How to buy U.S. ETFs ๐Ÿฆ… from Europe?

In many countries, buying U.S. domiciled exchange traded funds (ETFs) is very hard or seemingly impossible to do. Are you also wondering how to buy U.S. ETFs from Europe/U.K.?

Like you, I was looking to spend some money on ๐Ÿ—ฝ liberty-containing financial instruments. Based on my findings, I have compiled a free and easy guide that will let you buy any U.S. ETF you like, such as:

  • Vanguard VOO, VTI and VXUS
  • ProShares UPRO, TQQQ, SPXU, and SQQQ
  • Direxion SOXL, DFEN, SPXL, and TECL
  • Invesco TAN, CQQQ, QQQM, and QQQJ
  • Covered call ETFs QYLD, QYLG, XYLD, RYLD, JEPI, KNG, …

Ways to buy U.S. ETFs

Despite all the boring ๐Ÿ’ค regulation (PRIIPs) requiring specific documentation for ETFs (Key Information Document, or KID/KIID), there still are ways for Europeans to legally buy U.S. domiciled ๐Ÿ“ˆ ETFs. It’s not even much of a hassle and has very little costs. Let’s have a look at the options.

Method #1: Buy ETFs cheap and easy via ๐Ÿ’ Tastytrade (formerly Tastyworks)

Difficulty: ๐Ÿ‘ถ Easy

Minimum: ๐Ÿ’ถ ~โ‚ฌ2,000

Access: ๐Ÿ’ฏ All ETFs

This method is by far the most accessible of all. It works by simply using a U.S. based broker instead of a European one. Besides offering ETFs, the broker has to support funding from Europe with low fees ๐Ÿ’ต for this to be attractive. So far, I’ve found it works great with Tastytrade.

Tastytrade also doesn’t charge any fees for buying stocks and ETFs, a major advantage compared to most European brokers. Follow the steps below and you’re good to go.

Tastytrade also doesn’t charge any fees for buying stocks and ETFs, a major advantage compared to most European brokers. Follow the steps below and you’re good to go.

  1. Open a Tastytrade accountย here.

    Click here for detailed instructions.

  2. Open a CurrencyFair accountย here.

    Transfer โ‚ฌ2,000+ for a โ‚ฌ50 free bonus ๐ŸŽ, click here for instructions.

  3. Transfer funds from your bank to Tastytrade.

    Initiate cheap transfers via ๐Ÿ’ฑ CurrencyFair, click here for instructions.

  4. You can now start buying U.S. ETFs! ๐ŸŽ‰

    Click here to read how to place an order on Tastytrade.

Still got questions? Place a comment below!

Method #2: Get U.S. ETF exposure ๐ŸŒŽ via CFDs

Difficulty: ๐Ÿ‘ถ Easy

Minimum: ๐Ÿ‘› ~โ‚ฌ500

Access: ๐Ÿ›’ 250+ ETFs

Though CFDs aren’t available for all U.S. ETFs, it may still be a good option if you’re mainly interested in the popular ones. The ease and low minimum deposit makes this an attractive option for people looking to buy common U.S. ETFs through a European broker.

Click this link to check out the simple guide I wrote to help you setup your eToro account, and get ๐Ÿง  informed about what CFDs are and how to use them to trade U.S. ETFs.

Method #3: Obtain ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ’ผ professional investor status, trade unrestricted

Difficulty: ๐Ÿง  Medium

Minimum: ๐Ÿ’ฐ ~โ‚ฌ500,000

Access: ๐Ÿ’ฏ All ETFs

Got a large (โ‚ฌ500,000+) ๐Ÿ’ฐ portfolio and want to stick with a European broker when buying U.S. exchange traded funds? In that case, obtaining professional status might be suitable for you. Find the instructions here, but be aware this method will only suit a very select group of people.

Method #4: Buy ETFs by exercising options, for experienced traders

Difficulty: ๐Ÿคฏ Hard

Minimum: ๐Ÿ’ณ ~โ‚ฌ10,000

Access: ๐Ÿ”ฅ Most ETFs

Still work in progress…

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    1. Hi Lucas, it depends on your country so I cannot go in detail for all of them. But generally you just list the account when filing taxes in your country of residence as you would with a local account and that’s it. You pay 30% tax on dividends by default, butโ€”depending on your countryโ€”Tastyworks will automatically fill out your W-8 BEN and apply the treaty rate (if there is oneโ€”generally there is). E.g. for Netherlands the rate is 15%, so they lower it for you already and there’s no work required on your end.

      Lastly, there is an estate tax, meaning that in case an account holder passes away, there will be a tax on balances over 60k, but there are treaties that address this as well. So if you deposit over 60k, you’ll have to look up the treaty for your country and find the rate (or absence thereof).

      Hope this helps you out a little, I cannot really go in detail too much as I’m not a tax adviser.

    1. Hi James, thanks for your suggestion. This is indeed another option that I’d like to cover. Seeing as how holding CFDs is different from possessing actual stock, I decided to give this less of a priority, but I’m planning on writing instructions for this method sometime later this quarter. Hope you find the other methods useful as well thoughโ€”I personally very much favor those over CFDs. Good luck!

    1. Hi Willem, it’s not strictly required but likely cheaper due to the exchange rates and wire fees charged by banks (which are often higher). Tastyworks also doesn’t process third party transfers (aside from CurrencyFair), so that also excludes some of the cheaper banks like N26, which uses TransferWise for wires in the backend. Hope this answers your question!

  1. How about e*trade as an alternative to Tastyworks?
    Also, how about transferring Funds und USD via TransferWise to minimize fx losses?
    Thanks for your perspective!

    1. Hi Ed, though E*Trade is a fine broker, they stopped accepting foreign clients. Therefore Tastyworks seems to be the best alternative at the moment. Tastyworks states that they do not accept TransferWise deposits, only CurrencyFair. Hope this helps! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Hey this is great work! The only issue is taxes for Italians on non-UCITS ETFs are simply ridiculous they can go all the way up to about 50% of your earnings

    1. Thanks for your comment Rudy. I don’t advise on taxes, so I advise anyone to check their local regulations. For many countries (such as the Netherlands) it should not make a difference, but it is possible some countries treat non-UCITS products differently.

      1. Yeah.Here in Spain it dosent make a difference. 15% if you invest in US domiciled or 15% if you invest in Ireland (UCITS) domiciled.

        1. Thanks Ignacio, this will be very useful information for other people from Spain visiting this website. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Good day,

    Both Tastyworks and Firstrade does not accept Lithuania (Europe) Is there any other broker that accepts Lithuanian clients, or is there another way to invest in ARK products. Or the only way is to invest in ARK alternative ETF’s?

    Thank you

  4. Hi, great article, very informative and helpful. Is there an alternative to Trading 212 as they are not allowing new accounts at the moment. Thanks Tony

    1. Hi Tony, yes, there’s a temporary hold on new accounts. You can choose to be notified one it opens up again though. As for alternatives, you might want to check out my guide on using a U.S. broker to buy any ETF you like. Hope it works out for you!

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