How to open an international individual or joint brokerage account

How to open an international individual or joint brokerage account

Clients are eligible to open a Schwab One International® account in accordance with OFAC-prohibited jurisdictions Tooltip policies and Schwab's policy for clients in international jurisdictions. The countries in which Schwab will conduct business are limited; contact your service team with questions regarding which countries are permitted.

You can open an individual Tooltip or joint Tooltip international personal brokerage account using DocuSign® or printed forms.

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

To open an international individual or joint brokerage account, you will need the following:

All accounts
  • A completed Schwab One International Account Application
    • Your firm name and master account
    • 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 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)
  • An IRS Form W-8, dated within 60 days of all other documents, for each person who is both a foreign citizen and a foreign resident (contact your tax advisor to identify which version of the form is required)
  • An International Account—Letter of Explanation (LOE) form, required for use of a U.S. address or an address outside the country of permanent residence, on either the account (including duplicate mailings) or IRS Form W-8, with a separate LOE completed by each person
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.
Additional features

For additional features requested by the client:

  • If establishing a Schwab MoneyLink® profile, a completed MoneyLink (ACH) form
    Note: MoneyLink may only be used to transfer funds to a U.S. financial institution.
    • A valid document from the other financial institution containing the client's account title, account number, account type, and ABA number (e.g., check, deposit slip, statement, or letter on bank letterhead signed by an officer).
  • If adding a power of attorney to the account, a completed Power of Attorney (Individual POA) form (You must also submit this form to add advisor powers of attorney since the Schwab One International Account Application does not include advisor information or a master number to direct Schwab where to link your master account.)
  • If adding margins or options, a completed Options Trading and Margin Application
    • Clients residing in the European Union, excluding residents of the United Kingdom and Switzerland, are not eligible for margin.
    • Additionally, clients residing within Europe—including the United Kingdom—are restricted from using their available margin loan value to withdraw funds from their account.
Account opening method If using DocuSign to submit forms: 
  • For existing Schwab clients, a complete Schwab Advisor Center® profile with the account holder's current email address and mobile phone number. 
  • For new-to-Schwab clients, the email address and a mobile phone number.
  • All clients must use both text message (SMS) authentication and Knowledge Based Authentication (KBA) for DocuSign. 
Note: DocuSign can only be used for existing international clients who have established Alliance login credentials. Advisor Only DocuSign does not have this requirement.

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 individual or joint brokerage account using paper forms.

  1. Verify that federal regulations and Schwab policies ( OFAC-prohibited jurisdictions Tooltip  and Schwab's policy for clients in international jurisdictions) allow you to open an account in a given country.:
  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 Schwab Advisor Center and select the forms below. Select the appropriate master account, click Select, and then select Open PDF:
    • Schwab One International Account Application form
    • W-8BEN Substitute Form for Individuals 
    • International Account – Letter of Explanation form, if account holders who reside overseas wish to establish a mailing address outside their resident country
    • 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 that all additional features the client requested have been added.
  5. To complete using DocuSign, see How to use DocuSign®.
  6. Alternatively, print the form(s) and obtain signatures from all account holders. Send the signed form(s) to your Schwab service team via a Schwab Advisor Center service request. If applicable, mail 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 an international individual or joint brokerage account, 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: International Account – Letter of Explanation
Form: MoneyLink (ACH)
Form: Options Trading and Margin Application
Form: Power of Attorney (Individual POA)
Form: Schwab One International Account Application
Form: W-8BEN Substitute Form for Individuals

Resource: Anti-Money Laundering Guidelines for Investment Advisors
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 my client's spouse access my client's individual account?
No. A spouse can access an account online only if they have power of attorney or a View Only role over the account. To grant power of attorney authority, all account holders and the agent must sign a Power of Attorney form (one form per account). For requirements to grant View Only access, see How to grant View Only access to Schwab accounts

Can ACH (MoneyLinkbe 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 domiciled outside the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.

Are there account features unavailable for international accounts?
Yes. Bank Sweep, Schwab BillPay®, and Schwab Bank Investor CheckingTM cannot be used with international accounts. ACH (MoneyLink) can be used, but transfers can be executed only through U.S. affiliates.

Since the Bank Sweep feature is not available for international accounts, where is cash pending investment placed?
The Schwab One® Interest feature is the default cash investment product for international accounts. For an overview of the broad range of cash options available at Schwab, see the Cash Investments: Products at a Glance chart.

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 organization account
How to open an international trust account
How to open an IRA for international clients/residents
Introduction to cash options and investments
Introduction to submitting client documents