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I am planning to move permanently from the US to Europe. I have no job, address, or bank account yet. The question is how do I transfer the money?

It seems that I can't wire it while still in the US since I can't open a European account from abroad. I guess it can theoretically be done in Europe, after I have an account opened there, but I am REALLY worried that American banks will cause all kind of problems authorizing the transfer of such amount from abroad. Has anybody done that?

  • Don't forget the possibility of problems on the other side of the wire: your transfer might be blocked until you declare the source of your money (depending on country). The best solution would be NOT to move your money unless you have REALLY good reason to do so. – user9879 Jan 31 '18 at 7:43
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    If HSBC operates in the country you are moving to one way to do it is to move your money to an HSBC account in the US. HSBC (Premier) allows international accounts to be linked and provides free transfers between them so you should be able to move your money to Europe directly once you are in a position to open an account there. As an additional perk the European HSBC may issue you a credit card based on your US credit history (I got UK and Canadian credit cards this way). – Dennis Jan 31 '18 at 8:20
  • HSBC seems like a good solution, thank you! I will try this, although they only open accounts in UK. – Emily Feb 4 '18 at 1:26
  • @Dennis - you should convert your comment about HSBC to answer and get some well-deserved XP for it – Peter M. Feb 5 '18 at 19:34
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I've transferred money overseas in a similar situation to yours, and as long as you set everything up with your bank ahead of time while you're still in the US, you should have no problem. For my bank it involved a special phone number to call and PIN numbers printed on little slips of paper that I took with me.

If you're feeling concerned about this (who wouldn't, for that amount), transfer a smaller amount (say $1k?) using the same method after you get to Europe to make sure that you've got all the account numbers, routing numbers, authorization codes, etc all in order. This of course costs two transfer fees, but it's worth it for just knowing that you've done it before when you transfer the larger amount.

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I would recommend investigating whether Transferwise can save you money. I think you could open a Borderless account with Transferwise, transfer dollars from your current US account to a Transferwise Borderless account, then, after you have a European account, exchange dollars to the destination currency with Transferwise, then transfer from your Borderless account to your destination account.

I have used Transferwise to exchange money between different of my accounts in Canada, UK, and the Eurozone, and I am a satisfied customer. I have not used the Borderless account.

  • Why the downvote? – gerrit Jan 31 '18 at 14:52
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    Not my downvote, but the invitation link might be viewed as spammy by some people: expatriates.stackexchange.com/help/promotion – Mike Harris Feb 1 '18 at 19:04
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    @MikeHarris Well, its not my product, and it has worked for me, and I give full disclosure that there is a small benefit for me, but I have the direct link as well. And my post does answer the asker's problem. So I find that I am doing everything recommended in that promotion link. – gerrit Feb 1 '18 at 23:59
  • Thank you for this idea, I will investigate this possibility too. – Emily Feb 4 '18 at 1:27

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