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Opening a bank account as a 'tourist'

Good Day Everyone,

I'll be staying somewhat long-term in Saigon and am hoping to open a bank account. However, I'm here on a tourist visa and not currently employed. I have an HSBC account in Canada and had hoped I could simply open an additional account here. I went this morning and was denied: no bank accounts for tourists.

Has anyone had any luck opening an account as a 'tourist'...?

Thanks.

I am a local but my clients come here as investors and are able to open a local bank account. With HSBC, you need a Premium HSBC bank account in your oversea bank. With Standard Charter, you need to prove some residential proof in oversea country such as electricity bills,.... Other banks mostly check case by case.

If you need some contact, I could refer for you. Wish you luck.

Hi try to go with Vietcombank,

Hi there am going to bee there for about a month and a half at first as a tourist  so should I try to open a bank  account while there or just use my bank card at first and wait to tell I come back to stay, then  open it up I'll have a copy of renting then would that be the way to go I heard that was the only way to open one is to have renters agreement to show the bank

As with most things in Viet Nam there is no consistency in relation to laws. It's a case of finding a bank that will give you an account, some will do this.

Why do you need a Vietnam bank account? Unless you have a local job  (illegal for tourist visa) that requires you to have a bank account to deposit your pay, I haven't found a reason yet to have a bank account. I am retired, my banks are in the states. I use a 2% return credit card where I can (supermarket, mall, travel), and I use ATM cards to pull out cash for everything else (rent, etc).

You might like to have your money in the bank so it doesn't get stolen I guess, but withdrawals have been shown to be difficult for some expats. Vietnamese mostly squirrel away cash and gold in secret places.

regarding @Jasmine: Premier HSBC account requires $100,000 investment portfolio and cash.

Search expat.com forum for 'bank', there are lots of past topics.

@Supertaper:  My reaction is similar to Gobot's: why would you need a bank account if you'll only be here for 1.5 months?  You wouldn't open a bank account in every country you visit, would you?

Even if you *plan* to stay here for more than 1.5 months, it'll still be only a plan.  You'll enter the country with a tourist visa, so, among the actions to change your status (cannot be done while in country), opening an account would not be beneficial in any way. 

IOW, what if you have to change your plan after you go back home at the end of 30 days?  Do you abandon your account here?  Do you try to transfer the money back to the States?  (If the answer is yes, you should search the forum for past threads on this futile project.)  Do you keep it with the minimum required balance (which would be less each month after service charge is deducted) just in case you will return one day?

Don't cross the bridge before you come to it .

Thanks for the info the first month and a half I will be there on a tourist visa but when I come back I will be working there one reason I wanted to see about a bank account there is I will be depositing a large sum of money which I do not want to leave in a bank in the US due to my x wife and other complicated reasons so once again thanks

Withdraw money from your US bank, keep in in secret places until you're certain of your domicile and your future. 

There are many ways to hide money in plain view:  SCOTTeVEST's (or similar garments') interior pockets (you do need to wear the vest though); the underlining of your shoes; the inside cuffs and waistbands of your trousers (any tailor/seamstress at your local dry cleaners and alteration places can create such compartments easily); the Velcro "pocket" of a pair (or several pairs) of Brief Safe; etc.

I would do anything and everything to avoid depositing "a large sum of money" in a Vietnamese bank.  Not unless my life absolutely depended on it.

Canada is definitely more immigrant friendly than the US so it may be different there but it is nearly impossible to open a bank account in the US without a Social Security number.  No Vietnamese traveling in the US on a tourist visa is going to be opening a bank account.  In fact, Citibank did not want to allow my wife on my US account because her social security number was part of a new numeric series that their database did not recognize.  It took three months and a lot of correspondence to straighten it out.  As Ciambella mentioned the VN banks probably don't want to be stuck with a lot of dead accounts either.  All in all the policies are about the same as any other place.

That said if you are a Hong Kong resident with $1 million to deposit, the US banks will find a way.  I'm sure every bank in Vietnam would be offering you a complimentary foot massage as you signed the paperwork if you walked in with $1 million CAD (even if it was only $820,000 US.)   :thanks:

supertaper :

...  depositing a large sum of money which I do not want to leave in a bank in the US due to my x wife ...

Ah, the plot thickens!

You know, legally, you're required to declare large sums of foreign currency Viet immigration. I think this is current (but you better check):

-- Foreign currency: in excess of US$ 5,000
-- Vietnam Dong: in excess of VND15.000.000 (~ $750)
-- Gold: in excess of 300gr (~ $13,000 )

So you could walk in $19k in those forms without declaration. Probably not the large sum you were talking about. For the purpose of dodging US lawyers, a bank in Monaco might work better. Beware FATCA.

There is a full related discussion here
http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=350776

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