Non-residents need to provide a passport or an identification document valid in their country (such as a passport or ID card, but you might have problems with driving licenses, this depends on the bank). In addition, within 15 days after opening the account, you technically must justify your non-resident status by providing acertificado de no residencia. You can apply and collect this certificate at a local police station.
Every two years thereafter, the bank is supposed to perform a check on your non-resident status. In the event that you do become a resident after opening the account, you must notify the bank and give them a copy of your tarjeta de residencia.
In reality, many banks do not ask for the certificado de no residencia. If a branch requires this, we would suggest either going to another branch of the same bank or to a different bank to try to avoid this inconvenience.
Requirements for opening an account:
- applicants must be aged 18 or over
- photographic proof of identity (passport or National Identity Card from the country of origin for each of the applicants)
- proof of occupation or status (employment contract/payslip, letter from accountant/lawyer, pension or disability payment confirmation, student card). This is an extra requirement introduced in 2007 by the Bank of Spain as a measure to combat money-laundering
- residents also need to produce their Foreigner Identification Number and certificate (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros or NIE)
- confirmation of address (utility bill, driving licence or council tax bill; proof of address must have been issued within the last 3 months)
Fees & services
In terms of fees and services, non-resident accounts are virtually the same as resident ones. The only differences being that the bank may not be willing to issue you a credit card or provide you overdraft protection. Should the bank charge significantly higher fees for being a non-resident, we would recommend taking your business elsewhere.
One final word of caution regarding opening accounts: if you make the initial deposit in a foreign currency, be sure to specifically ask that the currency be converted into euros immediately to avoid any potential problems later. The bank should charge you no more than their typical foreign exchange commissions for this operation.