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I am traveling in France for an extended period, just on holiday and probably staying to live after. Do I need a job to open a bank account here? I have UK and New Zealand passports and I have come here after living in NZ. I tried to open an account with Rhône-Alpes but they said I needed to be a student or have a job.

I have an address I can use so that is not a problem.

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    Yes and no, some banks do make it a requirement but it's also perfectly possible to open a bank account without a job. It's really up to the account manager at a particular branch, so if you know someone they have a relationship with or someone in your family is a good client, they are perfectly allowed to bend the “rules”. But if you just show up at a random bank, then chances are they will refuse. I don't know if you would have more luck with online banks or if some are perhaps more lenient than others. Hopefully someone else will be able to answer that. – Gala Sep 25 '16 at 10:36
  • One “solution” is just to phone them one by one. I had to do that when I needed to open an account in Switzerland (I was not a resident and had no employment in Switzerland – I needed it to get money as a freelancer – so that most banks weren't interested but I found one in the end). – Gala Sep 25 '16 at 10:38
  • @Gagravarr that right is enjoyed by residents of France, which probably explains the requirement to be a student or have a job. – phoog Sep 26 '16 at 1:58
  • @phoog EU nationals are allowed to move to other countries whilst looking for a job, as well as for economically inactive people with more limits, so with a UK passport they shouldn't require a job to be resident – Gagravarr Sep 26 '16 at 10:05
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I was in the same situation once upon a time. French banks can initially refuse your business, but if you cannot find a bank then you can go to the Banque de France and ask them to assign you a bank. (as Gagravarr suggested) They will pick one for you and that bank would then have to give you an account, free of charge, with no-charge basic services. (bank card, so you can withdraw money from their bank machines and a chequebook). Expect the assigned bank to look down their nose at you. Prepare a few polite but pointed remarks about your rights if they give you a hassle. They have three days to open the account for you.

The law in question is articles D312-5 and D312-6 of the Code Monétaire et Financier. The only requirement is that you are a resident.

When you go to the Banque de France you'll need:

  • Proof of residency (carte de séjour/nationalité)
  • Proof you live somewhere, the famous "justicatif de domicile", which is usually a telephone or electricity bill no more than three months old. Other documents are acceptable, you could call the BdF and ask before going there.
  • An "attestation de refus", a document from a bank that says they won't give you an account. The BdF wants proof that you at least tried.
  • to fill out their request form, which is quite straightforward.

Go see www.banque-france.fr and look up "droit au compte," probably under the "particuliers" somewhere, to get more details and a copy of their request form.

Having said that I just went to La Poste (now le Banque Postale), which once upon a time was the government banque for people. They gave me an real account, and with a smile and no hassle. And I was "fresh off the boat," so to speak. So I didn't have to go through the BdF.

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No, you do not need a job to open a bank account with a French bank.

As an example, the only requirements to open an account with a popular online bank are:

  • aged 18 or older
  • resident of France
  • minimum initial deposit of 300 euros

The requirements for asking a international Visa card are a bit more strict but do not require any income (either a 2500 euros positive balance on your account at the time of asking or an income of 1000 euros per month).

Reference: Boursorama Banque

  • Do you have a source or reference for this? – Gagravarr Sep 26 '16 at 13:31
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    Preferably you should name the bank and link to the page on their website which shows these requirements. – Michael Hampton Sep 27 '16 at 5:52
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I'm late to respond here but I want to say thanks for the answers. You were 100% correct in that a job is not needed. I opened an account with La Banque Postale including a credit card and they only required an Attestation D'Hebergement.

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