My wife and I are both US citizens. We opened a joint checking account with Wells Fargo bank in US in 1991. We moved back to our home town (Taipei, Taiwan) after I retired in 2009.

During the past 12 years or so, we never had any serious problem with them except we had some problem changing our address after we moved within Taiwan a few times(we are renting).

Recently, we received an e-mail from them saying that they have a new policy "If all account owners cannot provide a primary residential address located within the United States or its territories, we ask that you close this account.".

We have friends in US. Sometimes we used their address to buy stuff that the seller said they only deliver to domestics address. But, using their address for banking is very risky. It's not that we don't trust them. It's that we can't trust anyone with quite a bit money. Also, my wife and I don't actually live in their address.

My question is, what should I do? Open an account with another US bank which allows me not having US address and then move my money to that bank?

Besides opening an account with a bank that I am not familiar with, should I ask Wells Fargo to reconsider their new policy?

Edit 1 To avoid any misunderstanding, We file Fed tax returns every year over 50 years. We also file FBAR. Both IRS and Treasury Dept. know our address and give us refunds. We also file 1040 Schedule B (even we had < USD$200 interest. Because We live abroad, so we file schedule B based on the rule. Also, we have tax refund every year. We always tell IRS to direct deposit the refund money to Wells Fargo.

Edit 2

Please see Wells Fargo's announcement

  • You do the right things by filing correctly, but the bank doesn't want to be liable if you don't file correctly in the future. Running afoul of FATCA is not trivial for the bank. Unfortunately for you, it is the bank's call to take or decline this risk. Jul 19, 2021 at 14:36
  • Doesn't matter. It's their call, and they're looking at more than just you as a single customer. If you can talk them into keeping you, your account may survive. If you can't talk them into it, it wont. Jul 19, 2021 at 14:58
  • @DavidSupportsMonica Please see Wells Fargo's announcement linked at the end of my updated question. This question is not for me only, it's also for all expats who are Wells Fargo account holders and have no US address. It has nothing to do with your guess about FATCA. (unless you can convince me that is the case.)
    – Nobody
    Sep 24, 2021 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


@scaaahu commented on an old question of mine asking for my advice.

Background: My wife is a US citizen, I am not. We have lived in New Zealand for 15+ years. Our USA bank is Wells Fargo.

While I have had issues with Wells Fargo's administration of my IRA (to the point of considering divorce so I can give it to my wife), there have not been any issues with our checking account. Maybe that's coming next?

However, there is a big leap from keeping an account open with only a foreign address and opening a new one. I have not found any custodian willing to take on my IRA, and I expect it would be similarly hard to find a bank to open a new account from overseas.

Where US companies ask us for a contact address rather than a residential address, we give them my wife's sister's address, then set all contact options to email. Banks are required to know where you live, though, so that option probably won't help you.

Best of luck in your search.

  • I upvoted the answer because it is the only answer I got so far. I just received a reminder from Wells Fargo, you can take a look at their announcement. By the way, we do not have relatives in US. Even we do, I would not use someone else's address as our banking/debit card mailing address. Too risky. Thanks anyway.
    – Nobody
    Sep 24, 2021 at 3:32

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