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How foreigners can open and close a bank account in Italy

41 Comments
  1. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you will be a
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    great writing, have a nice afternoon!

  2. I was fortunate enough to find VademecumItalia on the internet. I cannot begin to describe how helpful they have been!! From my initial email for help right to the end result, VI have worked with quiet determination to resolve my issue. They always responded to my queries quickly and demonstrated an immense amount of knowledge about Italian bank accounts. What had taken me months to try and sort…to no resolve I might add, they successfully did in 2 weeks! It was amazing how well they managed to help me…so fast and with such professionalism! If you require any assistance with Italian banking and its laws, these are the people you need. They do everything for you from start to finish….even liaising with the bank and writing complicated letters in Italian. Their cost is very reasonable and well worth it. I HIGHLY recommend this service. A++ Grazie VI, I will be recommending you to everyone that I know!

    • Dear Nadia, we understand that for foreigners not living in Italy it can be frustrating to deal with Italian banks. For this reason, we suggest to ask for professional assistance. We are glad that you appreciated our assistance, because for us there is nothing better than a satisfied customer!!! Thank you very much for your wonderful comment! VI

  3. Hi, This post is very helpful for me,i like it very much,thanks!Since i don’t speak Italian, would you guys write the closing letter for me?

    • Dear Tommy, thanks for your nice comment. If you want to close your Italian bank account send us an email (assistance@vademecumitalia.com) or fill in the Contact Us form. As soon as you send us all the relevant information we can help you closing your bank account in a few days! We are looking forward to hearing from you! VI

  4. Buongiorno, ma vale la stessa cosa anche per le poste? Io devo chiudere un conto corrente Bancoposta. Mi sapete dire come devo fare?posso scrivere una raccomandata?cosa ci devo scrivere?grazie. L.

    • Leonardo, innanzitutto ti ringraziamo per aver contattato VI. Non è vietato inviare una raccomandata predisposta liberamente dall’interessato, tuttavia si consiglia di utilizzare lo specifico modulo delle poste che si può trovare in tutti gli uffici postali o anche online per esempio cliccando qui. Il modulo, debitamente compilato, può essere consegnato in un qualunque Ufficio Postale o inviato, in originale e tramite raccomandata AR, alla Casella Postale 5000 – 10137 Torino oppure all’ufficio postale dove si trova il conto. Va in ogni caso allegata tutta la documentazione necessaria (indicata nel modulo) e copia di un documento d’identità del richiedente, ovviamente in corso di validità. La chiusura del conto determina l’estinzione di tutti i rapporti collegati al conto stesso. La chiusura non prevede costi. Qualora sia tutto in ordine, le Poste dovrebbero chiudere il conto e trasferire il saldo positivo sul conto corrente indicato dall’interessato tramite bonifico (è anche possibile chiedere un assegno) entro 15 giorni da quando le Poste ricevono tutta la corretta documentazione. In caso avessi necessità di assistenza professionale per la chiusura del tuo conto bancoposta puoi scriverci al seguente indirizzo: assistance@vademecumitalia.com. Grazie. VI.

  5. Hi there,
    Great Advice above, I was wondering if you help with one query.

    I’m currently living in Italy as EU Citizen from UK and in process of obtaining permission to stay more than 3 months but as being self reliant rather than on study or work. However in order to obtain Residence I need to show sufficient funds in an Italian Bank Account but in order to get an Italian bank account I need a Residence permit. :S

    Am I right in saying that I would be best to open a Non Resident Bank Account even though I’m already living in Italy?

    Thanks
    Martin

    • Dear Martin, thank you for your interest in VI!
      We have to admit that we did not fully understand your question. However, as you know, that fact that you are currently “living” in Italy does not mean that you can open an Italian Bank account. According to what you wrote it seems that you could open a non-resident account, provided that you have the following documents: 1) identity document (passport); 2) Italian tax code (codice fiscale); 3) Italian address (often, to prove the Italian address, a paid utility bill such as water, energy, gas etc. is required); 4) banker’s draft (not always). You could switch to an Italian bank account later, if you need to, which has lower costs. However, we suggest to ask the interested Italian authority if a non-resident account is fine in order to demonstrate that you have “sufficient funds”, before you open it. If you need more information or specific assistance please send an email to assistance@vademecumitalia.com. Thank you. VI.

  6. Hi.

    I live in the UK. I am not resident in Italy and do not have a permanent address here.

