Can a non US citizen own an IRA?

Are you a non-US citizen looking to invest in your future, but wondering if you can open an IRA? You’re not alone. Many non-US citizens have the same questions, as they look to make sound financial decisions and secure their financial future. In this article, we’ll explore whether a non-US citizen can open an IRA, what the requirements are and what other options are available.

Can a Non-US Citizen Own an IRA?

The answer is yes! An IRA, or Individual Retirement Account, is a popular savings vehicle in the United States and is available to both citizens and non-citizens. While the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not impose restrictions on IRA ownership based on citizenship status, there are a few special considerations for non-citizens owning an IRA.


In order for a non-US citizen to be eligible to open an IRA, they must meet the following criteria:

  • Have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Have earned income from a US employer
  • Have a US-based bank account in their name

It is important to note that non-citizens who have a valid SSN or ITIN, but who do not have earned income from a US employer, may still be eligible to open an IRA if they are married to a US citizen.


Non-US citizens are not eligible for the tax benefits associated with traditional IRAs, including the tax deduction for contributions. Additionally, the contribution limits for non-citizens are generally lower than for US citizens. As of 2020, the annual contribution limit for non-citizens is $6,000 for those under the age of 50 and $7,000 for those 50 and over.


Non-US citizens are subject to the same withdrawal rules as US citizens when it comes to traditional IRAs. This means that withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ will be subject to an additional 10% penalty on top of the regular taxes due. Additionally, non-citizens are required to include their IRA withdrawals in their US tax returns.


Non-US citizens may open and contribute to an IRA just like US citizens, however, they may not be eligible for the same tax benefits and are subject to lower contribution limits. Additionally, they are subject to the same withdrawal rules as US citizens. While non-citizens are not eligible for the same tax benefits, an IRA can still be a great way to save for retirement.

Top 6 Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it possible for a non US citizen to own an IRA?

Answer: Yes, it is possible for a non US citizen to own an IRA. Generally, the only requirements are that the individual must have a valid Social Security number or tax identification number (ITIN) and must have earned income that is subject to US taxation. In addition, some countries have agreements with the US that allow citizens of those countries to open an IRA as well.

2. What are the benefits of owning an IRA as a non US citizen?

Answer: The primary benefit of owning an IRA as a non US citizen is the potential for tax-deferred growth. Generally, any earnings or gains made on investments within the IRA will not be taxed until the funds are withdrawn. In addition, contributions made to the IRA may be tax deductible depending on the individual’s filing status and income level.

3. Is there a limit to the amount a non US citizen can contribute to an IRA?

Answer: Yes, non US citizens are subject to the same contribution limits as US citizens. For 2020, the total contribution limit for an IRA is $6,000, or $7,000 if you are age 50 or older.

4. Are there any restrictions on the types of investments that a non US citizen can make within an IRA?

Answer: Generally, the same types of investments can be made within an IRA, regardless of citizenship. These investments include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and other investments approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

5. Is there any special paperwork required for a non US citizen to open an IRA?

Answer: Yes, non US citizens are required to complete Form W-8BEN when opening an IRA. This form certifies the individual’s foreign status and must be provided to the custodian before the IRA can be opened.

6. Are there any special considerations for non US citizens when closing an IRA?

Answer: Yes, when closing an IRA, non US citizens should be aware of the potential for foreign tax withholding or the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) reporting requirements. Non US citizens may be subject to a withholding tax on their IRA distribution, and may be required to submit additional paperwork to the IRS. It is recommended that individuals consult with a tax professional prior to closing an IRA.

In conclusion, it is possible for non-US citizens to own an IRA, although they may face certain legal restrictions. Non-US citizens should consult a financial advisor to ensure they understand all of the legalities before proceeding. It is important to remember that the potential benefits of owning an IRA may make the effort worthwhile. Ultimately, only non-US citizens can decide if an IRA is the right option for them.

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