How to open a bank account in Russia.

Banking in Russia; Russian Bank Account Foreigners; Alfabank Russia; Banks for foreigners in Russia;

Opening a bank account in Russia as a foreigner.

Before we travelled to Russia, I inquired about the possibility to open a bank account in Russia – as a foreigner. I battled to find information on Expat forums and some answers were vague, not giving specific details. There are a couple of major banks in Russia and I decided to contact a few of them.

You might ask why I wanted to open a bank account in Russia. The main reason was to find a bank that was willing to give me a pre-paid credit card where I could link my PayPal account. This is still not possible in Argentina, even though the currency controls have been lifted. The other reason was because we were planning to stay there for 3 months and I wanted to make use of the opportunity.

Information about Service packages and what options are available to open a bank account in Russia.

The most positive feedback came from Alfabank and they kindly responded in English with all the information that I needed. Yes, it is possible to open a bank account as a foreigner when in Russia. They have a package called “Alfa-Life” which includes the following:

[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”] Three current accounts in three currencies (Euro, USD and RUR). Each currency has a different card and account number associated with it. For example: I got tow cards – one for USD and another for RUR.

[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”] Three savings accounts that is also available in three currencies.

[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”] The actual plastic card can be used International and your name (or the name of a relative) is printed on it. There is a limitation, depending on the package that you choose.

[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”] Access to your accounts through Internet banking. The only problem with the application is that it is not available in English. That could be problematic if you don’t understand Russian.

There is a number that can be phoned and English speaking operators will answer your questions. For information about bank accounts.

[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-phone-6″] +7 495 788 88 78

Banking in Russia; Russian Bank Account Foreigners; Alfabank Russia; Banks for foreigners in Russia;
Banking in Russia for Foreigners.

What is needed to be able to open a bank account in Russia.

It is recommended that you visit a branch in the city where you will be. We went to the Kaliningrad branch. You need to be in possession of the following documents before you visit the bank. Please note that sometimes it is possible to open an account without all the required documents but this is subject to the discretion of the bank.

If it is not possible for you to go to the bank in Russia and you have a friend or relative living there, then you can still open an account. The account can be opened for you by another person with a notarized power of attorney on your behalf, which will stipulate the right to these operations.

To open an account you have to provide the following documents, translated into Russian and notarized:

[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”]  Your passport;
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”] Migration card;
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”] Documents confirming the right of a foreign citizen to stay (reside) in the Russian Federation:
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”]Residence permit;
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”] Temporary residence permit;
[v_icon color=”#1e73be” size=”18px” target=”_blank” name=”moon-point-right”] Visa.

Once the account has been approved, a personalized card is issued in your name and the PIN envelope to it can be obtained only by the Client, or by authorized representative of the Customer if the card account was opened in the Bank in the personal presence of the Client. Customers have free Internet-banking and via it you can open second and subsequent accounts. Access is given immediately when you become a customer.

Our experience with Alfabank in Kaliningrad.

We had great service from Alfabank from the word “Go”. The lady at the bank spoke English and took her time explaining all the options to us. I did not have enough time to have my documents translated and notarized and they were accepted. What counted in my favour was the fact that my husband is Russian and he is from Kaliningrad. I had all the documents and in Russian but not notarized. We managed to open the accounts and our cards were ready in a day. During our stay we visited the bank twice with queries and every time we were helped and the service was quick and efficient.

We recommend Alfabank if you are looking to open a bank account when in Russia. There are many banks but not all of them will open bank accounts for foreigners.

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

%d bloggers like this: