Can you open a bank account in France without a local address?

Banks are free to deny an account to anyone and are not required to provide justification for their decision

There are ‘banking’ options for those who regularly travel to France but do not live there
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Reader Question: I do not live in France but regularly visit. I have seen that banks require proof of address to open an account, but is there a way that I can open a bank account without a French address?

There is no legal requirement to live in France in order to be able to open a bank account.

However, banks are free to deny an account to anyone and are not required to provide justification for this decision, although they must make the conditions clear to any potential customer.

Most banks require, among other things, proof of a French address to open a bank account but that is not the case for all.

There are different ways that you can open a French bank account while living abroad, or an account that you can use when in the country.

Opening a French bank account from abroad

While most banks do not offer the option of opening an account while living abroad, some such as HSBC, Société Générale and Britline (a branch of Crédit Agricole) may.

For this you need to be planning on moving to France, have a second home there or regularly visit.

To open a personal account with Britline, you must be a resident of the UK or Ireland and have a bank account registered in the EEA.

You must submit documents proving your identity, your address in the UK or Ireland and your tax status.

Once these have been verified you will have a telephone interview with an advisor to discuss your banking requirements. You will then be sent a digital contract to sign.

To finalise the account being opened, the bank's website states that you will need to deposit €3,000 or £2,500 [Update April 17, 2024: the bank reports that there is no longer any specific fixed amount, rather this will vary depending on the customer's profile and needs, so this wording will be changed].

HSBC and Société Générale both indicate on their websites that you can open a bank account in France if you are a non-resident but you may need to visit a branch in person in order to do so. Not all types of accounts are open to non-residents.

Read more: Seven ways to save on French bank charges

It is worth noting that if you go into a branch of any bank they may offer you a non-resident account, even if they do not advertise these.

Opening an account with digital banks

A digital account could be useful if you regularly visit France and live in the EU, the EEA or the UK.

This can be opened from your country of residence in the EEA or the UK.

Digital banks such as Revolut or N26 offer free accounts with free bank cards. They also offer in-app current exchange facilities which can be competitive depending upon the exchange rate offered / fees charged.

The card can then be used in France.

Opening an account with these digital banks is undertaken online. You should expect to provide the same proofs of identity, address etc as if opening an account with a traditional bank.

US residents can also open a Revolut account and then use it in Europe, including France.

Note that while you can use these accounts freely in France, they may not have French IBANs, meaning that they are not ‘French’ bank accounts.

Read more: How to transfer money between the US and France?

Tax resident in France

If you are a French tax resident but you do not live in or have a French address (for example those whose major economic investments are in France even though they do not live there), then you can open a French bank account.

This can be via a traditional bank or with a digital bank such as Boursorama. You will need to provide the same documents as proof and then transfer a certain amount of money to open the account.

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