Did you know it's possible for foreigners to open a French bank account without actually travelling to France?
Travel to France is not necessary to open your French bank account however you will need to provide certified identification in most cases.
Further, it's not necessary to open a bank account at the same time you make an offer to buy a French property. You can wire the deposit funds directly to your Notaire from your home country. Therefore you don't need a French bank account until just before you close on the sale - 3 to 4 months after getting an accepted offer. A French account is necessary for direct debits for electricity, telephone, interenet and home insurance at a minimum. Many companies only accept to work with direct debits.
France Home Finance will open a French bank account for you as a part of our French mortgage broker or Paris property search service. A France Home Finance advisor will walk you through the process to open your French bank account in just a few easy steps. Some French banks will require that you open a current account if you are taking a mortgage with them so it is often best to wait until you have finalised your mortgage choice before opening an account. Others may not require it so if you alreay have an account, opening a new account is not necessary.
Due to the arrival of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) law in 2010, many Americans find it difficult to open a French bank account. In brief, French banks now have onerous disclosure and reporting requirements to the US government for any Amercian clients. All American citizens are considered "US Persons" by the banks and therefore bound by this requirement even if they hold multiple passports.
Failure to comply can result in serious fines for the banks or even losing the right to do business in America. Many banks have decided its not worth the risk and have therefore stopped working with Americans.
France Home Finance has special relationships with French banks that continue to work with Americans.