Acorns for Non-U.S. Citizens in 2023

Acorns For Non-U.S. Residents

Acorns is a brokerage that do NOT accept account applications from non-U.S. residents aliens (including EU citizens and expats).

Acorns Alternatives For Non-U.S. Residents

If you don’t have U.S. citizenship, you can still trade stocks and other securities listed on U.S. exchanges. All you need is a brokerage account at Firstrade. Here are the details:

Open Firstrade Account

Open Firstrade Account

For a European brokerage company that provides access to U.S., EU, and Asian markets, we recommend a broker called DEGIRO. This is one of the largest trading firms in Europe. Along with low fees, you get access to more than 50 exchanges across 30 countries. Read DEGIRO Review.

Open DEGIRO Account

Open DEGIRO Account

Opening a Foreign Account at Firstrade

Firstrade has an online international account application that takes just a few minutes to fill out. It is a different account application than the regular form for domestic accounts, so non-Americans should be sure to use the proper application.

Eligible Countries

Not all nationals are eligible to open a Firstrade global account. The brokerage house accepts applications from citizens of 28 foreign countries plus the United States. Some of the foreign countries include:

- Norway
- Thailand
- United Kingdom
- Israel
- Malaysia

Canada is not on the list of available countries.

Firstrade caters to the Chinese-speaking communities of the world. Consequently, it accepts applications from all major Chinese-speaking countries, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore, and Macau.

The brokerage firm also offers customer service in Mandarin and Cantonese. The Firstrade website is available in both simplified and traditional Chinese.

Importantly, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who live abroad are not eligible to open brokerage accounts at Firstrade.

Acorns for non-US


Foreign nationals who want to open accounts with Firstrade have a few requirements. The broker requires a copy of the account applicant’s passport. Entity accounts are currently not accepted from foreign nationals. An international account also cannot add any beneficiaries.

Perhaps most significantly is the requirement of Form W-8 BEN. This is an IRS form that must be submitted to the investment firm every three years. This form will be kept on file at Firstrade as it establishes tax withholding status.

Generally, foreign nationals have tax withheld on all dividends and capital gains, although some countries have tax treaties with the U.S. government, and nationals of these countries can secure reduced rates. That’s what Form W-8 BEN is for. It establishes tax status.

Although Firstrade does not require a U.S. Social Security Number to open a brokerage account, it does require all deposits to be in U.S. dollars. Moreover, there are just a few methods to transfer cash in. These include ACH transfer, check deposit, and wire transfer. Although the latter will be the most expensive, it might be the best option for foreigners living overseas.

Acorns for non-citizen

Transfer of Securities

Firstrade will accept transfers of securities from a foreign brokerage firm if that firm participates in DTC, DWAC, or ACATS transfers.

Fees and Commissions on Foreign Accounts at Firstrade

Firstrade imposes the same pricing schedule on international accounts. This means $0 commissions on U.S.-listed stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options. There is no minimum to open an account, and there are no ongoing account fees, either.

Firstrade Review - Mobile

Tradable Products Inside a Foreign Account at Firstrade

Although most securities are available to international account holders, there are some mutual funds that may be restricted. If this is the case for a particular fund, it should be noted in the fund’s prospectus.

Firstrade does not yet offer trading on foreign exchanges, one of the downsides here.

Open Firstrade Account

Open Firstrade Account

Protection of International Accounts

Foreign accounts are protected by SIPC insurance just like domestic accounts. Plus, Firstrade has additional insurance with London Underwriters that also applies to international accounts.

About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.