How to

Open a Bank Account in Georgia

 

Written by Alex Trudeau

 

Today's situation is not what it used to be. With strict regulation and new requirements emerging by various authorities, things become a bit complicated. Unfortunately, in most parts of the world you will find that if you to open a bank account as a foreigner, you will have to overcome a bureaucratic nightmare, and this too, assuming you speak the local language. Fortunately for us, this is not the case in Georgia where foreigners can open Bank account easily, quickly and cheaply.

 

In Georgia, You will find about 20 commercial banks. Out of these banks, the most prominent are:

 

  • TBC Bank

  • Bank of Georgia

  • Liberty Bank

  • Basic Bank

  • VTB Bank

  • ProCredit Bank

  • Silk Road Bank

  • Tera Bank

The most recommended banks for foreigners in Georgia are TBC Bank and Bank of Georgia. Both companies can be found on the London Stock Exchange. If you choose to use the services of one of these banks, you will be able to get help everywhere you'll go as you can find a branch in every part of the country/city. Both banks offers an English speaking team and all services can be provided in English such as the bank's app, so you can track your finances from around the world. Personally I would recommend TBC from a personal experience but both banks offer almost identical services so feel confident choosing between the two.

 

tbc.jpg

Image by oc-media

Bank of Georgia.jpg

Image by ipernity.com

To open a account in Georgia, you will need to visit the branch in person - you cannot open a bank account without visiting the country. The only document the bank will require is your passport, which the bank will need to take a copy of. They will ask for an address, but it does not have to be in Georgia. Because the postal service in Georgia is unreliable, the bank won't send anything to your home address anyway.

 

Unlike most international accounts for foreigners, the bank will not require a minimum deposit to open the account. The fees for running a bank account are very low - only a few Georgian Lari as a monthly payment - the exact amount depends on the bank you decide to use and the level of service the account offers.

 

The only payment will be made for a Debit card, which can be used to withdraw money from ATM's across Georgia and around the world and paying for anything you might need. Due to local postal service issues, your debit card will not be mailed. Instead, it will be delivered to any branch you choose, and it should be ready for pickup late afternoon the next day.

 

The bank account you open is actually three accounts in one - GEL, USD and EUR. If funds are transferred to your dollar or euro currency account, the funds will remain in that currency until you will convert it to local currency. TBC bank ATM's allow you to withdraw money in dollars as well as GEL. All bank accounts in Georgia use the IBAN International format, making it easy to transfer funds to your account without any hassle. Funds sent to the account transferred amazingly quickly. Every time I tried it to this day, the funds appear in the account at the end of the next working day.

 

As far as mortgages, it is generally not possible or worthwhile to use a mortgage in Georgia. The annual interest rates for a mortgage can reach to 10% and are therefore not paying off. Georgia banks also offer their clients very attractive interest rates on regular or close deposits at the dollar / euro rate.

 

It is important to note that while opening a local account in Georgia is a simple process that requires only a passport, the transfer of funds from the origin country to Georgia will require to present additional documents to the Georgian Bank as the anti-money laundering laws are also applicable there.

 

 

Image by Alexander Mils

The following documents may be required by the bank before transferring the funds to Georgia (ensure that the documents are photocopied by the bank):

private account

  1. A valid passport

  2. A current account status page (showing the balances) 

  3. Proper Account Management Page of the bank from your home country

  4. Last 3-6 months transactions in the account

  5. Up to 6 recent salaries

 

Important points to notice

 

# You can usually get these documents in English so that it is easier to understand by the Georgian Bank (and there will be no need for translation), but you might also need to send it via email so make sure you scan it.

# Usually there is no requirement to translate the documents or adding apostille stamp or notarize stamp on the documents but you can simply bring the above documents as received from the bank + salaries (in 90% of the cases).

# Don't forget to get access by the bank for internet banking using dedicated app and their website to remotely control your account. In addition, it's important to have access to another app that provides a code to approve a payment transfer using the app/web.

 

The Georgian bank may require translation of some documents, but in the vast majority of cases it is not required. In any case, before you transfer the funds to Georgia, the bank account will already be active and you will be able to see any requirement made by the bank (if any) after transferring the funds in the inbox section in the bank's app and then you will be able to provide the respective document. providing all the above documents should prevent any problems or lack of documents when opening new account or transferring the funds to Georgia.

 

Business Account

First, to open a business account in Georgia, you would need to establish Georgian Company. You can read all about "how to set-up a company in Georgia" in the next article .

 

While registering a new Georgian company in the public service hall, you would be asked to choose a bank in which you plan to open an account so they could share all the new company documentation with the bank when creating a business account at the bank. The staff of the public service hall will provide the bank all the data about the new company online so you won't need to bring the documents of the new company to the branch while opening the new business account and they will be able to see it all online in their computer - You just need to provide them the number of the company that you will get at the end of the company registration process. In the bank, the requirements to transfer funds to your new business account from your private account in the country you live in will include the following documents:

  1. A valid passport

  2. Valid passport of directors (provided they have access to the bank)

  3. A current account status page (showing the balances) 

  4. Proper Account Management Page 

  5. Transactions of the last 3-6 months 

  6. Up to 6 recent salaries

 

If you intend to transfer money from a mother company business account which located in your country to your new Georgian daughter company's business bank account, these are the documents that may be required:

 

  1. Valid passport from the mother company owner

  2. Valid passport of directors (in case they will have access to the bank account)

  3. A current account status page (showing the balances) 

  4. Certification page showing Proper account management 

  5. Recent transactions of the last 3-6 months in the account

 

All the documents related to the registration of the new Georgian company will be provided to the bank by the public service hall in the process of registering the new Georgian company so you don't need to worry about it (you just need to provide the company number and they will see all the data in their computer).

The bank may require translation of some of the documents, but in the vast majority of cases it will not be required. In any case, before you transfer the funds, your bank account will already be active and you will be able to see any requirement made by the bank (only happen in case the bank will need more information/documentation to complete the transfer) in the inbox tab inside the app/web so you could provide the respective document. Providing all the above documents should prevent any problems or lack of documents when transferring the funds.

 

* It is a good idea to use a local lawyer to accompany you throughout the process - we would be happy to recommend Georgian, English, Russian speaking lawyer with great experience and excellent service (and fair prices as opposed to prices you will receive as foreigners).

** To open a bank account in Georgia, you will be required to physically appear on the premises or provide a power of attorney to a local attorney.

 

Additional requirements may be found by Georgian public authorities and institutions so you should consult with a professional before starting the process.

 

 

 

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