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## Issues with SBI NISA Application Process for Foreigners

Hi JF,

I recently applied for SBI NISA at the beginning of this month. Despite registering on their website, I was notified that I could not complete the process online due to my status as a foreigner. This meant that while a Japanese person could finish the process online in 2 days, I would have to resort to traditional mail, extending the wait time to 7 days.

Having lived here for a significant amount of time, I am unfortunately accustomed to facing such discrimination in various aspects of daily life. I opted for the mail option and patiently waited. However, when almost 14 days had passed without any sign of the package, I contacted SBI for clarification (and incurred exorbitant charges for their unhelpful support).

The customer service representative informed me that the package had already been sent out and should have reached me. She assured me that a new package would be resent, with an estimated delivery time of 3-4 days (though my previous experience indicated that 7 days was more likely).

It has now been approximately another week since the second package was supposedly dispatched, yet I have still not received anything. I double-checked my name and address during the support call, confirming that all details were accurate.

Given the need for a mail-based process for foreigners and the failure to deliver the package twice, I am beginning to question SBI’s willingness to cater to foreign customers. Despite holding other accounts with them through Netbank, I am now considering whether they harbor a reluctance to serve foreigners or address the unique challenges they may encounter financially.

Although I typically attribute most foreigner-specific procedures to cultural differences or language barriers, I cannot shake the feeling that SBI may have an underlying preference for avoiding foreign clientele without explicitly stating so.

While I hope my suspicions are unfounded and that others have had success with SBI NISA, my primary goal remains investing and receiving the essential mail package promptly. Whether or not SBI welcomes or chooses to accommodate foreign customers does not concern me; I simply seek a smooth and efficient experience.

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18 Comments

  • Elvaanaomori

    I have a sni nisa, don’t remember exactly but pretty sure I did it online. There may have been paperwork exchanged by mail though.

  • JimNasium123

    I’ve never had any problems with receiving mail from SBI.

  • shp182

    You can definitely open NISA with them, there’s no discrimination. There must be something wrong with the address you gave them.

  • Nagi828

    Yes and yes with SBI. I assume there’s a miscommunication in foreigners can’t open the account by the express online application but has to be with paper applications. I did mine so and apparently this isn’t only with SBI. I had to go through the same loop with Amazon and SMBC credit card. Takes 2-3 months to complete.

    On SBI I even stopped caring at one point because middle names right? Then after a few years I was like, hey about those applications I never completed… They were helpful but also a lot of back and forth for sure.

  • Altruistic_Fun3091

    Rather than discrimination or “xenophobia,” the paper mailing requirement stems from Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws. Brokerages/banks go to extremes to avoid running afoul of the statutes. This perceived “inconvenience” allows them to continue offering services to foreigners.

  • anxious_machiavelli

    I opened my account with them through snail mail. It did take a little while but it was alright in the end

  • Illustrious_Part8115

    SBI allows foreigners, pretty friendly. You need to do some extra paperwork, fill some forms arriving by mail. It takes a few weeks.

  • Few-Locksmith6758

    good luck applying online. Usually only way to make account is to request papers via mail and then fill them by hand. For some reason online application does not work for foreigners.

  • BME84

    SBI totally allows foreigners. I had to go back and forth a bit with them over mail over my name being slightly different in my bank account, both for Ideco and Nisa but I got there in the end. But it took a lot of time.

    Please don’t make disingenuous posts like this. Foreigners might face difficulties but they are not discriminated, the banks are following laws.

  • OverallWeakness

    SBI are as bad as the rest. Took me a couple of months to open an NISA account due to their screw ups.
    I didn’t take it as malicious but it’s sad we are forced into a clearly sub par application process solely due to being non-Japanese.

  • frenchcancoffee

    Request it on 1/12, got it on 1/27.

    I’m more surprised by your ability to have someone on the phone.

  • Titibu

    are you American?

  • smorkoid

    >I’m starting to think from the mail process being needed for foreigners, to the 2x failure to send the package, that they just don’t want foreign customers or to deal with the issues that may face foreigners financially.

    In my time here I very rarely think anything like this and simply chalk up many of the special foreigner workflows (unless there is a specific reason) to xenophobia

    Come on, man – you going to pop a blood vessel getting stressed about something like this being a product of xenophobia. It isn’t.

  • mujifloral

    I am facing the same issue. I applied first time in January, and then reapplied last month, still nothing. This is really weird, in their email it says papers should come in about 5 days.

  • Guitar-Sniper

    I set up my SBI Nisa online. Also set up my kid’s junior NISA online.

    Not every instance of ‘I feel inconvenienced’ is ‘discrimination’ – the far more likely explanation is simple user error.

  • fewsecondstowaste

    Set up a Shinsei sbi bank account first and then open it through that bank account. That’s what I did with Monex. It was easy! I imagine it’s just as easy with sbi Shoken.

  • deepdishj

    I’ve set up 5 NISAs for myself and family through SBI. Of the 5, mine (foreigner) was the quickest and involved the least amount of hassle to set up. That was in 2017. My son’s (Japanese) JR NISA last year involved multiple phone calls after they returned 3 applications. Took about 6 weeks or so to finally get it activated. Could be things are getting a bit stricter?

  • FarRedSquid

    I think you’ve just had bad luck with a postal issue. I signed up with SBI Shoken recently, yes I had to do the paper version because foreigner, made an unintentional mistake so they sent it all back by registered post with very precise instructions on what to fix, I fixed it and it finally went through.