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Old 23.01.2008, 23:45
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Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

I'm curious if it's true that you have to close all US bank accounts (checking and savings) when you move to Switzerland and open an account there. I heard that is the case and that after 6 months they can freeze your accounts if still open. This is supposedly due to the Patriot Act. Does anyone have ANY info on this at all. I tried doing a search on here for that info, but couldn't find anything. I ask this question because I will still have property in the US that I have to pay bills on and some business dealings that funds go into my US account (I'm told those firms who pay me won't send my checks to Switzerland), so I can't really close the US accounts. I really need to know the facts about this so any help is appreciated. Thanks much!
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Old 24.01.2008, 00:25
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

I have been here two years and still have my account at Wells Fargo. All American citizens need to pay US taxes and declare worldwide income, so I don't know how they could require one to close US accounts. However, my experience is only personal, so not sure if I am entirely correct.

Sent you a PM for your other questions.

fduvall

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I'm curious if it's true that you have to close all US bank accounts (checking and savings) when you move to Switzerland and open an account there. I heard that is the case and that after 6 months they can freeze your accounts if still open. This is supposedly due to the Patriot Act. Does anyone have ANY info on this at all. I tried doing a search on here for that info, but couldn't find anything. I ask this question because I will still have property in the US that I have to pay bills on and some business dealings that funds go into my US account (I'm told those firms who pay me won't send my checks to Switzerland), so I can't really close the US accounts. I really need to know the facts about this so any help is appreciated. Thanks much!
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Old 24.01.2008, 05:43
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

No, you have nothing to worry about. I've never heard of anyone having any problems with keeping a US account while living over seas. And as far as I know there are no laws affecting that. I feel like my bank would have mentioned something when I was opening my US account given the fact that I was opening it cause I needed to keep a US account to get paid into after moving to Switzerland.

I'm kinda curious why you're asking. Who gave you this information? Cause I don't think they know what they are talking about.
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Old 24.01.2008, 05:58
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

I actually was the one who said this. As this is something I heard not only from my lawyer and accountant, but a friend who also relocated was told this by his relocation company.

For me it was a minor inconvience. I'm sure others it is more difficult. Whether it is a rumor or not, it made little difference to my situation. And maybe the situation varies depending on employer or if you own property.
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Old 24.01.2008, 06:00
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

Apparently someone's attorney gave them that advice so not sure. I just wanted to see if anyone had personal experiences of this happening or knew anything about it. I recently went to my bank to add someone as a signor for any US deposits that I get, etc. and we disclosed to the bank rep why we were doing it, i.e. I'd be living overseas for quite a few years and would have this person handling my affairs, etc. I'm sure if he knew anything about this, he would have said something. Hopefully it's not true.
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Old 24.01.2008, 08:01
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

If there is no activity on the account, it becomes dormant. Since you in the US pay a monthly fee, they should not close the account...

I had an account go dormant in the UK which was easy enough to fix.

My old lady had a US account which was a pain in the butt to close! I crafted a finely-worded response to the manager after the ignored the requests by letter to close the account and the monthly charges put it into the red. My closing statement was "by the time you've found the original request to close the account, please look at the activity on the account and you'll discover why it's now a negative amount. Once you've rectified your error, please close the account and give the amount to a charity of your choice".
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Old 24.01.2008, 08:40
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

I kept my Wells Fargo account active up to 18 years (I finally closed it 2 years ago) after moving to Switzerland for the simple reason of exchanging money when on vacation. Seems most banks want nothing to do with any currency other than U.S.A. or Canadian and if they did I would have to pay big fees to buy dollars.
I might add, avoid checks, Swiss banks don't like that "funny money". I had a check once from Bank of America which took me ages to find someone who'd cash it.
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Old 24.01.2008, 08:47
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

From my experience and that of my fiance, not true. We both continue to have our US accounts open and have multiple accounts here.

Maybe its just a rumor.

Brgds/jg
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Old 24.01.2008, 09:23
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

My Husband and I have lived here for the last 7 years and have three bank accounts in the U.S. My Husband is employed with a U.S. company and pays taxes in the U.S. All our statements etc arrive here at our Swiss address, there has never been a problem with them. When I need to transfer money over here I simply ring the bank or email them and hey presto the funds arrive !!

Hope this helps
Irishlass
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Old 24.01.2008, 09:49
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

We've been in Europe (CH and UK) for over 10 years while still maintaining our accounts in the US. No problems whatsoever.