    I spend a lot of time in Italy on my sailing boat.

    I do have a codice fiscale from when I bought the boat in Italy.

    I would like to have an Italian bank account to use for paying for my daily living expenses and to be able to use the ATM machines without needing my UK bank card.

    Is this possible for me and is this something you can help with?
    JD

    • Dear JD,
      Thank you for your interest in VI.
      You should be able to open a non-resident bank account. However, you have to consider that Italian banks have different rules regarding documents required to open a non-resident account. Therefore, if you let us know what bank you are interest in (you can find a list here How foreigners can open and close a bank account in Italy) we can get in touch with a branch here in Rome and gather all the relevant information.
      In any case, you should consider that the Italian bank that you choose may request a valid Italian address. In this case, if you are not able to provide one, we could ask the bank to accept that your address (domicile) is at Vademecum Italia’s office here in Rome (for which you would have to pay us a small fee).
      Please consider that in order to open the account the bank requires you to go personally to the agency to sign the papers. If you decide to open a bank account here in Rome, one of our lawyers could provide the professional assistance you need.
      Please let us know if there is anything else that we can do for you.
      We look forward to your kind reply.
      Sincerely,
      VI.

  7. Hi, my name is Cristian, I am a Romanian citizen, now living in Romania, and a few years ago while I traveled through Europe with my music band, I stayed in Italy for a couple of months. And I was advised by someone there to open a Banco Posta account for easier money transfer within the country. What I did not know it was that it’s easy to open an account but it it seemingly difficult to close it. After so many years, I still find myself in the incertitude if I have to close that account by a request to the bank where I opened it, or if the account it has been closed by not using it for so long.
    I mention that it was opened in a small town near Bologna
    I found on the internet an article where I got this email address from specifying that you can give me a correct information about how I might be able to make sure that bank account will be dismissed for good.
    I also specify that I have not knowledge about the credit card they gave me back then. I searched for it but it seems I’ve lost it. I really hope it will not be a problem this, or if it is I am interested in how it will be possible to officially declare it lost, and null, for not to be needed to remake another one just for a closure.
    Thank you so much for any help, or advice.

    • Dear Cristian,
      they only way for us to give you a proper answer is to verify with the Italian Post Office. Therefore, if you provide us with the information listed below we can get in touch with Poste Italiane for you and verify if your account is still open and in case what you will need to do to close it for good.
      We need to know:
      1) account number;
      2) account balance;
      3) account holder/s’ full name, date and place of birth, Italian tax code (codice fiscale) if there is one, current residency address.
      Please consider that there is no possibility for us to operate directly on your account with the above information, and that all the information that you will provide us will be treated in accordance with D. Lgs. 196/2003.
      Sincerely,
      VI.

  8. We would like to close our Unicredit non-resident Genius account which is in joint names but only requires one signature to write cheques etc. Is it possible to do this without going into the bank? I see that a raccomandata can be sent. Is this sufficient or do we need to get a form / modulo da compilare from the bank.
    Thanks for your help.

    Best wishes

    • Dear Pam,
      in order to close the account it is usually sufficient to send a raccomandata A/R (written in Italian) to the branch of interest, enclosing all the required attachments.
      If the account is a joint account with disjoint signatures it is sufficient that only one holder signs the request (although it might be better that both holders sign it, if possible).
      It should take more or less 15-30 working days for Unicredit to close the account.
      If you need help, Vademecum Italia is pleased to provide the assistance you need in in writing the letter to Unicredit, and verifying that the Bank actually closes the account and transfers the balance to your bank account. In this case, our (small) professional fee will vary depending on the activity that we will have to carry out.
      We look forward to hearing from you.
      VI.

  9. HI,

    I have just moved to Sardinia from the UK for at least the summer months and need to open an Italian bank account in order to purchase a Vodafone contract (I tried using my UK bank account, but this was unsuccessful). I have a codice fiscale, UK passport and information of my UK employment. But I do not have proof of address. I am living at my partners summer home, and I have no bills in my name. Is it still possible to open an Italian bank account? I have thought about using either UnitCreidt or Banco di Sardegna. Would this be possible without proof of Italian address? If so, how can I go about this?
    Many thanks,
    Paul

