Understanding: Opening and Operating Deposit Accounts Held by Non-Residents in Angola

In the past February 3rd, the Angolan National Bank (BNA) published the Order no. 02/2017, which thorough regulates the opening and operating of deposit accounts held by non-residents in Angola for exchange purposes.

According to this Order, which implement the Angolan Exchange Law provisions, natural and legal persons deemed as non-residents in Angola for exchange purposes, may open and operate accounts in national or foreign currency, in Banking Financial Institutions domiciled in Angola.

It is further noted that this Order is also applicable to deposit accounts in foreign currency held by residents in Angola, provided that such accounts are exclusively endowed by funds received from foreign Banking Financial Institutions.

The Angolan Exchange Law considers as non-residents in Angola for exchange purposes (i) individuals with habitual residency abroad, (ii) foreign-based entities, (iii) residents in Angola that leave the country for more than one year and (iv) foreign-based affiliates or branches of Angolan-based companies.

Opening and operating accounts held by non-residents

Opening and operating accounts are deemed by the Exchange Law as exchange operations, therefore being subject to the Angolan exchange legal framework.

The Angolan Exchange Law qualifies as opening of account “any contract entered into between Financial Institutions and its clients” and operating accounts as the “combination of acts concerning changes to deposit accounts, such as deposits, withdrawals and credits”.

National currency accounts held by non-residents may only be operated by the following practices:

  1. Credit: (i) by converting foreign currency from outside the country or accounts held by non-residents in foreign currency; (ii) through revenues derived from an economic activity pursued in Angola; (iii) through compensations derived from investments in Banking Financial Institutions.
  2. Debit: through (i) domestics transfers; (ii) bank check payments; (iii) using debit cards in Angolan territory and (iv) payment of charges associated with the maintenance of the account or funds operating.

Conversely, foreign currency accounts held by non-residents may only be operated by the following practices:

  1. Credit: through (i) transfers of funds from outside the country; (ii) compensations derived from investments in Banking Financial Institutions.
  2. Debit: through (i) national currency exchange operations payments to residents; (ii) issuance of payment orders or international transfers; (iii) interbank transfers and transfers in foreign currency to accounts held by entities based in Angola in a group relationship; (iv) using international payment electronic cards and (v) payment of charges associated with the maintenance of the account or funds operating.

Both national and foreign currency accounts held by non-residents shall have no outstanding balances. However, this restriction does not apply to national currency accounts held by residents.

Other relevant references

In addition to the requirements imposed by the recently published Order, non-residents in Angola for exchange purposes shall comply with other pre-existing legal requirements.

Among such requirements is the prior authorization by the BNA for carrying out transfers of amounts between accounts in foreign currency made by residents in favour of non-residents.

Furthermore, it is mandatory to respect the thresholds of foreign currency inflow imposed by BNA. Non-residents in Angola for exchange purposes who entered Angolan territory with currency exceeding the USD 5,000.00, as well as residents who enter in Angola with currency exceeding USD 10,000.00, are due to fill a statement of foreign currency inflow, addressed to the customs services.

In matter of preventing of and fighting against money laundering and terrorist financing, any casual transaction whose amount is superior than the equivalent to USD 15,000.00, even if performed through several operations which appear to be related, requires the provisioning of information to the Banking Financial Institution, unless the transaction occurs in the context of negotiating a relationship that the institution already has with its customers.


pedro-paes
Article by
Pedro Gonçalves Paes &
Duarte Amaral da Cruz

Pedro is a Partner at MC&A Law Office based in Lisbon, Maputo and Angola. He is responsible primarly for the firm’s African practice with a special focus in Corporate Law. Pedro is a graduate at the School of Law of the Catholic University of Lisbon and has a post-graduation degree in Labour Law granted at the Law School of the University of Lisbon. In 2007 obtained a Diploma in European Union Law at the Kings College, University of London.

Duarte is a Lawyer at MC&A that graduated at the School of Law of the Lisbon University, has a Master degree in Law and Business by the School of Law and the School of Economy of the Portuguese Catholic University and also completed a course in Fiscal Arbitration by the School of Law of the University Nova, Lisbon. Admitted in Portuguese Bar Association in 2014.
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