As a Non-US person, I have helped colleagues open accounts at TD Ameritrade, Fidelity Investments and other brokers for the past 20 years.
-Yes, it is possible for non-US residents to open accounts at TD Ameritrade
This is what you will need:
TD Ameritrade application, which can be downloaded here TD Ameritrade
A form W8-BEN (this is an IRS form). It will be included with the application
A copy of your current passport
An original or stamped copy of your bank (or financial institution) statement, written in English characters. (Please make sure the name and address on your statement matches the name on your TD Ameritrade account)
The information can be sent back by mail or faxed back. There are apps which would enable you to send the fax from your computer for free (the advantage being that it’s received right away and you get an electronic record).
The advantages of a US brokerage account:
Able to trade stock for as low as $5
Most accounts are free of charge and with very low maintenance amounts. In other words, pricing is much cheaper than Switzerland, which is another country with a strong, legal framework
No currency fluctuations
Depending on the broker you chose, you may receive a Visa Debit card which you can use to withdraw cash from anywhere in the world with no fees of any kind
Some brokers offer toll free numbers from your home country. You will be able to call back for free 24/7.
Nonresidents pay no gains on capital gains (the proceeds from buying and selling shares). They are taxed on interest and dividends though
I am a customer of TD Ameritrade and Fidelity Investments and overall I find the customer service provided by TD Ameritrade to be better.
My comments above are as a customer. But I would encourage folks to get the help of Experts on the field. They can help you better understand the process, learn how to get a US tax identification number, claim back taxes on dividends and interest, get a debit card, understand the pros/cons of each broker etc.
Q & A
Can I open a TD Ameritrade account if I reside in Spain, Australia or Canada?
Yes, you can. Please send me a message through Linkedin and I will send you the details. I charge no fees of any kind nor do I received any compensation of any kind.