Opening a bank account in Italy

Discover whether it's possible for you to open a bank account in Italy as a foreigner, and how the application process will work.

It’s relatively easy for foreigners to open a bank account in Italy.

If you’re an Italian resident, it’s incredibly easy. If not, you will still have access to non-resident accounts from a lot of Italian banks. Some banks will allow it, even if you don’t live in Italy.

Can a foreigner open a bank account in Italy?

Yes, although you will need to meet the eligibility criteria of your individual bank. Italian banks tend to offer less restrictions to foreigners than other countries.

You may even be able to open an account, even if you don’t live in Italy.

Which documents are required?

These are the documents you can expect to be asked for when applying to open a Italian bank account.

  • Proof of identity.
  • Your tax number (Codice fiscale).
  • Proof of address.
  • Residence card and evidence of employment or study in Italy (if necessary).

How does the application work?

In many cases, you’ll need to fill out a bank opening request form, which you can send by post or hand into a local branch.

Some banks might let you open an account online, while others will only allow in-branch applications.

You’ll need to prepare the documents listed above, plus any other criteria that your individual bank might want.

The application process may involve background checks or credit checks.

You could receive your account number as soon as the application is done, but you’ll usually have to wait a few days to receive your debit card.

Can a foreigner open a bank account if they are not physically in the country?

Yes, some banks allow this. Even a bank doesn’t allow online applications, you may still be able to grant power of attorney to a lawyer, and they can complete your application on your behalf.

Can a bank account be opened online?

Yes, some Italian banks allow foreigners to complete their application online. It is also possible to apply for an online-only bank account.

These bank accounts, typically made available by newer challenger banks, don’t have branches. However, they do tend to offer great rates on international transactions and ATM withdrawals. The application process will be even easier for these accounts.

Alternative options

If you would prefer not to open an account in Italy, an alternative is to open an account with a digital bank such as Starling Bank or Revolut. These offer a straightforward application process via their respective apps, as well as low foreign transaction fees.

Starling, for example, offers a personal account with no fees for overseas ATM withdrawals or transactions, as well as a Euro account which allows you to hold, send and receive euros for free. Revolut, meanwhile, allows you to transfer money abroad in more than 30 currencies with the interbank exchange rate. Its card also allows you to hold up to 30 currencies at a time.

Pros and cons of opening a bank account in Italy

  • Easy for foreigners to open accounts. It tends to be easier for foreign citizens to open a bank account in Italy than in some other European countries.
  • You don’t have to live in Italy. Certain Italian banks allow you to open an account even if you’re not resident in the country.
  • Accounts can be opened online. Some Italian banks allow foreign customers to apply for an account online. There are also some online-only banks based in the country.
  • Be prepared for the paper work. To open a bank account in Italy you’ll need to show proof of residence, proof of work or study in the country and your tax number.

The bottom line

Italy is one of the easiest countries for foreigners to open a bank account. If you are living in Italy, these accounts will make your life a lot easier.

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