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aless

Opening bank account on tourist visa still possible?

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aless

I read on a few articles on the internet that it's not possible any more to open a bank account in China on a tourist visa, see for example here:

 

http://nomadcapitalist.com/2017/04/28/banking-in-china-foreigners/

 

Now, as I'm not that inclined to fully trust someone who goes by the name of "NomadCapitalist", I ask if someone has recently tried to open a bank account with only his or her passport.

 

I'm writing from my exile in Taiwan, checking if I could go back to China, but visas, limited internet and now maybe also bank accounts problems are making it harder and harder.

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889

China's now adopting the Common Reporting Standard -- the OECD really outdid themselves: such an innocuous name -- and that means foreign customers now mean more work for Chinese banks. So it would not be surprising if at least some banks have become reluctant to open accounts for foreigners. But I've no first-hand information.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Reporting_Standard

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abcdefg

I opened an account last week at CMB 招商银行 (China Merchants Bank) in Kunming. I was required to furnish my US Social Security Number (aka Taxpayer Information Number), as per @889, above. I was required to show my passport and a copy of my alien registration ("境外人员住宿登记表“)from my paichusuo 派出所。The process took about an hour and nobody at the bank spoke English. I'm here on a tourist visa ("L visa") from the US.

 

Quote

I'm writing from my exile in Taiwan, checking if I could go back to China, but visas, limited internet and now maybe also bank accounts problems are making it harder and harder.

 

The internet here is still crap.

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889

Providing a Social Security number is a new requirement. At least in Shenzhen, though, CMB wanted that registration slip from the PSB some years ago, Not all banks did. Or maybe do.

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aless

Are you on an L visa abcdefg? I was always under the impression you lived in Kunming more or less year round. Good news for the account, I'm thinking to go back in September on a tourist visa, so I'll give it a try.

 

Asking for your US tax number is actually a bit strange, every country will have a different one, how are they going to be able to check for every nationality if people don't just give them a fake one? Here in Taiwan you need a tax id number, but it is actually a Taiwanese one, you go to Immigration with your passport and ask for the number. It is used for tax purposes even if you are on a tourist visa, as interests for non resident foreigners are taxed higher.

 

As for the alien registration, I guess it's because they want a verified address, last year after extending my visa I was told to register at my PSB, but when I went they told me it wasn't necessary beceause I was staying at a guest house, and guest staying at hotels and guest houses are already registered. Actually I saw the police coming every day at my gh and checking the foreigner guests list.

 

And yes, the crappy Internet is the thing that worries me more, as I need a reliable internet connection for work. Here I have a 3g unlimited data plan for 25usd/month which is actually faster than adsl back home. As for the rest, I miss being in China. I found Taiwan a bit dull. On the positive side, last year when I started studying chinese in Xiamen, I thought chinese characters were so complicated, now, after four months dealing with traditional characters, my heart flutters with joy every time I see something written in simplified...

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889

Your home country tax id is part of CRS/FATCA requirements. Your account information gets reported back to your home country tax authority, and if you've given a false number it will bounce. To repeat, the only thing innocuous about CRS is the name, and very intentionally so; it's actually quite an extraordinary development.

 

When you're staying in a hotel, getting the lodging registration slip from the PSB is indeed a hassle. But as I said, not necessarily required by all banks.

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abcdefg

 

1 hour ago, aless said:

Are you on an L visa abcdefg?

 

5 hours ago, abcdefg said:

I'm here on a tourist visa ("L visa") from the US.

 

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aless

@abcdefgMine was more a rhetorical question expressing surprise...:wink:

 

@889 thanks for clarifying, I had no idea such an efficient system was already in place. I've just noticed Taiwan isn't part of the agreement, that's why here I wasn't asked for my home country tax id.

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abcdefg

Yes, I abide by the terms of my tourist visa, leaving the country every 60 days for a new entry stamp 盖章。And I do a good deal of travel within China as well, so I actually am a bona fide tourist.

 

1 hour ago, aless said:

I found Taiwan a bit dull.

 

It's very civilized and safe, but I find it kind of tame and watered down. I think of it as "China Lite" -- suitable for people who don't want or cannot handle the "real China experience." Not to say that they don't have some good things there, such as fast and stable internet with less blocked content.

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889

The whole issue of CRS and FATCA is too complex to discuss in a short web post.

 

But Taiwan has signed on to FATCA, so Americans will have to provide Social Security numbers if they have bank accounts in Taiwan.

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abcdefg
3 minutes ago, 889 said:

But Taiwan has signed on to FATCA, so Americans will have to provide Social Security numbers if they have bank accounts in Taiwan.

 

I have a bank account in Taichung, Cathay United, and had to supply them with all appropriate information when I opened it in 2015. Also had to sign an agreement to the effect that I knew they were part of FATCA and that I realized they would keep no secrets on my behalf from Uncle Sam.

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aless
1 hour ago, abcdefg said:

Yes, I abide by the terms of my tourist visa, leaving the country every 60 days for a new entry stamp 盖章。

 

No problems at the border when you start to get too many stamps? I always thought China had become stricter. I used to do the same when I was based in Thailand a few years back. Unfortunately for me, I'm not from a country that can get 10 years multiple entry visas, and staying long term in China on double entry 30 days per stay L visas it's not feasible, as there is a limit on how many tourist visas you can obrain in one year.

 

As for Taiwan, yes, I am with you, I think now it's a great time to be in China, you can feel the energy of the country, the enthusiasm of the people... if it were easier for me visa wise, I'd be on the other side of the Strait, who knows, I might try the permanent student option...

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aless
1 hour ago, 889 said:

But Taiwan has signed on to FATCA, so Americans will have to provide Social Security numbers if they have bank accounts in Taiwan.

 

Maybe I misunderstood, in the first link you sent I thought CRS and FACTA where the same, but know I see FACTA  is a US law. I'm from Europe, so maybe that's why I wasn't asked my country's ID tax number here in Taiwan.

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889

But under FATCA, your bank in Taiwan may ask you at some point to certify that you are not a U.S. person.

 

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abcdefg
2 hours ago, aless said:

No problems at the border when you start to get too many stamps?

 

Have not had any hassles, and hope that I don't. I've read the anonymous hearsay reports on the internet about someone knowing someone who did run into problems.

 

It's certainly conceivable that things such as we have been discussing in this thread change from place to place and from time to time.

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889

Note that now that China has adopted the CRS, you'll probably be asked to complete a form declaring your tax residence and tax ID the next time you head to your bank to conduct any business. That is, the requirements apply to existing as well as new accounts.

 

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Takeshi

Surprisingly enough, I had no problems creating an account the other day on a tourist visa (pretty sure they didn't check my visa status though), but they wanted a Chinese address and a cell phone number. Tax number was supposed to be a required cell, but I told them I didn't know it and they just said actually they don't really care and I could leave it blank. I'm not from the US though, that might be why.

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889

What bank?

 

(And I'd be awfully sure that at some point they took your passport away and copied the front page, the visa page, and the entry-stamp page. Maybe they did this in another room.)

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Takeshi

ICBC. Perhaps you're right about the passport.

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889

And when filling out all those forms to open your bank account, be sure to the various boxes, not X them, Not sure why this makes such a big difference to banks in China, but it does.

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