In fact, the US government apparently has been addressing this misconception. This link provides some more info.
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Old 24.01.2008, 10:20
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

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If there is no activity on the account, it becomes dormant.
Meh, sorta. If there's no activity on an account and no money, definitely... but I've had an account for more than one year with no activity and never had a problem.

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Since you in the US pay a monthly fee, they should not close the account...
Think that depends on your bank - I never heard of a monthly fee on a bank account till I came here! I was shocked when UBS offered to give me a free account because I was a student at the time... I thought all bank accounts were free. :-)

My US bank accounts are actually registered to my address here in Switzerland (midwestern bank of small-to-medium size). Been that way for a couple years now, never had a problem. I would be shocked if your account was frozen for moving abroad - as someone else pointed out, we have tax obligations as long as we maintain citizenship, and I can't imagine that the government would prefer us to keep our money in a foreign institution where they have less ability to interfere, governments being what they are... ;-)

Lance
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Old 24.01.2008, 10:31
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

A U.S. account becomes dormant after 5, 7 or 10 years (depending on the state) of no customer initiated activity. The regular in- and outflow of money such as rent or pension payments does not suffice. It has to be something that would not occur if you were dead, to make it simple.

If your account has become dormant, your name is published on the internet at http://www.missingmoney.com/Main/Index.cfm

There, you can also find other dormant assets such as uncashed checks (e.g., your electricity company sent you a check for a reimbursement but in the meantime, you had moved away, never received the check and therefore did not cash it). So, for anyone who ever lived in the U.S, it is clearly worth a try to search for such assets. I found minor accounts (well, you can't have it all) for several relatives. There is no time limit for claiming this money, and you get interest for some years, too.

Hope this helps.
Idgie

Last edited by Idgie; 24.01.2008 at 10:49.
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Old 24.01.2008, 10:56
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

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I'm curious if it's true that you have to close all US bank accounts (checking and savings) when you move to Switzerland and open an account there. I heard that is the case and that after 6 months they can freeze your accounts if still open.
absolutely not true. i have friends that have been away 5 years or more, and even receive their statements overseas; no one has ever questioned why or how they continue to have US bank accounts...
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Old 24.01.2008, 11:14
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

I've had mine intact for two years with no activity (other than login in on online banking to check things).
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Old 24.01.2008, 11:34
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

it also could have been them looking out for you, security issues and such. Is that account connected to a credit card or anything? If you didn't let them know you were coming here, and they saw odd activities/charges, they often freeze accounts to be on the safe side, incase there is fraudulent activity going on.

good luck
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Old 24.01.2008, 18:04
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

Thanks SOOOOO much to all of you for putting my mind at ease. I was terrified of yet another daunting task in the preparation of my move to Zurich. Now I don't have to worry about my US accounts. Thanks so much to chiguy for putting the link to the article in there. That really eased my mind. Thanks also to LaurenM for initially bringing it to my attention and looking after me with advice that she got from her attorney. I appreciate everyone's tips and advice and always welcome them. Good Day.
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Old 01.01.2011, 20:25
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

***RESURRECTING OLD THREAD***

Hi everyone. I am curious if anyone has had trouble with US banks, as this OP was asking about way back in '08. I have kept US accounts open and use a..err..mailing address in the States, but I wonder if it would be easier/more legal to cite my Swiss address for a checking, savings and/or investment account.

I know some people fear having their accounts closed if a bank thinks you now live abroad. My banks put a note in my file to say I travel overseas often, and therefore they should not freeze my credit card accounts when I buy plane tickets/amazon goods.

Any updates, thoughts, etc?
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Old 01.01.2011, 20:56
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

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Any updates, thoughts, etc?
No changes. U.S. citizens here for ten years, have accounts, including a credit card, in the U.S. and have used our Swiss address since we moved here.

I do not like having to rely on someone to forward important bank information, etc.
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Old 01.01.2011, 22:39
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

No issues here. Still have my US address, but do everything electronically, so no paper statements to worry about. US bills and credit cards are paid in USD, everything else from the Swiss accounts. Seems to work with periodic rebalancing of funds.
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Old 02.01.2011, 08:07
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Re: Anyone from the US ever had a US bank account frozen after moving abroad?

Am not a US citizen, and not having issues either. In fact, just received $ for stuff sold over Amazon US.

If you're overseas and have internet banking account(s), you need to keep updated of what's going on with your account(s). I was peeved when they charged me for checking account maintenance without advance notice.
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