and leveraging digital banking solutions to streamline your export operations.

Enough chatter. Let’s get cracking.

Why should you open a bank account in Spain

Having a bank account in Spain offers numerous advantages and is highly recommended for individuals and businesses, whether you’re a resident or a non-resident. Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider opening a bank account in Spain:

1. Seamless Financial Transactions

It makes business easier. Having a local bank account in Spain makes financial transactions simpler and more efficient. You can receive payments from local clients, pay bills, manage your expenses, and conduct day-to-day financial activities — as easy as pie.

Say adios to parasitic currency conversion fees, basically.

2. Access to Local Services

By opening a non-resident bank account in Spain, you gain access to a wide range of local banking services tailored to meet your specific needs. Debit and credit cards. Online and mobile banking platforms. ATM networks. You name it (statutory fiestas are sadly not included).

3. Improved Credibility and Trust

Be local.

Establishing a Spanish bank account gives you solid local street cred. Of course, it’s not the same as seamlessly dancing flamenco and eating a daily portion of churros, but it does the trick, business-wise.

You’ll see your credibility and trustworthiness soar skyward in the eyes of local partners, customers, and suppliers. Why? It demonstrates your commitment to the Spanish market and showcases your readiness to conduct business on a local level.

Local businesses and individuals often prefer to work with partners who have a presence in the country — having a Spanish bank account adds a layer of trust and reliability to your business relationships.

4. Streamlined Tax Compliance

Tax compliance — the bane of every business. But for those conducting business in Spain but not living there, for example, non-resident accounts simplify tax compliance procedures.

Think about it. It’s easier to manage and track your financial transactions in Spain if you have a local bank account in Spain. As such, it makes fulfilling tax obligations less of a back-breaking task.

It’s common sense. You know what you’ve sold in Spain and how much you owe the Spanish tax authorities.

5. Accessibility to Financial Services

Having a bank account in Spain provides access to a wide range of financial services offered by Spanish and international banks, from loans to mortgages to investment opportunities to savings accounts and insurance products.

Having a local bank account establishes a relationship with the bank, making it easier to access these services when needed. Whether you’re considering future investments, seeking financing options, or planning for your financial future, having a local bank account opens doors to a variety of financial services and resources.

Can foreigners open a bank account in Spain?

Yes, foreigners can open a Spanish bank account. Spain encourages international residents and non-residents to open non-resident accounts together.

Spanish banks offer specific overseas account options designed for non-residents, making it convenient for foreigners to manage their finances while living, working, or conducting business in Spain.

Whether you’re a student, expatriate, investor, or retiree, opening a bank account as a foreigner in Spain provides you with access to a wide range of financial services and facilitates your financial activities within the country.

Is it Possible to Open a Spanish Bank Account Online?

Yes, it’s possible to open a Spanish bank account online. Many major banks in Spain offer digital platforms and online services that allow individuals to open bank accounts remotely, without the need to visit a physical branch. This online account opening process is particularly convenient for non-residents or individuals who are unable to visit Spain in person.

Several Spanish banks offer the option to open an online account. Here are some of the more prominent banks that provide online account opening services:


BBVA is one of the leading banks in Spain and offers the option to open an account online. They also provide a user-friendly website and mobile app for account management.

2. Banco Santander

Santander, one of the largest banks in Spain, also allows individuals to open a bank account online. They offer a digital onboarding process and provide a range of banking services through their online platform.

3. CaixaBank

CaixaBank is a prominent Spanish bank that offers online account opening facilities. Their website provides detailed information about the different types of accounts available and the online application process.

4. Banco Sabadell

Banco Sabadell offers the convenience of opening a bank account online. They have a user-friendly website that guides applicants through the necessary steps for online bank account opening.

5. Openbank

Openbank is a fully digital bank in Spain that specialises in online banking services. They provide a seamless online account opening process and a digital bank account.

6. ING

ING is an international bank operating in Spain that provides online banking services. They offer the option to open an account online and provide a digital banking system and platform for easy account management.

Remember, opening an online account with a Spanish bank varies depending on a few factors like your country of residence and the specific requirements of each bank. Visit the respective bank’s website or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date information.

How to Open a Bank Account in Spain Online

To open a Spanish bank account online, you usually need to visit the website of the bank you wish to open an account with.

They will provide an online application form. There you can add your personal information — name, address, contact details, identification documents, that kind of thing.

During the online application process, you may be required to provide scanned copies or photographs of your identification documents, such as your passport or ID card. Additionally, you might need to submit proof of address, including utility bills or rental agreements, and even employment status.

Once you have completed the online application and submitted the necessary documents, the bank will review your application and conduct the required checks. This may involve verifying your national identity card and conducting anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.

