As an European citizen living temporary in the USA on a VISA (US Person), choose Vanguard or Schwab?


I understand that as long as I live in the US, I’m able to deposit and withdraw money to the account, regardless Vanguard or Schwab.

Now I target the following scenario.
The first year or two, (or maybe more), I want to build an ETF portfolio. Then I move back to Europe, and I want to withdraw the dividends and occasionally sell some of the assets. So I will no longer hold a valid VISA, nor a Social Security number, and live in Europe, while still keeping the US-based brokerage account open. And then every now and then transfer money to my European account (in EUR).

Which is best? Schwab or Vanguard?

Note: I have no 401k, nor do I have an IRA account.


Hey K,

thank you for your message. Due to tax reasons (FATCA), US expats have difficulties using brokers if they’re not in the US. That’s why I always recommend using a broker that is available in both the US and the country of residency (in your case, this will be an EU country later).

Because of this reason, Schwab seems a better option as it also accepts more non-US clients if you have a minimal account size ($25k+). If you click on “Open an account”, and select the preferred EU country, you can check if that’s available at Schwab:

In addition, Interactive Brokers ( is a great option as it’s available in many countries globally.

Let me know if you have any questions.