A number of internationally-minded people follow 5 Flag Theory, whereby you diversify different aspects of your life (residency, banking, investments, etc.) across multiple countries to protect yourself against confiscation/default/etc. by foreign (or your own) governments.

I recently posted a Q&A How to open a bank account in Hong Kong remotely from the US? to explain an option for planting a "banking flag" without having to leave one's country of origin.

Is this question considered on topic for Expats.SE?

If so, I'll post another one for Mongolia (:

2 Answers 2


No, while it might be of interests to expats, it's not about being an expat - as stated, you have no intention of moving to Hong Kong.

We're working on becoming a great resource for those that have these interesting twists in their daily lives living abroad, coming from the fact that they aren't citizens where we reside.

'Prospecting' sorts of questions might be okay, I think we need to take those on a case-by-case basis. If you're planning to move to another country and have some specific questions about how things might work for you there as an expat - we can probably help.

If you're a US citizen, and don't intend to actually live in Hong Kong, this isn't the best resource for you. It's not just sticking to a particular topic and scope - the people that have knowledge that might help are coming from a perspective of actually living there.

That isn't to say that people wouldn't benefit from answers, but it's a bit out from our scope for being on-topic.

  • 1
    I would say that this site would be an even better resource for people who are facing the possibility (or even just the option) of living in a country where they are not a citizen, for anything longer than a holiday. People who are offered a job (or are considering applying for a job) in another country, usually find it difficult to get simple answers to questions ranging from subjects as diverse as visas/work permits, banking, mobile phone contracts, cable TV, and all the things you take for granted 'at home'.
    – Scott Earle Mod
    Mar 21, 2014 at 7:52
  • That's fine, but this particular question was how to open a bank account in another country they have no plans of residing in. I'll clarify my answer, though, as I wasn't saying the sort of question you mentioned would be off-topic.
    – user100
    Mar 21, 2014 at 13:04
  • Sorry - I forgot to mention that I agreed with you :)
    – Scott Earle Mod
    Mar 21, 2014 at 13:36
  • Yuck. I'm sad to see this kind of topic micromanaging carried over from Travel. “You're not one of us, go away!” If the question is relevant to expats — and this one definitely is — it's on-topic here, and the asker's intentions are irrelevant (this is a questions and answers site, nor a personal help site). Mar 22, 2014 at 21:51
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    @Gilles: I don't think this is micro-managing, or bad. As I've stated in a comment on the original question, the intent is important, as the answer might be different (sometimes even completely different) to someone who wants to go abroad, compared to someone who just wants some benefits while staying at home. There are overlaps in the questions here with other sites, like Travel or Money, the difference is that answers here have to take into consideration that you intend on living abroad, as it might be important.
    – SztupY Mod
    Mar 23, 2014 at 0:14
  • @Gilles I happen to share your opinion about the way travel.SE is run but I am still lukewarm regarding this particular question.
    – Gala
    Mar 24, 2014 at 14:15

This is borderline. As stated in your meta question, you don't want to be an expat, which makes the question off-topic. However, the exact same question would be on-topic if it was framed differently: “I'm planning to move to Hong Kong, but I can't travel there right now, how can I open a bank account and transfer funds (so they can be available when I do move)?”. Without the extra information provided in your meta question, we can't conclude that the question is off-topic.

The question could maybe use a minor edit to highlight that it's definitely relevant to expats. Done.

The fact that you, personally, do not intend to move to Hong Kong is in fine irrelevant. Questions on Stack Exchange are for the benefit of everyone, not just for the asker. You don't have to ask about your personal situation, and we should not care.

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    I agree with the "questions are for the benefit of everyone" principle 100%. However, what we should judge questions by is their content. If the content is inappropriate for expats then the question is off-topic even if an expat is asking it. I can see specific "How do I open a bank account in locale X before I go?" questions being on topic, but I think much of the 5-flag-theory stuff that OP wants to discuss will end up being off-topic here. Also, I'm not sure we want to get 25 different self-answered remote-bank-account how-tos in one week, if that's what he's aiming at. Mar 23, 2014 at 1:20
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    I am not fully convinced. An expat question is “I am going to Hong Kong, how can I open a bank account?” and a valid answer might be “You can only do it in person” or “You should first register with this or that administration”. The “remote” aspect is an additional constraint that is specifically relevant for people who are not expats. It's not only a matter of framing or setting the context but it effectively makes the question different.
    – Gala
    Mar 23, 2014 at 21:25

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