Cashing Savings Bonds internationally

Wednesday, January 25th, 2006
Categorized as: Cashing in US Savings Bonds

I own U.S. Savings Bonds that I’d like to redeem, but I don’t live in the U.S. What do I do?

Tom’s response

In general, getting a Savings Bond cashed outside the U.S. is a hassle. You can send the bonds in, but the Treasury wants a certified signature to make sure it’s you.

If you’re a U.S. citizen overseas, you should first try to redeem your Savings Bonds at a bank that’s incorporated in the United States or its territories.

If you aren’t a U.S. citizen, or if you can’t find a bank that meets these requirements, you can have your signature certified on the back of the bonds, certify your tax status, and mail the bonds to the Treasury for redemption.

Certifying your tax status as a non-U.S. citizen, incidentally, means the U.S. will withhold 30% of your interest as tax. But you can’t cash the bond at all otherwise – 70% is better than 0%.

To certify tax status, a U.S citizen needs to send a statement over his or her signature stating that he or she is a U.S. citizen and providing his or her social security number. Non-citizens need to complete IRS Form W-8BEN. (Instructions)

Signature certifications completed in a foreign country require a seal but can be done by any of the following:

  • any U.S. diplomatic or consular representative
  • the manager or other official of a foreign branch of a bank or trust company incorporated in the U.S.
  • a notary or other official authorized to administer oaths – however, in this case, the official character and jurisdiction of this individual should be certified by the seal of a U.S. diplomatic or consular officer

After having your signature certified on the back of your bonds, mail the bonds, the tax documentation, and the mailing address for your redemption check to:

Bureau of the Public Debt

P.O. Box 7012

Parkersburg, WV 26106-7012

   USA

You will receive a U.S. dollar check from the Treasury that you can deposit at your bank.

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FDIC Insured Certificates of Deposit can pay 1 or 2% more than savings bonds when held for a similar length of time. See top CD Rates Below:

18 Comments

On March 21st, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Here’s specific information from the US Embassy in Ireland on when and how to get your signature certified on Savings Bonds you want to redeem.

On November 22nd, 2008 Tony said:

We live in Canada, and my two daughters were each given U.S. Savings Bonds series EE, issue dates Nov 1988 and July 1990 as a birth gifts. If you should cash the one at full maturity now, she would pay 30% with holding tax, correct?

If she can hold off till our exchange rate is closer to par, then in reality, that is all she would pay and not lose on the exchange as well.

On November 24th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Tony – “maturity” can mean either “reached face value” or “stopped paying interest”. Both of these bonds are worth quite a bit more than face value but are a number of years away from when interest will end. So there’s no rush to cash these.

You bring up an important point that I frankly hadn’t understood. The instructions for the tax form for non-U.S. citizens mentioned above states that 30% of the interest income will be withheld if you use that form, which you must if you don’t have a U.S. Social Security Number. I’m going to revise the article to make that point clear.

Tom Adams

On December 8th, 2009 Yago said:

I am married and live presently in Israel. I have Series EE Savings Bonds. I would like to cash it in. How can I do it here in Israel without waiting until I will one day visit the USA.

On December 9th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Yago – I have nothing to add to what it says at the top of this page. Do you have a specific question or problem with the process outlined there?

Tom Adams

On January 7th, 2010 Linda Newman said:

I sent the properly documented bonds (US Embassy in Dublin) to the address provided in the US. This was over a month ago. They phoned my daughter in Boston to say they were sending them to a different office. How long should it take for these to be cashed?

On January 7th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Linda – a normal transaction takes about three weeks, but this isn’t a normal transaction. If they called your daughter then you know things are proceeding. Are they sending the check to you or her?

Tom Adams

On January 15th, 2010 Linda Newman said:

Thanks for the response. They are sending the check to my daughter’s house in Boston. They rang her to say they couldn’t directly deposit into an account that didn’t have my name on it. It is now over two months. ?? Seems very long.

On January 23rd, 2010 Nicolas said:

I´d like to know how I can cash in my series EE saving bonds. I currently live in Uruguay, south america, and am unable to visit the US for quite some time.

How may I cash them in? I´m not sure if theres an american bank here in Uruguay for me to go to…

On January 25th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Nicholas – The text above outlines several ways to get your bond cashed without going to a U.S. bank.

Tom Adams

On February 2nd, 2010 YAGO said:

I have made an appointment next week with the Israeli Embassy to certifiy my signature on the back of my bonds.

The Embassy charges for each Notarization a fee.
just want to make sure that each chech needs to have Signature Certification or it is enough for them to Certify my Signature, which could be compared on each bond.

I also would like to know if the statement over my signature stating that I am a U.S. citizen and my social security number is in the form of a letter? And if this needs to be certified?

On February 3rd, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Yago – print out a copy of the form referred to on this page and you’ll only need to have your signature certified once.

The signature on the letter providing your SSN doesn’t need to be certified.

Tom Adams

On February 23rd, 2010 Hoolahan said:

OK once more for me…. Please. 10 years ago I was a legal alien in the US. Back then my daughters recieved EE Bonds. We are all three citizens of Denmark, we live in Denmark, I have no US TAX FORM , I have no idea how to cash in a US SAVINGS BOND in Denmark…?????

On February 24th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Hoolahan – Since your daughters aren’t US citizens, they don’t need tax forms. I’ve reviewed the text at the top of this page and I still think it’s pretty clear about that, but here’s the step-by-step.

Assuming your daughters are minors, you, as the custodial parent, simply need to write “My daughter, [name on bond], is not a U.S. citizen” on a piece of paper and sign it in front of someone who can certify that signature (see text above). Under your signature write “Custodial parent of [name on bond]”

Next, sign the back of the bonds in front of the same person in the same way. The person doing the certification will then sign or stamp the bonds and the tax certification.

If your daughters are not minors, then they should sign the tax certification and the bonds themselves in front of the certifying officer.

All the other information you need is in the text at the top of this page.

Tom Adams

On March 24th, 2010 YAGO said:

I did what you advised me on February 3rd, 2010. I was at the Embassy. They signed and sealed the Public Debt Form 1522 and stamped(sealed)the Bonds. However I have found two additional Bonds. Can I add the two to the Public Debt Form 1522 and send it together with the others to the U.S.A. address, even though it wasn’t stamped? They can compare the signatures.

On March 25th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Yago – as reasonable as that sounds, I have no reason to think it will work unless the processing clerk simply fails to notice the difference.

Tom Adams

On April 27th, 2010 Gabi said:

I am a US citizen living overseas. Can you explain the meaning of a “bank that is incorporated in the United States?”

On April 28th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Gabi – In general terms, it means Citibank or JP Morgan/Chase, although there may be others near you as well.

Tom Adams

Comments Closed

June 1, 2010

After six years, over 400 posts, 3,680 real comments, and over 90,000 spam comments (thank you, Akismet, for making managing a blog with comments possible), I am closing public comments on Savings-Bond-Advisor.com. I will contine to update the main articles on this site, but not the comments.

Virtually every question about Savings Bonds has been asked and answered on this site multiple times. Use the search feature (see the box in the gray area near the top of this page) or the detailed menu on the lower part of the home page to find the information you're looking for. If you have a copy of Savings Bond Advisor, you can ask me a question here.

Tom Adams

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