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Guide to Open an Israeli Bank Account for a Foreign Citizen

What is a bank?

A bank - is a financial institution whose main business is handling money and mediating in financial dealings.
Bank operations include: managing accounts, receiving money deposits from individuals, businesses and corporations in the framework of managing their accounts, issuing cashing checks, managing savings and investments, and giving loans.
The banks play an important role in the economy, by mediating between those who have money that they don’t immediately need and those who wish to use this money for a variety of economic goals. The bank pays commissions to investors and collects interest from borrowers as the cost for using the money.

Note! The banks in Israel have toughened conditions for foreign citizens who want to open a bank account and have designated only a limited number of branches where foreign citizens are allowed to manage their account. Before opening an account, we advise you to ascertain the designated branch closest to your place of residence. If you encounter unreasonable and unjust difficulty when opening your bank account, contact the Department of Public Inquiries - Banking Supervision Department, Bank of Israel at the address: POB 780 Jerusalem 9100701.
The bank's stringent 

Please note: Since the policy of the banks in Israel is to open an account for any Israeli citizen who presents an identity card (not a passport), an Israeli citizen who has returned from abroad can renew his identity card at one of the Interior Ministry Population and Immigration Authority offices. The Interior Ministry will not independently cancel his residency or refuse to give him an identity card.

Important note: A couple who wants to open a bank account in Israel should preferably open a joint bank account because there are grants such as a maternity allowance and a children's allowance which Bituach Leumi gives only to the mother. Both the husband and wife must be present when opening a joint bank account.

A List of Banks in Israel:

Bank Name  No. of bank   Address Telephone   Fax   Bank website 
 Leumi Bank  10 יהודה הלוי 24-32, ת"ד 2,תל אביב. מיקוד 61000   076-885111  076-8858360
 Hapoalim Bank  12 שד' רוטשילד 50, תל אביב. מיקוד 66883   03-
 Discount Bank  11 יהודה הלוי 23, ת"ד 456, תל אביב. מיקוד 65136   03-5145555  03-5153263  
 Mizrahi Tefahot Bank  20 ז'בוטינסקי 7, רמת גן. מיקוד 52520  03-7559000   -03 7559913
 Mercantile Discount Bank  17 דרך מנחם בגין 125, תל אביב. מיקוד 6701201    076-8044530  076-80444985 
 Massad Bank  46 אבא הלל 12, רמת גן. מיקוד 52506  03-5641333  03-5602384 
 Bank of Jerusalem  54 קרית שדה התעופה, רמלה. מיקוד 70100  076-8096001  076-8096008
 Union Bank  13 אחוזת בית 6-8, ת"ד 2428, תל אביב. מיקוד 61024  03-5191111   03-5191274
 Bank Yahav  4  ירמיהו 80, ת"ד 36333, ירושלים. מיקוד 61024   02-5009666    02-5385869 
 Otzer HaChayal Bank  14 מגדל אילון, תל אביב. מיקוד 94467   03-7556000 
 Bank of Israel  99 קרית מדע 3 הר החוצבים,ירושלים   02-6552211  02-6528805
 First International Bank  31 שד' רוטשילד 42, תל אביב. מיקוד 6688310   03-5196111  03-5100316
 Poalei Agudat Israel Bank  52 אחד העם 9, ת"ד 29741, תלאביב. מיקוד 61297   03-5196650  03-5196785  
What documents do I have to bring to the bank to open a bank account?
1.  The applicant’s valid  foreign passport with a valid visa.
2.  Another document identifying the applicant, such as a driver's license or a Kupat Cholim card with a picture.
3.  A PIN number from abroad (for U.S. citizens).
4.  For a student, certification from the school where he studies.
Identifying your bank account:
•  The bank account number is composed of three sets of numbers.
•  The first number is the individual number of the Bank (as set forth in the table above).
•  The second number is the bank branch number (each bank has several branches and each branch has a different number).
•  The third number is the personal account number of the account holder. For example, a person who owns account number 123456 in the Meah Shearim branch of HaPoalim Bank, will have a bank account number of 12-533-123456.
The bank's stringent requirements for citizens, or foreign residents:

