I am a US citizen (California) preparing to get married abroad, in a country where the process for marriage is well known for being quite slow, and the marriage visa process is just as long. So I'll be somewhat of an expat (no USA home) during the marriage process. The cards are lining up nicely, the company I have spent 5 years with has given me their blessing to work aboard for as long as I need (I work from home now so the work will get done wherever I am).

As I've begun to research this process of moving overseas for a medium-term (1 year) trip, I've come across the frightening reality that banks will close down US citizens bank accounts with short warning if they determine that the citizen does not have a permanent address. While I plan on using a mail scanning service for the bulk of mail, I'm at a loss for what to do about residential address. I know that banks can access the USPS address change database as well, and can detect if you move away from currently registered address within some period of time. (And they can see all the addresses in your credit report, and ask your mobile provider to verify your address, fun!) Losing access to my bank accounts while trying to get married could leave my future wife and myself to be stranded within our marriage or visa application processes.

What's the best way to handle this situation with Bank residential address? The patriot act seems to indicate that next-of-kin addresses can be used for the residential address, and my parents would fit that description. Can I use my parents (Virginia) mailing address safely? Parents don't mind, but I would not have the documents to prove I live there.

Some additional details:

  • Bank is currently Navy Federal CU, but I'd like to add HSBC account as a backup option due to their presence in marriage country.
  • Getting account abroad is difficult before marriage, and I have payroll that needs to go to an American account. Additionally, American bills to pay while abroad.
  • I'm worried that sending a large wire or transfer of funds to my fiance's account before we are legally marriage will flag things at her bank for suspicious amounts.
  • Why not get married in the US?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 0:15
  • 2
    I've used a (reliable) friend's address when I had no home in the US, my banks didn't seem to mind. Note that it is usually better not to be a resident of either California or Virginia when you leave the US since those states (plus SC and NM) may expect you to continue to file state tax returns in your absence.
    – Dennis
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 3:59

2 Answers 2


banks will close down US citizens bank accounts with short warning if they determine that the citizen does not have a permanent address

Wells Fargo have kept my account open (initially opened in Minnesota) for over 11 years, so this is not universally true. You will presumably have an address in the country you're spending a year in - give your bank that.

  • 1
    Do you still have your Wells Fargo account? Please see my question
    – Nobody
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 13:25

My bank account in US is still open 4 years since I informed them of my foreign residential address. I even speak to them about it and they FedEx the new debit card to me here.

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