An American citizen friend of mine married a person in England some thirty years ago and has lived there ever since.

A couple of years ago she inherited some Stock when her mother died. She has finally been able to transfer them into her name and now they reside with a brokerage.

She is being told that they cannot be sold unless she lives here continuously for at least 6 months. She does not intend to return to this country.

Is what she is being told a true statement.
If it is has she got any alternatives to being able to sell the stock and get the cash.

  • I've had some similar issues as a UK resident with some shares in a US-listed company (from some employee share scheme) held on JPMorgan's adr.com. I get the dividend cheques fine and can deposit them here, but it seems to be hard to sell the shares and repatriate the proceeds to the UK without jumping through a lot of hoops to open a US bank account (or something like that; it's been a while since I looked into it).
    – timday
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 20:00
  • It should not be hard at all, any decent brokerage should be able to wire the money to your account (this is not cheap). They will need the SWIFT codes, your bank should be able to help. If she is a US citizen she may not have had a W8-Ben in place especially if they are in her name (and not "held" by the brokerage). I would be more worried that the brokerage did hold them, and gambled them away and is now stalling.
    – mckenzm
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 3:42

1 Answer 1


What she is being told is complete baloney. See this question here for example, and this Motley Fool article republished on the Nasdaq site.

In order to trade U.S. stocks, the easiest thing to do is to open a brokerage account with a U.S. broker. However, brokerage firms have different procedures for non-citizens based on their residency status, and non-citizens therefore have to produce more documentation in order to comply with their internal rules.

There is no residency requirement, once the account is set up. If she already has a brokerage, then that part is done.

I can't find anything definitive on the SEC website, but this page gives advice to foreign investors against getting scammed:

We encourage all investors to thoroughly investigate any investment opportunity and the person promoting it before you part with your money—especially if you are a non-U.S. investor seeking to invest in U.S. stocks.

Your friend may want to push back against the broker. It may be that they just don't want to fill out (or don't know how to fill out) the paperwork required.

Based on Tim Day's comment, I'm wondering if it's an issue with shares and having somewhere to deposit the proceeds. They may require a US bank account for that. But even there, the residency requirement is BS. I opened a bank account on the day after I landed in the US. I just had to have appropriate identification.

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