    • David

      Dear Paul,
      Thank you for your question.
      In order to open an account banks usually ask for an Italian address. This is true. However, considering that you live with someone that can guarantee for you, if you talk personally with the bank they might allow you to open the account regardless of a formal proof of an address. If you you like, we could get in touch for you with the branch of the bank you are interested in and ask them what documents they could accept in your specific case.
      However, please consider that the bank account is required with the “abbonamento” (contract) only, which is binding for not less than 12 months (if you are interest in getting a smartphone for at least 24 months). It is more or less the same for the other phone companies.
      On the contrary, if for example you like vodafone, you could go to a vodafone store and ask for a “ricaricabile” (rechargeable sim), for which you need a codice fiscale and passport only (that you have already). You will pay € 35 circa, and they will give you the sim right away that you can recharge when you need to. The sim will expire automatically after 12 months from your last “ricarica” (the last time you recharge it).
      You also need to consider that opening a bank account has costs, that at a certain point you will need to close it, and that you have a clear position with the Italian revenue agency.
      Therefore, we suggest the “ricaricabile”.
      Please let us know if there is anything that we can do for you.
      Thank you,
      VI

  10. Dear Sir:

    My best regards to you.

    My name is Adli Taher Elbusairi from Tripoli,Libya.

    I would like to find information about bank accounts that belongs to my dead father. I will supply your with more information If you are able to help me with this matter, or you might be able to direct me to the right place where I can get such information.

    Thank you for your kind attention
    Adli Taher Elbusairi

    • David

      Dear Adli,
      Thank you for your interest in Vademecum Italia.
      In order to protect your own privacy we will get back to you via email.
      VI.

  11. Here are two interesting tools that allow you to compare Italian (resident) bank accounts:
    1) http://confrontaconti.ilsole24ore.com/conti-correnti/confronto-preventivi-conti-correnti.aspx?refresh_ce=1

    2) http://www.facile.it/conti-correnti.html#

    You need to understand just a few Italian words (e.g. “saldo medio = average balance; intensità utilizzo = average number of transactions in a year; canale di utilizzo = online/in-branch channel; accredito stipendio = crediting of the salary to the account; anno di nascita = year of birth: apertura online/filiale = online or in-branch opening of the account”; fido = loan).

    Here is a recent article from the Corriere della Sera regarding the cost of Italian bank accounts: https://www.google.it/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=corriere%20della%20sera%2Bconti%20correnti

  12. Hi, I wonder if you can help or show us an easier path to take with this problem.
    We are a married couple resident in the UK and have purchased a property in Italy with the intention of once building work has been completed having it as our main residence.
    We wish to open an Italian Bank account and the most economic option was the online Hello bank. However they have stated that we need documents on paper that we have an Italian residence, they wont accept our act of rogito and we need photo I.D issued by the comune to prove we have the property.
    Is the only option open to us going in person to the comune to attempt to get this ‘I.D.’ then go in person to the Hello bank in Italy with this?
    Are non residents accounts still in operation and what are the average costs?
    All we need an account for in these early days is to be able to give the account number to the utility company’s so we can register with them.
    Thanks in advance

    • David

      Dear Bill,
      as you can see from the Home page of Hello Bank , in order to open that bank account you need to prove your Italian residence, besides the fact that you need an Italian sim card (phone number). The fact that you own a property is not considered “enough”. Hello Bank is an online bank account, that you open online, therefore I would not suggest going to their offices to try to open the account, especially without the required documents. What we suggest is opening a non-resident bank account. Major banks offer non-resident bank accounts that you could use for the purpose you mentioned or other purposes (for example, you can bank wire money or receive wire transfers). The monthly cost is more or less of € 1/3. Once you will be living (or working) in Italy, you will be able to switch your non-resident into a resident account. In that case you could open the Italian bank account you prefer, including the Hello Bank one. Thank you Bill. VI.

  13. Hi. Fascinating article- thanks David & team.
    I have been living in Italy for a couple of months and have just secured a full-time job on an indeterminato contract, which I start on 9th January. Before I get paid for this job I need an Italian current account (resident account). However, I’ve been turned away from my local bank (Unicredit) as I don’t yet have Italian residency (ie: a carta identita), and I can’t obtain residency until I have received my first pay check- paid into a bank account. Catch-22!
    Is there a chance that Unicredit are mistaken and I need to (politely) remind them of the law to allow me to open an account? Or possibly their own policies/regulations are that applicants for new current-accounts are required to have their carta identita before they can open them, and I should try another bank?
    Thanks again. Keep up the good work.
    Luke

    • A couple of things to add to this… I’m a citizen of the UK and have a signed, registered copy of my apartment rental contract.

