If you don’t live in the United States, investing in the U.S. markets can be an effective way to diversify your portfolio and access the US economy. While there are no citizenship requirements for owning stocks issued by U.S.-based companies, there are several rules and requirements to be aware of.
There are 2 approaches you can take when investing in the US from a different country:
You can open a brokerage account with a local financial institution with access to the US stock markets. These institutions often partner with financial firms in the United States or access the US markets through global depository receipts (GDRs)
Alternatively, you can open a trading account with a US-based broker, such as Interactive Brokers, Charles Schwab, TradeStation, TD Ameritrade, Zecco and Sogotrade. It is critical to ensure that the broker works with international investors; each broker will have a list of countries it accepts clients from!
You can take a look at this list of brokers to find examples servicing your country!
Once you’ve chosen a broker, you should double check that the broker accepts clients from your country of residence. It is recommended that you read through their FAQ page, or give the service a call if there are any clarifications you’re seeking.
After you’ve confirmed your broker of choice, proceed to fill out the required forms and information. You will often need to provide proof of identity, such as an international passport or a valid Social Security number; a utility bill may be required to provide proof of residence. You will also be required to fill out & sign the W-8BEN tax form; it expires 3 years from the day it is signed.
Once your application is approved by the broker, you can transfer funds into your account to begin trading. Be sure to look into transfer and trading costs as well as tax treatment for your specific country of residence before you begin investing.