After the bank has reviewed and approved your application, they will typically provide you with your account details, including your account number and instructions on how to access your online banking portal. At this point, you may also have the option to request a physical debit or credit card if needed.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements maintenance fees and processes may vary slightly between different Spanish banks. Therefore, it’s advisable to visit the website of the chosen bank or contact their customer service to get detailed information about their online account opening procedures.

As we’re about to see, the Spanish banking system favours those opening a resident account. It’s hard — but not impossible — to open a non-resident account in Spain entirely online.

How to Open a Non-resident Bank Account

So you want to open a non-resident account online with a Spanish bank. Fantastico.

Opting for non-resident bank accounts is perfect for those not permanently living in Spain or who have recently moved.

But it’s important to note that the process of opening a non-resident account is more intricate than a resident account, accompanied by higher fees and fewer advantages.

So, if you want to open a bank account in Spain, be warned — it’s harder to open a non-resident account at some of Spain’s biggest banks.

For most Spanish bank accounts, you may not be able to complete the procedure online. Moreover, not all banks or branches accept non-residents.

Firstly, gather the following documentation:

  • valid passport or national ID card,
  • a document confirming your address, such as a utility bill (dated within the last 3 months) or a bank statement,
  • proof of employment status or income,
  • like a payslip or tax return If you own or plan to purchase property in the country,
  • a lease agreement or title deed may be necessary,

Obtaining a "non-resident certificate" is often required by many banks to verify your non-resident status. This certificate can be acquired at the local police station, typically taking 10 days (alternatively, it can be obtained at the Spanish consulate if you are abroad) and costs around 15 €.

Additionally, depending on the specific bank product you intend to have a resident bank account with, additional documents might be requested.

Keep in mind that foreign documents need to be translated into Spanish and appropriately notarised.

How long Does It take to Open a Bank Account in Spain

How long is a piece of string?

The time it takes to open a bank account in Spain varies depending on the bank you choose and the completeness of your documentation. In general, the process can be completed within a few days to a couple of weeks. Here are some typical timeframes:

1. In-Person Account Opening

If you visit a bank branch in person to open an account, the process can often be completed within one to three business days, assuming you have all the required documents and meet the bank’s criteria.

2. Online Account Opening

Some banks in Spain offer the option to open a resident account online. The time it takes to open an online account can vary, but it’s typically faster compared to in-person visits. Depending on the bank’s verification process and any additional documentation required, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few business days.

3. Non-Resident Account Opening

Non-residents may encounter additional requirements and verification procedures when opening an account in Spain. This can slightly prolong the process, and it may take up to a couple of weeks to complete the account opening.

These timeframes are estimates for most banks. Actual processing times can vary based on individual circumstances and the bank’s internal procedures. To get more accurate information, it’s advisable to contact the specific bank and inquire about their expected timeline for account opening.

Open a business account online with Silverbird

But why go through all that faff? You want to open a local Spanish account online and you want to do it now.

You don’t have the time to translate your documents, visit the Spanish consulate, and fly to Spain to meet drab, obliging clerks at Spanish banks.

But you also want low currency conversion fees and world-beating exchange rates. Low international transfer fees. Swift and seamless payments. Moreover, no blood-sucking bank fees — a local account that makes international money transfers a breeze.

You can have your cake and eat it, amigo.

Save yourself the bureaucratic headache by opening a Silverbird multi-currency account with local details. Hold, send and receive money in 20+ currencies. Pay and get paid faster and with fewer hurdles. No hidden fees. Bereft of the bureaucracy of traditional banks.

Opening an account with Silverbird is 100% online and takes minutes. You can be onboarded in a few days.

Send us valid identity documents for all ultimate beneficial owners, directors, or legal representatives of your company including one of the following:

  • ID
  • Passport

In some jurisdictions, we may ask you for one or more of the following documents to validate your business details:

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Application to register a new company
  • Bank statements
  • Annual Returns
  • Invoices

That’s it. It’s really that simple.

FAQs on Opening a Bank Account in Spain

Can You Open a Bank Account in Spain Without an NIE

Yes, you can open a bank account in Spain without an NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjero). While having an NIE is commonly required for non-residents and some residents, there are banks in Spain that may allow you to open an account without it, particularly for non-residents or individuals who have not yet obtained their NIE.

Specific requirements and policies vary. Some banks may have alternative procedures or additional documentation requirements in the absence of an NIE. Contact the bank directly or visit their website to inquire about their account opening process for individuals without an NIE.

Furthermore, obtaining an NIE is often necessary for various purposes in Spain, such as tax obligations, employment, property transactions, and more. Therefore, if you plan to stay in Spain for an extended period or engage in activities that require an NIE, it’s advisable to obtain one to ensure compliance with local regulations and facilitate various transactions.

Can you Open a Bank Account in Spain From the UK

Yes, it is generally possible to open a bank account in Spain from the UK. Many Spanish banks have international operations and provide services for non-residents, including individuals residing in the UK.

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