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I live in the United States. My sister spent 3 months working here last summer, and is due a tax refund which she has requested by check. To reduce the risk of the check going missing in the mail, she is having the check mailed to my US address rather than her European one.

How can it be cashed given that she lives in Europe?

She is visiting me in May but it is unlikely the check will arrive by then. I was Googling options for me cashing the check into my account and then transferring her the money, but this seems impossible without her signature on the check. Are there better options than:

(1) Me mailing her the check, having her sign it, sending it back to me, me cashing it, and then transferring her the money.

(2) Me mailing her the check and then she figuring out how to get a European bank to take it (if possible?)

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    I'm assuming from your wording that she has already filed her return. Why do you think it is unlikely that the check will arrive by May? Unless it's gotten noticably slower since the days when I got paper checks for refunds, 6 weeks is the max, 4 is more usual.
    – jamesqf
    Apr 5 '18 at 19:11
  • I'm not sure what your filling status has been, but when filling as a non-resident it can be incredibly slow. My 2014 return took so long that I recieved my refund three weeks after I received my 2015 refund! Apr 5 '18 at 20:48
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If you mail it on to her, she can sign it and deposit it in her European bank. They may take six weeks to process it and charge a fee for the foreign exchange, but it can be done.

Alternatively, she can sign it over to you, you can deposit it in your US bank, and send her the money, assuming the treasury check is not crossed to the payee only.

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You can endorse the check on her behalf if you have her permission to do so, and sign it over to yourself. Then endorse it again on your own behalf in order to deposit it. The endorsement would look like this (italics represent signatures).

PAY TO THE ORDER OF (YOUR NAME)
(Print your sister's name)
P.P. Your Signature
——————————
FOR DEPOSIT TO (YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBER)
Your signature

The "P.P." before your signature the first time is the Latin abbreviation for "by agency of". I would also suggest that your sister send you a power of attorney, which authorizes you to act on your behalf. Most banks will not accept checks that are endorsed by someone else unless they are accompanied by a power of attorney. It also protects you in case your sister ever claims that you forged her signature without her permission.

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