Americans in France For Members

Americans in France: Investment options, citizenship and basketball

Genevieve Mansfield
Genevieve Mansfield - [email protected] • 22 Feb, 2023 Updated Wed 22 Feb 2023 15:03 CEST
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US and French flags are seen near the beaches of Normandy (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP)

With practical tips ranging from property and taxes to travel and bureaucracy, welcome to the Americans in France roundup, that promises to bring you everything you need to know as an American who either lives in France, visits frequently or plans to move here some day.


Welcome to the first edition of The Local's new "Americans in France" - this is sent as a monthly newsletter to Local members, featuring all the news and practical information you need as an American resident, visitor or second-home owner in France. You can sign up to receive it direct to your mailbox on the link below.

The big news of the month impacting Americans in France is the government's decision to simplify the citizenship process. Before anyone gets too excited, the change is to the bureaucratic process rather than the requirements themselves.

The new system is meant to streamline the application process by creating a single, nationwide portal known as NATALI (no we don't know what it stands for) so you can submit your citizenship application online. 

You can find the full outline of the citizenship process for Americans here, and I recommend taking our popular quiz to see if you would pass the citizenship interview. 

American reader Megan Adele Lopez, who has recently had her citizenship interview,

15. Name at least three current ministers.
16. Who do you hang out with? Are they French?
17. How many departments are there?
18. What are the outre-mers? (French overseas territories)
19. Which countries border France?
20. What is the French motto?

— Meagan Adele Lopez (@meagan) February 19, 2023 " target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared with us the questions she was asked, including; Name at least three current ministers in the French government; Which countries border France and; What is France's famous motto?


She listed some 22 different questions in total and was naturally relieved to have studied for the interview.

Having American citizenship can significantly limit your investment options in France (it's all to do with our taxation system, which means we have to file a US federal tax return every year, regardless of where we live).

The Local has been looking into this and speaking with financial experts for the past few weeks, and we were repeatedly told that Americans should avoid a certain investment option that is popular in France: the Assurance Vie. 

This is a very common savings option for French people, and it's likely that your bank will offer it to you when you open an account - but Americans need to be aware of the problems it could potentially cause with the IRS when you file your US tax return. You can read more about Assurance Vie and why to avoid it here


Finally, if you are missing Basketball, and want to go to a game in France, you might consider checking out the Betclic Élite. This is France's top men's professional basketball league, and there are games all across the country. The sport has become a lot more popular in France in recent years, so the ambience is a lot of fun (and you'll certainly hear a lot of American accents among the players).

You might be able to grab a hotdog in the stands, but if you're craving some other American fast-food, there are far more options in France than might have first thought and that's even before Krispy Kreme opens its first outlet in France later this year. 

And we want to hear from you so we're asking Americans in France to share their tips for living in the country so if you have advice you can share it HERE - and if you have any questions about moving to France or life once you're here, feel free to email me at [email protected] and we will do our best to answer them.



Genevieve Mansfield 2023/02/22 15:03

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