Taxation in international mobility

How Can an Expat Open a Bank Account Abroad Without Residing There?

For expatriates, having a bank account in the country they’re moving to is essential for managing daily life (receiving salary in the local currency, paying bills, etc.). To be operational quickly and avoid issues upon arrival, it’s wise to choose your bank before moving abroad. From choosing your bank to your relocation, Grospiron Mobility Solutions advises you to find solutions tailored to your needs.

Finding a Bank Abroad: Explanation

To find a bank from France, you have several options. First, your current bank likely has branches in your destination country or partnership agreements with a local bank. So, don’t hesitate to inquire. There’s also a range of online banks, although they might not offer all conveniences in the destination country. Most countries allow expatriates to open an account in a local bank, but it’s not always automatic and usually requires being present and providing documents proving your residency.

Online Banks

In recent years, online or app-based banks, known as neobanks and manageable via smartphones, have significantly transformed the banking sector. Some are particularly suitable for expatriates, whether your tax residency is in France or abroad. Generally, the documents required are:

  • a proof of identity;

  • a proof of address;

  • a bank account statement from your bank in France.

You’ll also need to make a transfer or deposit (amounts vary among banks). Some online banks impose income conditions for opening a bank account.

Here are some examples of neobanks appreciated by expatriates:

  • Fortunéo, headquartered in Paris;

  • Revolut, headquartered in London. This bank is well established in the European Union and outside the EU (United States, Japan, Brazil, Australia, etc.).

Note that it might be challenging to open an account with a neobank after leaving France. Additionally, for some online banks, being a French tax resident is mandatory to open a bank account.

If you’re already a client of an online bank, we recommend contacting them to know all the conditions related to your expatriation.

Opening a Bank Account with a Traditional Bank

Opening a bank account with a traditional bank from France might be more complicated depending on the country. Payment transfer networks can differ. Some countries, like the United States, don’t use the IBAN system. In most cases, you’ll need to prove your residency in the destination country and physically visit to finalize the opening and get means of payment (debit card).

Within the European Union

French expatriates moving to another EU country won’t face difficulties opening a traditional bank account.

  • Several French banks offer multi-currency accounts. You can continue using your French bank by activating an “”Expat”” option, as with BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, or HSBC.

  • You can also seek advice from your bank to open an account with a partner bank.

The required documents are the same as for an online bank. However, additional proofs may be required by certain institutions.

Outside the European Union

Your French bank might have partners outside the EU. We recommend asking them.

However, in most countries, opening a bank account remotely isn’t possible. You’ll need to visit in person and provide a number of documents. Different banks ask for different documents; for instance, some may require a copy of the employment contract and a copy of the work permit (visa, license, etc.) in the host country.

Tips for Opening an Account Abroad

An expatriation involves various tasks to be carried out and anticipated. Opening a bank account shouldn’t be overlooked. Here’s our to-do list to consider before leaving France to settle abroad, regardless of your host country.

  1. Contact your bank to know their offerings regarding expatriation or those of their partners.

  2. Study the conditions for opening a bank account in banks that have caught your attention.

  3. Compare costs between online banks and traditional banks (management fees, transfer costs, minimum deposit, etc.).

  4. Declare your bank account opened abroad to the French tax administration if you wish to maintain your tax residency in France. Any omission can be considered tax fraud, subject to a fine of up to €10,000 per account.

Consult our country guide

Request Assistance for Opening a Bank Account Abroad

Grospiron Mobility Solutions can assist you in choosing your bank for your expatriation. Our network of consultants is deployed worldwide, allowing us to help you open a bank account in a bank located in your host country.

We can also advise you on:

  • the usefulness of keeping a bank account in France;

  • the organizations to contact before leaving France;

  • all administrative procedures to be carried out before settling in your host country.

Whatever your professional situation (employee, self-employed, or recruited by a foreign company), we can offer you customized support as part of our installation assistance.