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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Its been a while since I've posted here, but the advice/info has always been fantastic and accurate! So, here's my latest query. My husband and I are American citizens, resident in France for 17 years, and we have US valid passports. I just booked flights with BA to go NCE-LHR-ATL and return ATL-LHR-NCE for 10 days in October this year. The BA site brought up ESTA application info, which is causing me concern and need for further research. I just want to be positive, positive that this does not apply to us, that we can go to the US, as American citizens returning for visit, even though our flight originates in France and we're traveling through the UK, and returning to France, and that we don't need any further documentation than valid US passports.
My last trip to US was two years ago and rules change, plus I don't want surprises at the Airport either in the UK or upon arrival in ATL, United States....travel is stressful enough without unnecessary surprises...I like to be prepared.
Another sideline is that as long-term residents of France, we use an address in the US mainly for US banking, but we really don't have "real property" in the US. Does anyone have thoughts on this, as I'm sure it affects a lot of expats, and rules keep tightening. All thoughts/ideas much appreciated!
 

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No, as long as you're traveling on your US passports, you don't need to be enrolled in ESTA. Not sure what airline you're flying, though, but I have noticed that some airlines give you an "ESTA-like" section you need to fill in when you are booking your tickets. This is (apparently) because the US is requiring flight manifests in advance for flights to the US. But if this is what you're getting, the part where you fill in your passport information (including that it's a US passport) should signal whatever system that you don't need ESTA clearance.

There is no requirement that you maintain a US address. If you use one for your bank, that's between you and the bank. (I'm just going through some hassles on this, as my bank is happy to use my French address, but their Bill Pay service won't work for someone like me without a US address. Of course I gave them one and it appears that still won't fix the "problem.")

The main thing on US bank accounts is that you need to report them on your French tax declaration, as well as reporting your French (and other non-US) accounts on the appropriate FBAR reports. But that shouldn't affect anything during your travels back to "the Old Country."
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Bev for the info. We're flying British Airways, and the online booking site brings up the ESTA application, which caused me the concern. I went to their site and the drop-down menu of citizen countries does NOT include the United States, so I took that as good. But then I got into this whole exploration of my passport and it doesn't say "citizen" anywhere on it, but it is issued by the USA. Citizen and National are two different things with different rules. I/we are born American, with valid US Passports. Its just my tenacious personality that has to find definitive answers. I do not like airport surprises!!
Regarding the US banking, I use a US address, and have mail forwarded, such as a renewed credit card. I think the main complications arise at investment firms, ie Vanguard, Fidelity etc which really don't want to service expats, at least that is my experience as it has evolved over the years that I've been living in France. I think it has mainly to do with trading investments and taxation. I just keep a low profile and go with the flow and try to stay on top of rules as they change. Meanwhile, love living in France!! I'm sure you agree.
 

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Hello Bonnjazz,

I recently completed information on my American passport for Air France.
Their on-line form had no drop down for American citizen or American passport number. I called their online customer service number available in either French or English. All went smoothly and the person at Air France completed the information required. I did give an address and I believe a telephone number where I will be staying with family.

Last year when I travelled back there were no issues entering the USA and there were no issues reentering France. (Perhaps required information has tightened with the new admisnistration.)

Have a nice trip.

Amy
 

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Hello Bonnjazz,

I recently completed information on my American passport for Air France.
Their on-line form had no drop down for American citizen or American passport number. I called their online customer service number available in either French or English. All went smoothly and the person at Air France completed the information required. I did give an address and I believe a telephone number where I will be staying with family.

Last year when I travelled back there were no issues entering the USA and there were no issues reentering France. (Perhaps required information has tightened with the new admisnistration.)

Have a nice trip.

Amy
Are you sure you didn't just overlook the option? One of the "oddities" I have found with many French websites (including, I suspect, Air France) is that on those drop down menus the names of the countries may appear in the same order as they do in French, even on the English language part of the site. Hence, United States is up with the countries that start with the letter E (Etats-Unis) rather than down at the end of the list in the U section or at the beginning with the A (i.e. America).

Just a thought in any event. I've been here so long that if I can't find something like that where I'm looking for it, I just automatically check the listing in "French alphabetical order."
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hello Bevedeforges,

I even went to Air France USA website plugged in ticket information... neither American citizen nor the United States appeared in drop down menu. Strange ... I do agree. (I even called the American Air France number. They couldn't arrange it on their end and advised me to recontact the France number during their hours.) But who am I to question? Took care of it anyways. I imagine because the ticket is round trip Paris USA Paris.

Thanks for you concern. (truly sincere.)

Cheers, Amy
 

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In any event, they always check your passport when you check in at the airport, and that's enough to "prove" that you don't need any ("steenking"?) ESTA. Never ran into that when I was flying Paris-US return like that, but then again, I haven't headed over to the US in a few years now. Nothing as constant as change, I guess.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Citizens of the US cannot be denied entry to the US. They do not need travel authorization, which is what the ESTA represents.

If a travel website keeps asking you to fill out an ESTA (this happens to me with Air France a lot), ignore it.
 

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If the online system doesn't work for you, forget it. There is no requirement to fill in those data online.

When you get to the airport and hand over your US passport, the reaction will be 'thank you' followed by some typing. Followed by printing a boarding pass.

That is all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I thank all of you so very much! You are seasoned travelers with real expat experiences, so you can look at the big picture and the what ifs that can happen. As I mentioned in original post, I just don't like airport surprises (well, an upgrade would be acceptable! That actually happened to me two years ago with British Airways!), and the other factor is that the rules can always change with tightened security.
I am feeling confident, with the feedback here, that I don't need the ESTA, and can have entry to the US with American passport and return to France via Heathrow/UK with just valid US Passport.
Coincidentally, I haven't had the visa questions asked via the Air France website for travel, but then the last time I flew to US was two years ago, and it was British Airways and I didn't have the Visa questions then, so this is all new and a sign of the times. So, at least we're all aware of the possibility for issues, and will be prepared to deal with it.
Thank you all again so very much. Love the helpfulness!!
 

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I just returned from a round trip Nice-JFK-Stockholm-Nice. I have a us passport and US address, flew Norwegian. No problems, upon arriving at Stockholm, was asked to show my Carte de Sejour. Am returning, again for medical treatment, in November, Norwegian has advised me I must now register my passport information on their web site before my flight due to "new security measures." My guess is that, as with many booking issues, some airlines have procedures that are simpler and more easily understood than others.




the new administration's tules treatment



de Sejour
 
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