The procedure for opening an individual bank account in France for non-residents is similar to that of opening of a corporate bank account and FATCA regulations are also applicable.
Maupard are able to open a non-resident bank account in the following situations:
- • An entrepreneur based outside of France looking to start business in France from scratch, without yet any clients, thus aiming to keep costs low. This option implies setting up either a branch or a liaison office.
- • An entrepreneur based outside of France who has just signed a contract with a first French client whose cash manager would prefer to pay into a French bank account, thus avoiding the expensive commission fees which apply to international cash transfers.
- • Ironically, some French start-ups developing their project in the UK, Asia or the US end up with French clients and therefore still need the benefit of a French bank account to receive payments.
However, if the opening of this account does make sense from a business point of view, from a banking point of view, the risk exposure is higher because the account holder is most likely to operate outside of the French jurisdiction. As a result, money laundering regulations are more stringent than for an incorporated entity.
On top of this, the French penchant for bureaucracy and paperwork creates a few extra hoops to jump through.
From our experience, in this case, the bank will tend to ask for extensive details of the company based outside France. The supporting documents to be collected are the following :
- History, background, activity, assets, financial forecasts of the company
- Description of the proposed activity and details of any future projects in France
- Press releases if any, in French.
- The registration certificate of the French branch or liaison office
- The bylaws of the parent company (if any), in the original language and in French.
- The most recent annual report of the parent company (if any) including financial statements and audit report.
- Identification of the directors and any key managers: copies of diplomas and certificates, biographies, CVs, passports, press release, LinkedIn profile, Google research results, etc.
- List of shareholders of the parent company.
- A list of all people who have a beneficial interest in the company to be created, and in the parent company.
Opening this bank account can take 3 to 5 weeks and the process can be long-winded. From our experience, the requirements can vary from bank to bank depending on the bank’s commercial strategy.
Some banks are sensitive to “business centres” hosting many unsavory entities as they have caused them problems in the past. Therefore, their policy is now to immediately turn down all applications from such centres.
Luckily, having been successfully operating in France for more than 30 years, we have been endorsed by the government and are considered a reliable and trustworthy company. We are also based just off the Champs-Élysées, in the heart of Paris’ reputable 8th arrondissement. For both of these reasons, being domiciled at our office and choosing us to prepare and present your application to the bank will greatly improve the likelihood of the bank approving your application. If you would like to domicile your branch at our offices, take a look at our service : Opening a business establishment in France.