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I'm a Brazilian citizen and have been working in Europe (Austria) for a few months. My contract is wrapping up, and I'm returning back home soon. I've been getting paid in EUR all this time and it is in an Austrian bank account that I own.

I've managed to save an okay amount, however I'd like to keep my Euros to exercise international purchases and investments without going back to my home currency (brazilian Real), which would then go back to either Euro or Dollar - which of course is inefficient.

Is there a way to transfer, or keep the bank account up even though I won't have residence? Or should I just exchange?

For the matter, PayPal in Brazil no longer works for international purchases due to a decision in our Central Bank, and now automatically exchanges any foreign coin that gets put in. I don't know any alternatives.

  • It may make sense to say in which country your bank account is currently. The rules are similar but not identical across the EU. – TorstenS Jul 22 at 14:30
  • @TorstenS yeah, I've updated it. It is in Austria. – lucasgcb Jul 22 at 14:31
  • Why can't you keep the Austrian account? I kept European accounts for years after working there. I could even withdraw dollars using a US ATM. You might also look into Swiss accounts. – jamesqf Jul 22 at 15:45
  • @jamesqf How did you handle the lack of residence and contact number? – lucasgcb Jul 22 at 18:20
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This site is very strict about recommendations about products and services, so I will not come up with any links to banks or other institutions, but I am trying to provide some hints.

I assume that you currently have residence and an address in Austria and you have a current account in your name with a bank in Austria. So possibly, it will be the easiest to try and keep that account, IMHO. Opening a different (new) bank account under the assumption that you will be a non-EU national without a residency in Austria might become difficult to say the least.

So it would possibly a bit of: Let's assume they will not find out. You could arrange an address (I think just an address would do) to give you your bank simply as your "new address" so if they feel like sending anything to you it will not bounce back.

That might be the address of a friend or some kind of maildrop. The latter one would cost a mothly fee, but on the other hand, if you want to shop for tangible things in Europe you would need a delivery address anyway.

I have no idea how much money we are talking about, but you may also consider signing up for some kind of prepaid credit card. You will need to do this while you are in Austria. Then you can pay in the money into that credit card account and just spend it for online purchases. Just double-check the limits. Some of those prepaid credit cards have limits how much you can load onto them; sometimes it's in the lower 4-digit EUR range, sometimes in the lower 5-digits, but this is the maximum I know of. Note that the issuers of such prepaid credit cards need to make a living, too, so they will usually charge some percentage from you for loading it. Check the fine print!

Maybe you should to both unless you already have a credit card for your current account.

  • The friend option could do, I think, but it does sound a bit dodgy. For the matter I won't buy stuff to be physically delivered ever, but pay for subscriptions among other digital goods (which is why a service like Paypal denying me this is such a pain). – lucasgcb Jul 22 at 15:01
  • I understand your point about "dodgy", but you will not hurt anyone that way and you will not steal anyone's money. Opening a bank account is indeed often a lot harder than just keeping it. – TorstenS Jul 22 at 15:19
  • Also I may have to "sign off" and deliver my ID card to the government once I'm done with my work to be on good terms, so I guess I'll really just ask the bank if there's a way to maintain the account. An alternative would be nice if not. – lucasgcb Jul 22 at 15:34
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Disclaimer: I'm EU citizen (Germany, so not even Austria), so I don't really have insight from the outside.

That being said, I'm not aware that the EU regulations would require an ongoing EU residency in order to be allowed to have a bank account (in fact, even homeless people do have a right to a very basic bank account - as long as their stay in the EU is legal). The banks have to do some legwork to make sure of your identity when opening an account, but your bank has done that with you.
So the first thing I'd recommend is: talk to your bank.

There are actually banks that offer accounts for international customers with varying means of doing the ID work from having a notary in your home country certify who you are to going to a Post office for PostIdentwhile you are in Germany. (not sure about Austria, but worst case, such a German account may be an option)

If even that doesn't work out, there are e.g. US banks who offer accounts for international customers. I have one, and no residency in the US was needed (in fact, I have to declare every so often that I'm not residing in the US in order for the tax treaty to kick in), nor did I need to show up in person in the US.

These international accounts may be advantageous in that

  • they may offer cheaper ways to transfer money to that account (e.g. I can transfer money to my international US account using a SEPA account number) or get it back from there.
  • In contrast to "domestic" accounts they may be set up to deal with a postal address in Brazil. (I once had difficulties accessing my "leftover" bank account in Canada after coming back to the EU as the Canadian bank would not ship the new card to Europe for a domestic account when the old expired.) Whether/how much of a concern that is would depend on how often you expect to return to the EU.
  • "I'm not aware that the EU regulations would require an ongoing EU residency" -> There isn't to my best knowledge. The issue is not regulation, at least not directly, but bank's business policy. The motivation of a bank in the Euro zone to conduct proper KYC and AML for a customer in Brazil may heavily depend on the potential earnings they can expect from that customer. And just depositing money to spend is not attractive at all to banks. – TorstenS Jul 23 at 8:15
  • @ThorstenS: I fully agree that one difficulty may be banks choosing not to offer this service. Still, I think there's a substantial difference in the difficulty of opening a bank account from outside the EU/the country where that account will be compared to keeping an account that is already working as in the latter case the bank has already done the ID legwork, and they also need to do the money laundering checks anyways with domestic accounts. – cbeleites Jul 24 at 8:58

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