How to buy U.S. ETFs πŸ¦… 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 πŸ—½ 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 πŸ’€ 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 πŸ“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 πŸ’ Tastytrade (formerly Tastyworks)

Difficulty: πŸ‘Ά Easy

Minimum: πŸ’Ά ~€2,000

Access: πŸ’― 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 πŸ’΅ 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 accountΒ here.

    Click here for detailed instructions.

  2. Open a CurrencyFair accountΒ here.

    Transfer €2,000+ for a €50 free bonus 🎁, click here for instructions.

  3. Transfer funds from your bank to Tastytrade.

    Initiate cheap transfers via πŸ’± CurrencyFair, click here for instructions.

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

    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 🌎 via CFDs

Difficulty: πŸ‘Ά Easy

Minimum: πŸ‘› ~€500

Access: πŸ›’ 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 🧠 informed about what CFDs are and how to use them to trade U.S. ETFs.

Method #3: Obtain πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’Ό professional investor status, trade unrestricted

Difficulty: 🧠 Medium

Minimum: πŸ’° ~€500,000

Access: πŸ’― All ETFs

Got a large (€500,000+) πŸ’° 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: 🀯 Hard

Minimum: πŸ’³ ~€10,000

Access: πŸ”₯ Most ETFs

Still work in progress…

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    1. Hi, nonresident alien (NRA) taxes are withheld automatically (on dividends). The amount will depend on what tax treaty has been signed between the U.S. and the country where you’re located. You’ll fill out a W-8 BEN during account creation and Tastyworks will do the rest for you in this regard. There may be additional requirements, but this will depend entirely on where in the E.U. you live. As you will understand, I cannot provide such personalized advice, so please check with your local tax authorities.

    1. Hi Mike, very unfortunate… However, this depends on what country you live in. Tastyworks will not accept a small number of countries. Unfortunately, it seems you are living in one of them. Hope you find another solution.

  1. Hi thanks a lot for this article!
    Just one question, Is this illegal for us to circumvent regulation like this?
    I don’t fully understand how we can just do this by signing up to a specific broker. Thanks!

    1. Well, you don’t really circumvent any regulation, you just choose to operate in a region where there is no such regulation. In any case, it is totally legal for Europeans (including the U.K.) to open accounts in countries such as the U.S.

      1. still still the case today ? because i really would like to get some Yieldmax Etfs and KLIP by kraneshares!
        greetings albert ps your etoro piece is awesome helped me out for the past 2 years! πŸ™‚

        1. Sure, you can sign up easily. Some countries Tastytrade will not accept, but this list is ever-changing so you’ll have to check. But most (bigger) countries are accepted just fine.

  2. Does this mean a tastytrade account can be used worldwide for us etf purchases- if I change tax residencies, the account is stable and remains valid? Does it matter if we are us citizens?

    1. Hi Dan, Tastytrade supports many countries. Unless you move to one of the unsupported ones (e.g., Iran) it should not be an issue to change your address.

      Regarding U.S. citizenship, I’ve heard mixed reports about it being an issue when opening a foreign account, like from the E.U. I’d say give it a try and otherwise try different U.S. banks. As a U.S. citizen you should have more options, but if you’re not, then Tastytrade is pretty much the only one.

  3. Absolutely great website – thank you for this.
    I am a German tax resident – Has anybody tried this with the German TAX authorities ? Any pitfalls ?

  4. Hi, have you heard about the possibility to fund TastyTrade account directly from IBKR account?
    I have seen year old posts on reddit where people are actively doing this without problems, it should not be illegal but is not explicitly supported? by IBKR or TastyTrade of course.
    However the transfer takes one business day, there are 0 fees since both accounts are located in the US, provided one does it once a month from IBKR. And the biggest benefit, you can exchange currencies right in IBKR for a total of 2 dollar fee and 0 commision markup, instead 0,4% to 0,6% on CurrencyFair.
    So you would upload EUR or other obscure currency to IBKR for free, convert currency to USD at mid market rate, pay 2 USD, and then withdraw USD into TastyTrade account for free.

    Another alternative would be to use the ACATS system to transfer securities form broker to broker, this takes 7 days, but works for cash. I have not researched this though, any thoughts?

    1. Hi Andrew, I’ve heard of the option, but I don’t use IBKR myself. Feel free to share your experience here if you like. Note that in any case you can also give CurrencyFair a go because the fist time bonus will also easily cover your fees.

  5. I’m a great leveraged etf fan too! Did you check Trading212 invest? They have a wide selection of EU leveraged funds from Wisdomtree and Levshares

    1. Hi Guido, sure, I’ve actually got an article listing many European alternatives that you can read here.
      I also address Trading212 here.
      Thanks for the tip regardless. πŸ™‚

  6. Hi there, thanks for all the great information! Any news regarding the part of the guide on how to buy these US ETF through options?

    1. Hi Matt, sorry, I haven’t really gotten to it yet. Will probably write a guide on how to do it through DeGiro at some point. Note that it’s only possible to do this buying 100 units at a time, so it can be a bit cumbersome.

  7. Hi! I’ve found this page about 2 years ago and have used TastyTrade since then. It used to work really nice. All ETFs available with no fees. You can even buy leveraged ETFs like USD or FNGU, which are not available via CFD or options on other platforms.
    Unfortunately last month I got a message from Tasty that my country (Bulgaria) was recently placed on a blocked jurisdiction list with their clearing firm (Apex). My account was set to closing-only transactions. πŸ™
    Can you recommend any other US brokers for EU citizens?

      1. Hey I did find a workaround!
        Normally IBKR would not allow me to purchase US ETFs, but I can still buy options on them. It turned out I can exercise a call option and then I buy the underlying ETF at the strike price.

  8. Hello! Many thanks for this guide; it really helps finding the best options.
    Would you recommend using Tastyworks for other types of trading/investments? I wonder whether, as a French citizen, I should have a parallel account with another broker to invest in Europe/other types of vehicles.

    1. Hi friend, use whatever is convenient for you. Personally, I use a local broker as well; saves me from having to convert currency for all my orders. But for U.S. ETFs I will use Tastyworks. I should add, I don’t do options myself, but Tastyworks does offer a good platform for that sort of thing, so if you should be wanting to buy options, it’s probably an interesting platform to consider.

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