      • David

        Dear Luke,
        Unicredit, as the other banks, is a private company (S.p.A.) which does not have any kind of obligation to sign a bank account contract with a potential customer. However, you could go to Unicredit and ask them to open in your name a non-resident account, where your employer will be able to pay you regularly. In order to receive bank transfers (which we imagine will be the means of payment) a non-resident account is sufficient (please consider that Unicredit requires an Italian phone number to open a non-resident account). Once you obtain your residence you will be able to go back to Unicredit and switch to a resident account.

        • David

          Unicredit, as the other banks, cannot open a resident account if you are not currently (formally) residing in Italy (“residenza valutaria”).
          Moreover, what you’re telling us, with reference to the need to receive a payment in order to obtain residence, does not seem correct. The municipalities usually require a statement of availability of funds. Basically, you will need to declare that you have sufficient financial resources not to become a burden on the Italian social assistance system. In addition to the above, usually the municipalities also ask for proof (eg bank reference, which must have a branch in Italy, where you have the funds). In view of the above, we think that you could open a non-resident account, deposit at least the minimum amount required by the Municipality of interest, and then ask for residence (verifying all the required documents). During this time, your employer will be able to pay you regularly by bank transfer on your non-resident account. As mentioned above, once you obtain your registered residence you can ask for a resident bank account.
          Please let us know if you need professional assistance.
          Thank you for contacting VI.

  14. I am a US citizen and I want to buy a home in Italy to retire. My goal is to buy a home and use as a b&b/ argritorisim and that would be my form of self employment. Would it be best for me to keep my American bank account for the purchase and then when settled after getting residency opening an Italian account or should I open a non resident account first and then wire the money to the Italian bank?

    • David

      Dear Juana,
      It is not that simple to give you a satisfactory answer to your question. There are several things you need to consider, among which the exchange rate at the time of payment. You could also consider opening an Italian account in US dollars (that will have to be in your name). However, we will be able to give you better advice right before your purchase. Please consider that it is not very easy to deal with Italian laws and bureaucracy. In this sense, for example, you need to consider that there is a big difference between buying the house from a private citizen than from a Company. Also, it is one thing if you purchase the property and then decide to rent the house occasionally, a very different thing if you intend to carry out a professional activity (in this case you will need a Partita Iva, authorizations, meet specific requirements, etc.). Moreover, B&B/agriturismo/affittacamere etc. are different one from the other. The Italian Parliament is currently assessing a specific law for B&B’s and the like. We will be glad to assist you with your purchase. Please send an email to assistance@vademecumitalia.com. Thank you for your question. VI.

  15. Hi,

    I am in a basically identical situation to Luke above. The problem for me is that I do have any existing foreign address. I have proof of my current Italian address, I have my passport and my code fiscale, but if trying to temporarily open a non-resident account, I presume they are going to want proof of a foreign address which I do not have. I could give the address of a foreign blood relative but I could not prove the address provided in any way (and besides it would not really be my address, but that of a relative).
    If you have any suggestions on what I could do here, it would be greatly appreciated.
    Currently I am living off cash and minimal funds deposited in a partner’s account. They fall far below the amount required by the registrationn office to “prove you are not a burden on the state in any way” (which I am not as I have only put money into Italy).

    And, while the following is probably misinformation (please correct me if so), I noticed many sites online saying that a non-resident account is only able to receive foreign sent funds. If that was the case it would be useless for Luke above, who says he has found work within Italy from an Italian employer.

    Many thanks,

    Stephen

    • David

      Dear Stephen,
      in your case it seems that that you might have another problem. As a matter of fact, usually banks do not ask foreigners to provide an “existing foreign address”, which in case could be your last address, that you should be able to provide (but if they do, the address of your relative could also be sufficient), while they certainly ask for a letter of reference from your current (foreign) bank. This means that your foreign bank should send a SWIFT message to the Italian bank that proves you are a client who has a solid economic situation, etc.. It is highly probable that the Italian bank refuses to open the account in case you do not have a foreign bank account. On the contrary, once you open a non-resident account, with the proof of Italian residence you can then ask the bank to switch from a non-resident to a resident bank account.
      The proof of sufficient financial resources not to become a burden on the Italian social assistance system, refers to the request of residency (“residenza anagrafica”) to the Municipality, not to a bank account (where you need to prove your “residenza valutaria”).
      With reference to the above, if you need further assistance send an email to assistance@vademecumitalia.com.
      Regarding the third part of your comment, we can tell you that a bank like Unicredit, for example, allows account holders to receive on their non-resident bank accounts wire transfers (including salaries) from Italy, Europe, and other countries. The only thing is that probably the employer could have to do a “SEPA” bank transfer instead of a “SEPA Italia” bank transfer (but this is something very simple to do either online or at the bank).
      Please let us know if you need further assistance.
      Thank you for contacting VI.

