Opening an Offshore Bank Account in Puerto Rico

Capital: San Juan
Geography: Puerto Rico is located in the eastern Caribbean and is the smallest of the Greater Antilles. It is an island of almost rectangular shape, with an area measuring about 3,435 square miles (about 9,000 square kilometers)
Size: 100 x 35 miles (160 by 56 kilometers)

Time zone: "Atlantic Standard Time" However, during most of the year due to the "Daylight Savings Time", from March to November, it has the same time as the East Coast of the USA.

Political System: Representative democracy with division of powers or functions. The Governor and his Cabinet make up the Executive Branch; the Legislative Branch is bicameral and composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives; the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals and the courts of first instance make up the Judicial Branch.
Territory: United States Territory
Currency: US Dollar.

Banking in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a major financial jurisdiction, which offers trusted confidentiality and a secured banking system, and the clients/ Accounts funds are not exposed to the Puerto Rico debt situation. SFM maintains business ties with one of the top tier banks in the region and can offer its clients unrivaled support in setting up an offshore bank account in Puerto Rico.


Puerto Rico became part of the United States following the Spanish American War in 1898. The Commonwealth itself began to take shape in 1950, under the governorship and direction of Mr. Luis Muñoz Marín. In that year, the then Resident Commissioner, Mr. Antonio Fernós, presented, a project providing for "the organization of a Constitutional Government by the people of Puerto Rico."

The Administration of President Truman and the Congress gave a very good reception to the project, which became Law 600 of the United States Congress, of July 3, 1950, the day it was signed by President Truman. Then, the Legislature of Puerto Rico approved it by referendum, which was held on June 4, 1951. That day, Puerto Rican voters accepted with their votes to draft their own Constitution, depositing in the polls 387,016 votes in favor and 119,169 in against. On August 27, the delegates to the Constituent Assembly were elected. 70 members were elected by the Popular Democratic Party, 15 by the Puerto Rican States Party and 7 by the Socialist Party. The members of the Puerto Rican Independence Party abstained from voting in these elections.

The Constituent Assembly drafted the Constitution, and on March 3, 1952 it was submitted to the people of Puerto Rico for acceptance or rejection: 374,649 voted in favor and 82,923 against.

On July 25, 1952, the validity of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico was proclaimed, in a ceremony presided over by its creator, Mr. Luis Muñoz Marín.

Banking Institutions & Laws and Regulations

There is no Central Bank in Puerto Rico, it is the US Federal Reserve Bank which acts as a Central Bank, determining the receivable interest over loans for the banks which are members and regulates Monetary and Credit Policy. Bank deposits in Puerto Rico are guaranteed up to $100,000 USD by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). They are subject to all Federal controls applicable to banks in the United States of America. Commonwealth government supervision of banks is done through the Commissioner of Financial Affairs (Comisionado de Instituciones Financieras).

Therefore, despite the global economic challenges, Puerto Rico remains a principal and well reputed offshore jurisdictions, and keeps attracting new banks, such Euro Pacific Bank, formerly from Saint-Vincent & the Grenadines.

Common Reporting Standards

The clients of Puerto Rico banks are currently not subject to reporting requirements under the new international Common Reporting Standards (CRS) legislation.

Banking Facilities:

All basic banking services are offered in Puerto Rico, including a growing trend toward electronic banking. Most banks also issue credit cards and debit cards, with access throughout the island and elsewhere to Automated Teller Machines (usually referred to as ATH’s, a generic name that developed from the initials of the first such system developed in Puerto Rico).

Shopping around for services, for service charges and for interest rates is advisable, as competition is keen between the different banking and financial institutions.

Retail banking, commercial and corporate banking as well as cash management are seen as products of high proficiency in this jurisdiction.

Which documents are needed to open a bank account?

The Bank is required to confirm the identity and address of all clients opening bank accounts. The following documents are required for each signatory and beneficial owner and will be treated as confidential:

  • Notarised Passport copy duly certified with Apostille
  • Certified Utility Bill (not older than 3 months old)
  • Original Bank Reference Letter (not older than 3 months old) or Original bank statements (last 6 months)

In case of corporate bank accounts, the bank will also request a set of certified corporate documents consisting of:

  • The Certificate of Incorporation
  • The Memorandum and Articles of Associations
  • Register of Shareholders and Directors
  • A Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Incumbency if the company is older than 12 months
  • Latest Audited Account/Corporate Profile, if available

The bank can request any additional information and/or documents at its discretion such as Business plan, CV, Invoices, Agreements/Contracts of existing company and the Client must comply with the bank requirements.

Depending on the language of the documents, the bank might also ask translation of the documents as well. In that case, translation should be done after the certification of the documents

We will send you the additional bank forms necessary for opening the account by email, as an attachment, for you to sign and return to us preferably by special courier ( DHL, FedEx or Chronopost), along with the other documents mentioned above.

SFM simplifies offshore banking in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. This jurisdiction offers a simplified banking system with built-in security and access to international payment systems. As a major financial jurisdiction, Puerto Rico is a prime location for international banking and offers a variety of financial services and benefits.

We offer ample support when opening a bank account for an offshore company in any of the jurisdictions within which we operate. We have well established ties with banks in Puerto Rico, giving us unique insights and expertise in the market.

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