Best International Brokerage Firms for Non-US Residents. Stock Trading Accounts for Non-US Citizens (2021)

Best brokerage firm for international, EU, non-US clients. Online stock trading broker account accepting residents of foreign countries.

Best International Brokerage Account

Firstrade is one of the very few U.S. brokerage firms that offer accounts to non-U.S. citizens. They lowered their pricing and now provide the lowest commissions on stock/ETF trading and mutual funds investing - $0 per trade. This makes them the top broker for international investors looking for an American brokerage firm.

Firstrade Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Traditionally, we start our Firstrade review with pricing. The broker lowered its stock and ETF commission from $4.95 to $0. Options contract are 0¢ too. Mutual funds are also free to buy or sell. Most fixed-income products are charged on a markup/markdown basis. Placing a trade with a live representative adds an extra fee, which varies depending on the product. Real-time quotes, DRIP service, and electronic statements are free.

An investment account can be opened with no deposit. Firstrade does not impose any on-going international brokerage account fees, including annual, maintenance, or low-balance charges.

New Account Opening

New account setup is straightforward and painless. This can be done entirely on the website which guides users through each step of the process. First off, you click on their promotion offer: Get $0 commission in ALL trades! Once there, click the link to "Open an Account" button at the top and enter full name and email address. From here, you may choose an account type.

Also in the setup process, new users may choose between a margin or a cash-only account and may decide to add options trading as well. Live-chat and a helpline to contact Firstrade is available here as well.

Mutual Funds and ETF's

Once you open a Firstrade international account, it’s time to check out the mutual and exchange-traded funds that are available on the broker’s website. Mutual fund information is simply pulled from Morningstar and redisplayed on the Firstrade site. Fund documents are available, including prospectuses and annual reports. A fund can also be added to a watchlist.

Firstrade’s mutual fund screener can search by a variety of criteria, including YTD return, total assets, and minimum purchase. Although the search tool can look for no-load funds, there is no feature to specify no-transaction-fee funds. The screener returns 8,340 securities, and 3,412 of these have no load.

All US-listed exchange-traded funds are available at Firstrade. The broker’s website can display profile information on ETF’s, and again this data is pulled from Morningstar. The ETF screener on the Firstrade site can search by many different criteria, including regional markets and price/sales ratio. It is also possible to save a screen.

Firstrade offers ALL ETF’s commission-free (!).

Options Trading

Firstrade Securities has some good tools for derivative traders. One is called OptionsPlay, which provides trading ideas for any stock symbol entered. A profit and loss simulator is incorporated into the software. The regular option chain program, which is available only via the trade bar at the bottom of the browsing window, displays regular calls and puts, plus a few strategies.

Customer Service

A Firstrade associate can be reached over the phone anytime from 8 am until 6 pm, EST, Monday through Friday. An online chat function is also available during these hours. The broker-dealer has some agents certain times of the day who speak Cantonese and Mandarin. The broker has an overseas number for clients who are traveling outside the US. The customer service section on the broker’s website has a call back button where clients can request a phone call from the company. There is also a service e-mail address for traders who prefer that method of communication. And of course the broker has a fax number and a snail mail address.

Unfortunately, the brokerage firm does not have a nationwide network of branch locations, which many brokers today do have. Firstrade does hold office hours at its headquarters in Flushing, New York from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm during the week, and there is also a Saturday session that lasts from 10 am until 2 pm.

Firstrade Website

Open Firstrade Account

Trading Technology


Despite being a low-cost firm, Firstrade has a decent website. Unfortunately, the broker has eliminated its desktop platform, so the website is now the primary method of trading. A useful trade bar sits at the bottom of the Firstrade website, and it can be used for several tasks.

Best online broker for international clients

For example, entering a ticker symbol in the quote field produces vital information, such as most recent trade price, bid-ask spread, and the day’s volume. An order for a stock or ETF can be placed using the ticket. Sell and buy are choices, and order types include limit, market, stop, and trailing. Options can also be bought and sold with the trade bar. Clicking on ‘option chain,’ which appears as an icon on the bar, will produce a pop-up window above the bar.

Clicking on ‘MORE INFO’ on the trade bar produces security information on the ticker symbol that has been entered. This data includes news links, Morningstar information, and a small graph.

The website has several useful tools for Firstrade clients. There is a dashboard that sits under the ‘Home’ tab. It shows the day’s market movers, account balance, indices, and market news. Another tab shows balance and position information, along with a transaction history.

A bond section on the website shows all fixed-income products available to Firstrade customers. A search tool can find bids. New issues are displayed, and there is a bond calculator and a fixed-income guide.

A market research center displays economic sector reports in pdf format courtesy of Morningstar. This section of the website also shows heatmaps, Treasury yields, and videos on investment issues.

There is a stock research section on the Firstrade website. There are pre-defined screens, such as large cap growth stocks and bargain basement small cap stocks. Equity reports are available in pdf format free of charge from Morningstar.

Charting on the website offers several tools, including events, technical studies, and drawing features. A graph unfortunately cannot be displayed full screen, but there are many chart styles, including dot, candlesticks, % growth, 10k growth, and dividend effect. The cursor type can be crosshair or track ball. Extended hours can be added or subtracted from the graph. Some of the available technical studies include Williams %R, Fast Stochastic, and MA Envelope. There is a comparison feature, and data from a chart can be exported to a .csv file.

International brokerage account

Mobile Trading

Firstrade customers can buy and sell securities on a mobile platform that the broker offers free of charge. It is compatible with Apple and Android devices. A watchlist is incorporated, and market indexes are displayed. The app fails to offer mobile check deposit, funds transfer, or video news.

There is charting on the app, but a graph cannot be displayed horizontally. The maximum time scale is 12 months, and the tick frequency can be set to either 1, 5, or 10 minutes. Styles include candlesticks, bars, line, area, or Heiken Ashi. There are a few technical studies, including MACD and Klinger Oscillator. The data points in these studies can be modified.

International brokerage firm

International Brokerage Accounts

Firstrade offers an international brokerage account to investors who aren’t permanent residents or citizens of the U.S. and don’t have a Social Security number or tax ID number. Residents of some countries are not eligible. SOME authorized countries include Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom. Investors in Chinese-speaking countries could benefit from the broker’s foreign language customer service.

Open Firstrade Account

Open Firstrade Account

All Other Countries Residents

If you are an international investor from one of these countries - Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam - go to ZacksTrade.

ZacksTrade Website

Open ZacksTrade Account