  16. Really interesting points. I wanted to ask why the poste office in Italy can not perform transactions to another country electronically? If you have an account it shouldn’t be a problem to transfer funds to and from the account surely? I am not resident but I go often to Italy.

    • David

      Dear Rosie,
      If you need to make payments, especially if the beneficiary resides abroad, we suggest opening a bank account. If you need assistance please send an email to assistance@vademecumitalia.com or fill in the Contact Us form.
      Thank you,
      VI.

  17. Dear VI.
    I would like to say thank you also in this way for your professional lead you provided to us on the starting steps to open a non-resident bank account in Italy. Your quick reply with all the important and exact infos were a great help for us in understanding the best process we should follow. It was also a surprise to learn how wide is the palette of your services from the banking guidance through legal advices to a full support in official and public authority matters. We will definitely come back to you when similar issues appear in the future.

  18. I live in Italy as a foreiy researcher on an EUro project how can I access loans and an overdraft from my bank?

  19. Sorry for my typos, my keyboard is acting up! I meant “foreigner” and “EU”

    • David

      Dear Ize,
      Thank you for your comment.

      Considering that in order to answer your question we will need to know your personal information, we will send you an email to protect your privacy.
      Regards,
      VI.

  20. Hi, I am a foreigner working in Italy. I will need to close my account before I return to my country. Will the bank give me the amount of money in my account in cash, and am I allowed to bring it out of Italy? (I understand currently the limit is 10,000 Euros per person, and I am looking at around 60,000 Euros).

    Thank you.

    • David

      Dear Rin,
      Actually, it is possible to withdraw the money from your account (it will take several days) and to transport it out of Italy. As you can read in the Guide Limit to the transport of cash to Italy “anyone entering or leaving Italy and carrying cash of an amount equal to or greater than € 10,000 shall declare that sum of money to the Italian Customs Agency. There is no distinction between EU and non-EU countries.
      The Declaration for the transfer of cash equal to or exceeding the equivalent of € 10,000 can be either transmitted electronically, before crossing the border, according to the terms and specifications published on the website of the Customs Agency, or delivered in writing at the time of crossing the border, at the border customs offices.”

      However, you should consider that you can close your Italian bank account simply by sending a registered mail (raccomandata A/R). The balance will be transferred to your foreign account and you will not need to carry around a big amount of cash. It takes 15/30 days for the bank to close the account. You can send the registered mail before or even after you leave Italy.
      You can download the registered letter here. Otherwise, if you send an email to assistance@vademecumitalia.com with all your personal and bank details, we can write the letter for you.
      Thank you for your query.
      We look forward to hearing from you.
      VI.

      • Dear VI,

        Thank you so much for taking time to reply and providing such detailed advice that is very useful for me. I will look into the information you have provided. Thank you very much.

        Regards,
        Rin

  21. I’m so glad I found Vademecumitalia. Now I know where I’ll go for assistance when ready to open an Italian bank account or navigate Italian residence bureaucracy. I’m Kenyan and next year, I’ll be taking a sabbatical from my job to move to Italy to study for a masters degree and maybe a language course. I will be in Italy for 12-18 months depending on how long it’ll take to complete my studies. I don’t expect to need the account when I return home. My stay will be funded by my own savings, though the university requires that I take an internship or gain a few months of work experience in a preselected Italian company where they’ll place me.

    My question for now is – what kind of bank account would you typically recommend for someone like me? Resident or nonresident?

    Thanks and hope to see you next year.

    • David

      Dear Nick,
      We really appreciate nice comments from our readers.
      Based on what you said, it seems to us that you will only be able to open a non-resident account when you first arrive. Later on, if you will be eligible as a resident according to Italian laws, you will be able to switch to a resident account.
      You might want to keep in mind that some banks offer a rechargeable card with Iban, which might suit your needs.
      Please feel free to get back to us a few weeks before your departure. We will be glad to assist you with this or any other service you may need.
      Thank you,
      VI.

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