You may have seen my original post on Brokerage Accounts. Today I would like to offer an update.
I was recently doing some research on US brokerage accounts that accept foreign residents and came across StockBrokers.com. This site publishes reviews of online brokers and has a section dedicated to International Trading. If you scroll down the page a little you can enter your country of residence and search for brokers that support your country. If you enter Japan, you get a short but helpful list, complete with reviews of each broker.
Other than Interactive Brokers, I must admit I was a little skeptical about whether it would really be possible to open an account with one of the other three brokers on the list, so I gave it a try. I decided to go with Firstrade. I have to say I was impressed! Not only was I able to open an account, but the whole process was completed online in a couple of days. And no need to mail documents overseas.
Here’s the process:
- Click on Open An Account, and then on the next screen click on Open International Account
- Complete the phone number verification
- From there just follow the directions, input your information, and upload your ID document
- After the initial setup I received an email asking me to explain why I live outside my country of citizenship and to upload a proof of address document (having to explain why I live abroad seemed a bit odd, but I guess in the end this is a US account and it’s something that seems to raise a flag)
- After that my account was open within two days and all I had to do was fund it. This can be done by wire transfer, or if you have an existing US brokerage account you can transfer that account over. (this takes 3-4 business days)
And there you have it. From google search to shiny new account in less time than it takes to figure out who won the US Presidential Election! If you have had a similar good experience with another overseas broker I would love to hear about it.
Disclaimer: This should go without saying, but the information contained in this blog is not investment advice, or an incentive to invest, and should not be considered as such. This is for information only.
Update January 6th 2021: I am now affiliated with Firstrade Securities (I was not when I published this post)