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Can I open a bank account in Italy as a non-resident?

Giampietro Vianello
Giampietro Vianello - [email protected]
Can I open a bank account in Italy as a non-resident?
People walk past a branch of the Italian UniCredit bank in August 2011. Photo by OLIVIER MORIN / AFP

Having an Italian bank account is an advantage when it comes to paying for utilities and services in Italy, but can foreign residents get one?

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Opening an Italian bank account is one of the very first things people moving to Italy are generally advised to do as overseas accounts (especially those from outside the eurozone) are unlikely to cut it when it comes to things like receiving an Italian salary, paying taxes and taking out insurance.

But there are some cases in which even non-Italian residents may hugely benefit from or may need to have an account with an Italian IBAN number.

For instance, owners of a second home in Italy may be required to provide an Italian account to set up a direct debit for utility bills and internet or phone payments, and even paying IMU (Italy’s main property tax) is generally a much more straightforward process for Italian account holders, though it can still be paid via a foreign account.

But can foreign nationals that don’t enjoy residency status under Italian law (that’s anyone who spends less than 183 days a year in the country) open an Italian bank account?

The short answer is yes, though there are a number of things to be aware of.

Any foreign national aged 18 or over can open a bank account in Italy, but the full range of account types – from regular bank accounts, or conti correnti, to savings and deposit accounts – is generally only available to legal residents.

READ ALSO: Which are the best banks for foreigners in Italy?

In particular, non-Italian residents can only open international accounts (known as conti internazionali or conti correnti per residenti stranieri), which often come with a number of limitations regarding the banking services and operations holders can have access to.

Generally speaking, major banks (UniCredit, Intesa Sanpaolo, BancoBPM, BPER, etc.) tend to have better international account offers as they regularly operate with foreign clients, whereas local institutions often only provide very basic non-resident accounts. 

The documentation needed to open non-resident accounts tends to vary from bank to bank, and at times even from branch to branch. 

That said, the following documents are generally required:

  • A valid identification document (usually a passport)
  • An Italian tax code (or codice fiscale)
  • Proof of foreign address
  • Proof of income or employment, which may include pay stubs, employment contracts, or other financial documents

Additional documents may be required depending on the bank’s policies.

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The relevant documentation will in most cases have to be presented in person, as most branches will not be able to perform identity checks and anti-money laundering procedures remotely. 

As a final note, it’s advisable for foreign nationals looking to open non-resident accounts to enquire about the type of verification checks they’ll have to go through to access online banking services.

Access to desktop or app services generally happens by means of a two-step verification process, with one step usually involving information sent to a mobile phone. 

In some cases, passcodes can only be sent to an Italian phone number.

Have you opened an Italian bank account as a non-resident? Share your experience and recommendations below.

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