How to Open a Bank Account in Russia

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If you travel or work in Russia, it’s wise to open a bank account there. You can pay for goods and services in local currency, directly from your local bank account. You can withdraw cash from ATMs without paying a fee and you won’t have to worry about exchange rate costs. In Russia, you can open a ruble, dollar or euro account. Opening a ruble and dollar account with the same bank will enable you to make transfers to and from the U.S. You can easily move funds from your dollar account to your ruble account and vice versa. There are no U.S regulations in place restricting U.S citizens from opening a bank account in Russia. Overseas accounts with assets exceeding $10,000 should be declared in your yearly income tax return to the Internal Revenue Service. Dividends, interest and other non-U.S. income should also be declared.

Things You'll Need

  • Passport Proof of ID Evidence of income Work permit
  • Open your bank account in Russia in person. It's the easiest and quickest way. Choose a branch in Moscow or St. Petersburg. Both cities have a large choice of large banks, some with a representative branch in the U.S., making it easier to manage your account from either country.

  • Check out a list of banks online. Check the banks' websites for English versions. Bank of Moscow, UniCredit Bank, Russian International Bank and Raiffeisen Bank are examples of banks that have websites in English. The banks have English-speaking staff, both in branch and call operators. Choosing an English-speaking bank makes it easier to open and manage a bank account in Russia.

  • Choose your bank. Get the phone number and address, and then call the bank. Find out the requirements for opening an account in Russia. You will need your passport, proof of identity and evidence of income. If you work in Russia you will need to show a work permit or other evidence of employment. Some banks require a letter from your employer.

  • Call the bank to make an appointment to open a bank account in Russia once you have all your documents in hand. Attend the meeting. Complete the application form. Your documents will be copied and returned. Make an initial deposit. The bank will verify your details and identity.

  • Call the bank after one or two days to get a status report. You account should be open. Visit the bank to get your account information, checks and debit card.

Tips & Warnings

  • Check with a Russian consulate office in the U.S. (there are three: Washington, San Francisco and New York) to get the names of Russian banks with representative offices in the U.S. You can open a bank account in Russia from the U.S. via mail. Call the bank to get an application pack. It takes several weeks to complete the process by mail. You will also have to send your original documents so they can be verified. Some banks offer the facility to submit an application form online. You will need to provide your original documents by mail or in person.
  • Check with the bank about local banking regulations. Some countries require you complete a declaration if transfers--into and out of--your bank account exceed certain amounts. Always respect local banking laws. Penalties for breaking laws can be severe. Your account could be closed and your money retained.

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