Just got this note from Wells Fargo:

Please be advised the restriction will not be removed from your WellsTrade Traditional IRA brokerage account xxxx-xxxx, because you do not reside in the United States for at least 6 months and 1 day per year. Even though we ask that you transfer out all assets and close the account, no action will be taken until you contact us by phone.

What are the limitations on "transfer out all assets"? If I find a bank that will open an IRA for me (non-resident former resident alien, no plans to return to the USA), can the existing shares be transferred into that account, or do I have to liquidate them and repurchase them?

If no such bank can be found, can I transfer my IRA to my wife, who remains a US citizen, even though she resides overseas?

I just turned 50, so it's not really feasible to fob them off until retirement.

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    1)can I transfer my IRA to my wife? I believe you can provided you are divorced. 2)If you can find another bank to open an IRA, that transfer should be able to be without a liquidation. – BobE Jan 13 '18 at 22:02
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    Transfer posibility depends on the type of investment - if they are Well’s Fargo’s own investment funds, they cannot be transferred; if they are publicly traded, they can potentially. – Aganju Jan 14 '18 at 15:26

First a disclaimer that you should definitely check with a professional before doing anything...

You might be able to find a provider that will accept you as a client even though you are not resident. Draw up a list of big providers and give them a call/email to ask if they will accept a non-resident with an IRA account.

If you find a new provider you should be able to do a 'direct transfer' of your IRA over to them (which is not the same thing as a distribution) and you shouldn't need to liquidate your shares: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/ira-transfer.asp

I don't think IRAs can be transferred to a spouse apart from after death or divorce, sorry.

Another issue is any tax implications that arise in your host country from having an IRA account (with double taxation treaties and such). This depends on which country you are living in, and can get complicated.

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