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My wife and I plan on living part of the year in France and part of the year in the US. We thought it would be easiest to go ahead and open up a French Bankaccount for when we are in France. What kind of credentials will we need and is it even possible?
Thank you for your help in advance!
 

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Hi,

there are already several threads in the Forum about banking, as immigrants, as expats, and as visitors. Rather than repeat all the worthy advice and experiences already regaled, may I humbly suggest you do a search on this Forum, and then ask specific questions if you still have outstanding issues?

hils
 
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You may be in a slightly different situation than some of the folks who ask about opening bank accounts in France. It depends a bit on just how much time during the year you are planning on spending in France - and whether or not you will need a visa to stay here.

Unless you're getting a resident visa (i.e. a visa for more than 90 days at a time), you'll be limited to a non-resident account. I've never been quite sure what the precise differences are, but I know it relates to what information the bank reports to the French fisc (i.e. the French version of the IRS).

Normally, to open a resident account in France, you need to make an appointment and then bring all the "usual" types of i.d. plus the last three pay slips or evidence of whatever other source of income you have (pensions, etc). Obviously, that last bit doesn't apply to a non-resident account (i.e. if you don't have a long-stay visa), but you probably will need to bring some funds to open the account with, and perhaps a bank statement or two from the bank you will be transferring funds from.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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...What kind of credentials will we need and is it even possible?
Having a French bank account makes a lot of things easier and/or cheaper, like paying rent, having a Euro debit card, and saving money on the exchange rate.

If you're going to be living in France every year rather than being a tourist, I suspect it would be useful to have a French bank account. But, as Bev said, it depends on how much time you'll be here, whether you need a French bank account to make other things easier / cheaper, and how your US credit & debit cards add fees and use higher exchange rates for every purchase or withdrawal you make from an ATM.

When my wife and I bought our house in France 3 years ago, we were able to open a checking account with Barclays via telephone call and email exchange with a Barclays personal banker (Barclays is an English Bank that has an office in Paris). We needed a Euro account at a French bank so we could establish telephone, water, and electric accounts and pay the bills. If you send me a private mail, I'll be happy to provide our Barclays account manager's contact informatoin.

The docs / info that we had to send included scans of our passports, drivers licenses, marriage license, birth certificates, US bank statements, Annual Income & Assets, and US Utility Bills (for our US Address). We also filled out several forms that listed quite a bit of info for Barclays that I suspect were more for marketing purposes than required identification.

Barclays' fees are high so we opened an account at the local bank in our village as soon as we were in France again and closed the Barclays account. However, having the Barclays account was invaluable as it allowed us to get all our utilities set up and functioning.

Best of luck.

Ray
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I just want to make it easy to pay rent, utility bills, get money out of the account without having fees etc... What exactly is a postal account?
 

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La Poste (the post office) runs a bank of its own, which usually runs a bit more simply than the "private" banks. Bank: La Banque Postale, banking and insurance products and services - La Poste

I suspect you'll run into some of the same restrictions on a "non-resident" account as with the regular banks, but in your case that may not amount to much.

Just be aware that it may not be possible to find a bank account completely without fees. The banking system is set up a bit differently here and the banks do seem to charge fees for most everything (especially for things you take for granted in the US, like online access to your accounts), though they provide chequiers (check books) for free.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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