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I'll be relocating from Europe (Italy) to USA soon, similar to this question but vice-versa. Is the cheque in euros to be cashed by a new US bank, also the best option here?

As a second part of the question: does it make sense in the current financial situation in the US to keep or not to keep my European bank account? Perhaps it's better I not transfer the full amount?

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    I still have my european account (15 years after moving) and I find it often quite convenient. That depends on the ongoing level of interaction with the old location of course. However, if it is free, I would keep it - nothing to loose, and potentially useful. – Aganju Feb 13 '17 at 14:44
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The best way to do this would be to exchange the funds into USD and wire the funds to your bank account in the US.

It is up to you whether you want to hold USD or Euros. Depends if you plan to invest money in the US.

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US banks are often helpless with international checks, so I would recommend to do a wire transfer instead. Otherwise you might end up being in the US with no money and a worthless piece of paper in your hand.
First, set up your european account to allow wire transfers to the US, if that needs any action. Speak to someone in the bank in person, to make sure you can later initiate such a transfer remotely/online.
After travelling, set up your US account, and then remote trigger a wire transfer. Costs are relatively small, for example with Postbank you pay less than 30 $, and get the bank currency exchange ratio (which is much better than the exchange ratio for paper money).
The wire transfer cost is partly proportional to the amount, and partly constant, so don't split it in many pieces - make one larger transfer.

  • My bank here requires the bank account to be closed before I leave the country. If the cheque is not an option, this means I would need to open a bank account in US while I am still here and then wire the funds to the US bank before leaving. The first step itself (opening a US bank account remotely) sounds like a hassle. Or am I mistaken? – MaviPranav Feb 13 '17 at 18:07
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A lot depends on how much is in the account, and whether you expect to be returning (or having any sort of financial dealings) in Europe in the future.

My own experience (about 10 years out of date, and with Switzerland) is that the easiest way to transfer reasonable amounts (a few thousand dollars) was simply to get it in $100 bills from the European bank. I also kept the account open for a number of years while living in the US (doing contracting that was paid into the European bank), and could withdraw money from American ATMs.

I eventually had to close the account due to issues between the bank and the IRS. I think it was only that particular bank (UBS) that was the problem, though.

  • If you try to carry over $10,000 through customs, you will require increased paperwork, and face intense scrutiny if you do not have it. customs website. – Xalorous Mar 16 '17 at 17:43
  • @Xalorous: Yes, that's why I said that it depends on how much is in the account. I seldom have over $10K in my account. – jamesqf Mar 17 '17 at 18:13

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