To open a bank account in Portugal, the first thing that you have to do is get a Portuguese fiscal tax number as an individual. A US citizen would apply for a tax number directly from the tax office or they could appoint a tax representative, which is a service that we offer whereby we are nominated as the tax representative for a non-resident. If this is set up, all tax correspondence are sent between the tax office and the tax representative.
Some of the foreign banks are less demanding than the Portuguese banks. There are a lot of foreign banks here; especially Spanish banks. They seem to make life a lot easier when you are opening a bank account here in Portugal.
I do not know if Americans would have an issues related to FATCA when they open a bank account here in Portugal. FATCA has forced the EU to come up with a similar thing called “Common Reporting Standard” so that in 2017, most financial institutions will be communicating to the tax authorities on the accounts held by their depositors.
(Novo Banco -- formerly Banco Espírito Santo-- Lisbon, Portugal, pictured.)