As part of the war against money laundering and thwarting operations originating in criminal activity, Israel has committed itself to OECD information exchange agreements with other countries, and to implement the provisions of FATCA with the US authorities. This means that Israeli tax authorities will be sharing information with the American tax authorities so U.S. citizens who have financial accounts outside of the U.S. will be unable to evade U.S. tax payments.
In light of this, the Israeli banks with the cooperation of the Israeli tax authorities are obligated to adapt themselves to the new and stringent requirements of the tax authorities in the U.S. Financial institutions that violate these procedures, including Israeli banks, are expected to face severe sanctions from the U.S. authorities.
Therefore, all the Israeli banks’ corporations in Israel are required to identify an account holder’s connection to financial accounts held in Israel, to ascertain whether he is a U.S. citizen or resident, or a holder of a Green Card, and to report certain actions to the tax authorities in Israel so they can transfer the information to the tax authorities abroad. These include a deposit or withdrawal of cash of at least NIS 50,000. [However, when it appears to the clerk in charge of the accounts at the bank that a suspicious financial transaction is being carried out in the account, he must report it to the authorities even if it is less than NIS 50,000.]
A foreign resident who opens a bank account in his status of a 'foreign resident' will be required to sign a waiver of confidentiality and / or permit the bank to transfer financial information to his country of residency. If a customer refuses to sign the waiver, the bank will mount difficulties for him during his account’s period of activity.
An American citizen who opens a bank account must in addition to filling out a confidentiality waiver form, also fill out a W9 form in which he declares that he is reporting the account to the US tax authority. The form authorizes the bank to forward information on his account to the US authorities.
Residents of the United States who do not disclose information about their bank accounts in Israel may be subject to a fine of up to 30% of the value of the accounts and possibly a criminal investigation and indictment.
Important: The FATCA provisions have many repercussions for Israeli citizens who are also U.S. citizens (even if they never lived in the U.S.) They are also required to sign the W9 document and a waiver of confidentiality form which will result in their bank account being accessible to the U.S. tax authorities and them being subject to all the U.S. tax laws. They will also only be able to own bank accounts in special branches specified for the foreign population.

A bank account with 'non-resident' status:
A foreign national or an Israeli citizen who live permanently abroad, can open an account with 'non-resident' status if they fulfill the following conditions.
The one opening the bank account must fill out and sign the Client Declaration Form that he/she is a foreign resident (according to the Income Tax Ordinance), during up to 14 days of opening the account. U.S. residents should also fill a W9 form, and submit it to the bank personally. Sometimes, even a person who is not a U.S. citizen will be required to fill out a W8 form.
Every three years, the owner of the account must renew his declaration (about being a foreign national). He must also undertake to notify the bank of any change in his residency status, and sign the declaration in order to receive an exemption from income tax.
Conditions to get a 'non-resident' account:
1.  The “center of one’s life” must be established as being abroad. To determine this, family, economic and social ties will be taken account, including among other things his permanent home; his and his family’s place of residence; his place of regular work / employment; where he has permanent active and significant economic interests; and the location of organizations, associations or institutions that he is active in.
2. He did not live in Israel during the tax year more than 183 days (continuously or intermittently), or did  not spend in the tax year more than 30 days with the sum total days in the tax year and the two years before the tax year, did not exceed 425 days.

The advantages of having a 'non-resident' account:
•  Exemption from foreign currency account service fees.
•  Preferential interest rate for deposits.
  Exemption from payment of income tax on interest from deposits (depending on signing the tax declaration form).
  Tax exemption for Israeli and foreign securities. 
Public Inquiries: 
If you have any criticism or complaint about your bank, contact that bank’s Department of Public Inquiries as detailed in the following table. If you feel the Bank's response is inadequate, you may file a complaint with the Public Inquiries Unit - the Bank of Israel’s Supervisor of Banks (which is responsible for all banking corporations in Israel). For the Public Inquiries Unit - Supervisor of Banks Department, click here.
 Bank Name    Telephone    Fax  
 Leumi Bank  076-8857011   076-8858688 
 Hapoalim Bank  03-5673697  03-7136146
 Discount Bank  03-5153441  03-5153263
 Mizrahi Tefahot Bank  03-7549216  076-8622793
 Mercantile Discount Bank   076-8044151  076-8044911
 Massad Bank  03-5641347  03-7170598
 Bank Of Jerusalem  076-8096026  076-8096039
 Union Bank  03-5191539  03-7956931
 Bank Yahav  2616*  02-5010062
 Otzar HaChayal Bank  03-7556309  03-7964500
 First International Bank  03-5138700  03-5135299
Questions and Answers:
Must the husband and wife be present when opening a joint bank account
Yes, both spouses must be present.
Why is it important for a couple to have a joint bank account
Since there are bonuses, such as the Maternity Allowance and the Children's Allowance, which are deposited by Bituach Leumi into the mother’s account or the couple’s joint account.
Is only a passport required to open a bank account
Most banks request to see two ID documents, such as a passport and a driver's license with photo.
Email is must
Invalid email
Last name is must
First name is must
Phone is must