It is generally possible for a foreign resident to open a bank account
in either a Swiss or US bank, without the need to be present in
However, you should be aware that there is considerable paperwork
involved (the banks have to be satisfied that you are who you say you
are, and that no money-laundering is taking place). In addition,
banks generally charge fairly high fees for non-resident bank
accounts, so you'll need to factor that into your planning.
For Swiss banks, you might want to start with an overview of Swiss
Banking, to become familiar with the terms and options:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_bank Swiss banks
As a first point of contact, I would suggest the giant of Swiss
banking, UBS, which happens to have an office in Moscow:
UBS AG in Moscow
Street Address: 2/2 Paveletskaya Ploshchad 11th Floor Moscow 115054
Mailing Address: UBS AG 2/2 Paveletskaya Ploshchad 11th Floor Moscow 115054
Telephone: +7-501-726 57 00
Facsimile: +7-501-726 57 01
Business Hours: Mo-Fr 09.00-18.00
Driving Directions: You can reach us easily by taking either an
official taxi or a company car. Our office is located close to the
Paveletskaya railway station, the arrival station of the express train
from the Domodedovo airport. It is also very close to the metro
Contact them directly at their Russian office, and they can walk you
through the complex process for opening an account.
Some other Swiss banks that may be of interest are:
http://www.credit-suisse.com/en/home.html Credit Suisse
You can contact them via their information page:
Clariden has a reputation of dealing extensively with Russian clients
(most of them fairly wealthy); you can read more about them here:
Clariden Claridenstrasse 26 Postfach CH-8022 Zürich
Tel. +41 58 205 62 62 Fax +41 58 205 63 03 email@example.com
A Swiss company called Micheloud & Cie. acts as a respectable broker,
assisting foreign clients in opening Swiss bank accounts. You can
read a bit about them here:
Swiss banks prefer people to open accounts in person, but they'll work
with brokers such as Micheloud, who runs Micheloud & Cie., a company
that helps foreigners open Swiss accounts by mail.
If you ask Micheloud to help you open an account, he will send you a
Matterhorn of paperwork to fill out, including details about your life
and job, and a letter of introduction from a stateside banker. Your
signature and identity have to be "authenticated" -- by a notary
public or consul or someone else, depending on circumstances -- and
you send the completed paperwork back. -----
and can contact Micheloud directly via their website:
you open Swiss bank accounts for non residents ?...Yes we do and
actually most of our clients are non-residents. We have clients in 101
There is a large directory of Swiss banks at the link below, and you
may wish to contact some of them as well:
http://www.swconsult.ch/cgi-bin/banklist.pl Directory of Swiss Banks
It is also possible to open an account with a US bank, though they are
much more skittish about this than was the case in the pre-9/11 era,
so it may take a bit of doing to bring it about.
Your best bet is probably to start by contacting the International
Personal Banking (IPB) group at Citibank, which is (I believe) the
largest bank in the world. Non-residents can indeed open a US-based
bank account, with online access to the accounts, credit cards, and so
on. It's not an easy process, but it is possible.
There is no online procedure for doing this at Citibank. They will
need to receive from you -- via the mail -- copies of a number of key
documents -- an application form, 2 forms of identification (at least
one with a photo), information about your in-country bank, and so on.
There are minimum deposit requirements as well, but these vary
depending on the type of account and the types of services you need.
You can contact the IPB by phone at:
and they will send you a complete package of information on starting
up an IPB account.
From outside the US, this will be an international call, and will
require you to use the proper dialing codes from your country.
By the way, when I called the IPB (at their US-based toll-free
number), it was not easy to get past the automated menu to a live
operator. If you run into that problem with your call, try pressing
"O" or "*" to get through to a real human being.
You may also wish to contact Citibank's offices in Russia to see if
they can assist you with the application process for an IPB account:
http://www.citibank.ru/russia/services/eng/citiphone.htm 24-hour Citiphone Banking
Citibank knows that time is a precious resource in your life; and that
many times, a quick phone call is still the fastest way to get things
done. That is why we've established CitiPhone, offering you immediate
phone access to your bank account. CitiPhone is Citibank's telephone
banking service. Simply by calling
+7 (095) 775-75-75 from Moscow
+7 (812) 336-75-75 from St.Petersburg
I trust this information fully answers your question.
However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need. If there's anything more I can do for you, just post a Request
for Clarification, and I'm happy to assist you further.
search strategy -- Answer is based on personal knowledge of
international banking, along with Google searches on:
[ swiss banks ]
[ swiss banks faq ]
[ swiss banks moscow ]
Clarification of Answer by
23 Dec 2005 05:28 PST
I see what the issue is, now, and I'm sorry I didn't make this clearer
at the outset.
UBS and Citibank both allow non-residents to open accounts. That is,
a person in Russia can open an account at Citibank in New York, or at
UBS in Zurich. These accounts will allow you to get credit cards as
I mentioned the offices in Russia simply because these offices may be
able to assist you with the process of opening an international (not a
However, if you prefer to bypass the Russian offices, just use the
contact information I provided for contacting directly the
international offices of either/both Citibank and UBS.
And of course, there are the other banks and services I mentioned as well.
Please give these a try. If you run into problems along the way, then
post a note here to let me know what's going on, and I'll see if I can
assist you further.
All the best for the holidays.