Can Foreigners Open a Bank Account in the Philippines?

Updated March 18, 2018

YES, foreigners can open a bank account in the Philippines.

If you're a foreigner wanting to open a bank account here, you will soon find that banks differ in their policies regarding opening accounts for foreigners. Even branches of the same bank might have different rules.

Obviously, banks in communities with a lot of expats will be more ready to accommodate you, as they already have relevant experiences.

Banks require that you have a residential address here in the Philippines.

For US citizens, residents and non-resident aliens:
It might be more difficult now for US individuals to open a bank account here following the Philippine government's ratification of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in December 2016. FATCA requires non-US financial institutions, including Philippine financial institutions, to report to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) information on US citizens with financial accounts through the International Data Exchange Service (IDES).

I updated my Customer Information Sheet at BPI yesterday, when I claimed my EMV ATM card, and I saw a big portion for US individuals to fill up. They are now required to present US IRS Form W-9 and US passport or identification document or IRS Form W-8BEN and other supporting documents, whichever are applicable to their US status.

Some banks might impose certain requirements or higher deposit balances to compensate for their time and effort spent in complying with FATCA.

Present these documents to the bank:

1.  Your passport

2.  Your Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR)
      or ACR I-card
      or Immigrant Certificate of Registration (ICR)
      or Special Investor Resident Visa (SIRV)
      or PRA Special Resident Visa (SRRV)

3.  Some banks require that your visa shows you have been here in the Philippines for more than 180 days.

Some banks might require more documents or more valid IDs to verify your identity, permanent address and source of funds.

Ask also your account's maintaining-balance requirement to avoid the below-maintaining-balance penalty.

While in the U.S., US citizens who have decided to move to the Philippines can also open a Philippine-based account at PNB branches in the U.S.

Likewise, UK citizens can ask BPI Europe in London for assistance in opening a Philippine-based account.

Related article:

Direct Deposit for US Pensioners in the Philippines



  1. If you walk into the PNB or Metrobank office in New York City with your passport and driver's license, the supervising banker will tell you that no U.S. citizen without Philippine birth or dual citizenship may open an account there for accessing funds while in Philippines. The information you have posted here is inaccurate.

    1. Hi Siasconset: There are a lot of non-resident foreigners here and a number of foreign BPO workers here in the Philippines who have accounts in Philippine banks here in the Philippines. They're not yet residents here. They just need to present their ACR. For BPO employees, they use it to receive their salaries, For others, they use it to receive their pensions or transfers from the US, UK, etc. How isolated the Philippines would be if that policy as the banker has described is the one existing here in the Philippines. Is he even aware that there are lots of expats here? and a lot of non-Filipino retirees here? And foreign professionals here? Is he aware of the special resident retiree visa program available to non-Filipino citizens? Is he aware of Direct Deposit accounts for pensions from the US and UK?

  2. I am a U.S. born Citizen (no part of me is Filipino and I am not a dual citizen) and have lived in the Philippines for the past 13 years. I have a direct deposit account from SSA in the States with PNB and have had with several other Philippine Banks over the years...Who ever is giving this information in the New York branch has 'no idea' what they are talking about. This is why if you are serious about opening an account here....then you need to ask for the Manager not a supervisor...All I needed was my Pass Port, I-card and either a rental agreement, letter from my Land-Lord, or a utility bill in my name with the address. That's it, no muss no fuss...very good service so far and Manager is very helpful.

    1. Hi Roy, sorry I read your comment only now. Thank you very much for sharing information, and giving personal witness that foreigners are allowed to open bank accounts here in the Philippines.
      And I think only a few countries now have this restriction (or maybe none), with the Internet reaching all countries. OFWs can open bank accounts in most, if not all, countries where they're working.
      Thanks again, Roy, and happy happy 2017!!!

    2. Nora, back in 2003, when I was proposing to live in the Philippines, I opened a PNB account at the London Branch (PNB Europe) for MEPZ Lapu-Lapu City. At that time I had no permanent residency and only a temporary address here. I was travelling backwards and forwards to the UK on a Multi-Entry Visa. I was told to collect my Passbook in Cebu, where it was waiting for me. 14 years later I still have my accounts with PNB so I think that the NY contributor was blowing smoke from of his bottom. Now years, years later, it is even easier. You are right about the SRVV which requires the foreign applicant to deposit into a nominated Phippine bank which would be impossible.

  3. Katrina Batestil & Robert Mac Intyre
    April 6, 2017

    My husband and I opened a PNB saving account back in 2012 in the Philippines, and had no activity since then. We were told to activate our account here in the US.
    Is there any type of PNB office or branches here in Florida to do what we need to do going forward? We want to make sure our account will stay active.

    1. Hi Katrina and Robert: There's a PNB Remittance Center Inc. (PNBRCI) in Miami:
      1001 N. America Way Suite 103, Miami
      Phone: (786) 631-3803 / (786)631-3685
      Fax: (786) 631-3890
      I think it's wise to call first before going there.

  4. Hi, do you have some banks, I mean the name of some banks who accept to open an account for a foreigner? I tried many times but it failed. I'm french but I'm living in Mandaluyong. I have I- CARD, my driver license, proof of billing for internet, globe (land line), I;m back in the Philippines since almost 2 years and I don't want to go back to my country.

    1. PNB, Union Bank, BDO spring to mind, I have held an account with BPI too. I think that you should seek some help from a friendly cutomer service assistant, in your chosen bank, Do you have a legitimate income? If so have you a TIN?

    2. Thank you very much, Barry Wolff, for responding to questions here and sharing your actual experiences. Sorry I missed your posts months ago. Thank you that you travel frequently to the Philippines or that you're staying here.

  5. Salut...bdo. Bpi...sans problems. Comme dit plus haut passport et carte touriste ou resident. Aci

  6. Hi,
    I am from Papua New Guinea and reside in Papua New Guinea. Is it possible for me to open a bank account in Philippines? If yes what are the requirements.


    1. Papua New Guinea resident: Yes, you can open a bank account here in the Philippines if you stay here for a time, and you have an ACR, ICR, SIRV or SRRV. Please find the list of requirements in the article above.

    2. You keep saying the ACR Card. But in fact, there are many foreigners who doesn't have ACR card. ACR Card are only for foreigners who stayed for more than 59 days, then thats the online time, the foreigner can get an ACR card. I walked in most of the banks, They are requiring me to present an ACR card, which i dont. Do you have a list of bank that caters foreginers who doesn't have ACR card.


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