How to open an IRA for international clients/residents

How to open an IRA for international clients/residents

Clients physically residing outside the U.S. can open IRAs using U.S.-earned income in accordance with OFAC-prohibited jurisdictions Tooltip policies and Schwab's policy for clients in international jurisdictions.

Accounts with international addresses have additional restrictions compared with domestic accounts.

For a list of important items to consider when opening international accounts, review the Guidelines for working with international accounts.

To open an IRA for an international resident, the following is required:

All accounts
  • A completed IRA Account Application
    • Your firm name and master account number
    • The account holder's name Tooltip , home address, identification number Tooltip , birth date, telephone number(s), country of birth, citizenship status, country(ies) of citizenship, country of legal residence, employment status, employer, occupation, business address, and business phone number
    • If the account holder is affiliated with a member firm of an exchange or FINRA and Rule 3210 applies, a FINRA Rule 3210 Consent Letter
    • If the account holder is a director, control person, or affiliate ( Rule_144 Tooltip ) of a publicly held company, the name and trading symbol of the publicly held company
    • Adobe® Reader® or Adobe Acrobat® 7.0 or higher (download the latest version on the Adobe website)
In addition to the information above, the following documents are required:
Individual(s) not physically residing in the U.S. (i.e., a foreign home/legal address)
  • Proof of identity: Any individual who is a foreign resident must provide passport copies that include pages containing a photo and personal information (the name as it appears on the passport must match the relevant individual's name on the account). 
    • Additional proof of identity documents may be accepted dependent on the individual's country of residence. Please contact your service team for more information.
  • Proof of residency: Each individual who is a foreign resident and associated with the account must provide one of the following:
    • Copy of their most recent utility bill, dated within 12 months of the application date
    • Financial statement, dated within 12 months of the application date
    • Home/rental statements, dated within 12 months of the application date
    • Government issued ID card, not expired

    Important: The name on the proof of residency document must match the proof of identity document and the application, and the address must match the application. Also, the date of issuance must be displayed.
  • An IRS Form W-8BEN, dated within 60 days of all other documents, if the account holder wishes to claim tax treaty benefits 
  • If the account holder wishes to claim tax treaty benefits via IRS Form W-8BEN and use an address on the account (including duplicate mailings) that is outside the country of permanent residence, a completed International Account—Letter of Explanation (LOE) form

If any additional document provided is not in English, please provide a court certified translation of the document, with a visible stamp/seal.

This process is used to open an international IRA using paper forms.

  1. Verify Schwab can support the account:
    • Review OFAC-prohibited jurisdictions Tooltip to confirm that federal regulations permit Schwab to do business with the individual associated with the account.
    • Review Schwab's policy for clients in international jurisdictions to confirm the client resides in a Schwab Permitted Jurisdiction.
  2. Confirm you have all the required account holder identity verification documents mentioned in the "What you’ll need" section.
  3. Go to the forms library on the Schwab Advisor Center and select the required forms below. Select the appropriate master account, click Select, and then select Open PDF:
    • IRA Account Application form
    • W-8BEN Substitute Form for Individuals
    • International Account—Letter of Explanation form, if foreign resident account holder wishes to claim tax treaty benefits via IRS Form W-8BEN and use an address on the account (including duplicate mailings) that is outside the country of permanent residence
    • Authorization to Purchase Offshore Investment Shares form, if the Sweep Fund feature is chosen as the account cash feature
  4. Complete all necessary fields and ensure all additional features the client requested have been added.
  5. Print the form(s) and obtain signatures from the account holder. Send the signed form(s) to your Schwab service team via a Schwab Advisor Center service request. Mail any notarized forms and original documents to your Schwab service team.

Once you have submitted your request:

  • Schwab may require further documentation and/or information after completing an initial review. Review does not guarantee approval of an account, and Schwab reserves the right to not open an account or to decline an account after it has been opened.
  • If you have questions about opening IRAs for foreign residents, call your service team.

Go to the forms library on Schwab Advisor Center and select the forms below.

 

Form: Authorization to Purchase Offshore Investment Shares
Form: IRA Account Application
Form: IRA Distribution Form
Form: Power of Attorney (Individual POA)

 

Form: W-8BEN Substitute Form for Individuals
Resource: Form W-8 overview and assistance
Resource: Guidelines for working with international accounts
Resource: Schwab's policy for clients in international jurisdictions
Resource: W8 Resource Center

 

Can Schwab MoneyLink® be used to link Schwab One International® accounts to accounts at U.S. financial institutions?
Yes. However, it may not be used to link Schwab One International accounts to accounts at financial institutions domiciled outside the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

Since the Bank Sweep feature is not available to clients living outside the U.S., where is cash pending investment placed?
The Schwab One® Interest feature is the default cash investment product for international accounts. See the Cash Investments: Products at a Glance chart (PDF) for an overview of the broad range of cash options available at Schwab.

How to add features to an account
How to establish a Schwab MoneyLink® profile
How to make role changes for personal and trust accounts
How to open an international individual or joint brokerage account
How to open an international organization account
How to open an international trust account
Introduction to cash options and investments