For members


Americans in France: Visas for second-home owners and customs rules for wine and cheese

From the visa situation for second home owners to tax reminders (for both countries) and whether or not you can take some of that delicious French cheese back to the US with you, here's our latest newsletter for Americans who either lives in France, visit frequently or plan to move here some day.

Americans in France: Visas for second-home owners and customs rules for wine and cheese
An arrival board is shown at the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Roissy-en-France, a northern suburb of Paris (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

Welcome to The Local’s “Americans in France” monthly newsletter for 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 directly to your inbox before we publish it online via the link below.


We’ve received some questions from readers about whether France will eventually bring in a visa for second-home owners. This curiosity is likely due to the fact that recently French Senator Corinne Imbert, of the centre-right Les Républicains party, submitted an amendment to the new Immigration Law, which would bring in a new visa for second-home owners who live outside the EU. It would be a a five-year visa that would allow visits of up to six months at a time.

Unfortunately, this is far from being a done deal – we will have to wait until at least September for the first reading of the bill, and it is going to be a contentious one, so it is very hard to predict what the law will look like after debates and whether or not lawmakers will scrap this amendment. For now, the best course of action would be to follow the 90-day rule, or consider other visa options, like the short or long-stay visitor visa. Sadly – there are no loopholes.

Americans living in France should remember that the final date for filing US income taxes is June 15th. When you go to file your American taxes, there are two ways to avoid double taxation, via foreign income exclusion or the foreign tax credit. There are some pros and cons to both options, depending on your income level and whether or not you want to show taxable income in the United States.

As for your French taxes, if you live in départements 55-96 then you have a few more days (until June 8th). Everyone else should have already filed their tax declaration online. If you have not already, here is how to do so, and if you are wondering whether you are considered a tax resident of France, here is our guide

Onto the fun stuff. Whether you live in France and are planning a trip back to the States this summer, or vice versa, you can start planning which of your favourite wines and cheeses you’ll want to take back to the US with you. Provided you follow a few rules, this is entirely possible. Though, hopefully your preferred fromage is a hard cheese, rather than a soft or liquid one.

The Local has also put together a thorough listing of 27 French festivals and summer events worth checking out in the next few months, if you are looking for fun things to do while in l’Hexagone.

And finally – if you have any subjects you would like The Local to cover in this newsletter, or any questions, concerns, or tips related to Americans in France, don’t hesitate to fill out our survey HERE.

I’ll end on a piece of wisdom from a fellow American in France, Kevin K in Gournay-sur-Marne: “eat more Mexican food (or just spicy in general)”. I concur, and will slip in some advice of my own: I recently discovered that the international section at many Auchan Hypermarché (the giant ones) is a great place to find canned jalapeños and black beans. If you live in the Paris region, there are a few just on the edge of the city. Enjoy your next taco Tuesday.

Note: For those who received this newsletter on June 1st, you might have noticed I wrote “a few more weeks” for the June 8th French tax declaration deadline for depts 55-96. This should have read “a few more days”. Apologies for the mistake.

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Americans in Europe: US finally moves to cut $2,350 fee for renouncing citizenship

The US looks finally set to push ahead with its promise to cut the fee for renouncing American citizenship from $2,350 down to $450, writes Helen Burggraf.

Americans in Europe: US finally moves to cut $2,350 fee for renouncing citizenship

News that the US government will finally act on its pledge to cut the fee for renouncing citizenship – first promised last January – has been welcomed by American expat groups.

The latest move was made public in a notice dated October 2nd and posted on the government’s Federal Register.

The State Department says it is “proposing to amend” the fee from its current $2,350 to $450, in response to concerns that “members of the public have continued to raise” since the fee was increased to the current amount from $450 in 2014. 

The State department noted “the not insignificant anecdotal evidence regarding the difficulties many US nationals residing abroad are encountering” when trying to renounce citizenship.

It said that $450 is only “a fraction of the cost of providing” the consular services involved in processing a Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN). 

The State Department said that it’s accepting comments on the matter from members of the public until November 1st. 

The move has been particularly welcomed by group representing ‘Accidental Americans’ – predominantly citizens of other countries who were born in the US to foreign parents, who have since moved abroad and have had little connection to the US during their adult lives.

Fabien Lehagre, the Paris-based founder of Accidental Americans Association said the State Department’s notification represented “a massive relief for accidental Americans, as well as our fellow Americans living abroad.

“It’s still quite a price tag, but hey, it’s over 80 percent off,” he said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Rest assured, I do not intend to give up the fight to make the waiver procedure even more affordable,” Lehagre added.

“Renunciation is a right, protected by the U.S. Constitution.” 

Because Accidental Americans are US citizens through birth and due to the United States’ citizenship-based tax regime, they are deemed by the US to have tax reporting (and potentially tax-paying) obligations for as long as they live, even if they never set foot in the US.

Americans interested in renouncing their citizenships had been wondering for months whether the government would go ahead with its intention to lower the fee, which was first announced by the State Department on January 6th 2023.

READ ALSO: How Americans in Europe are struggling to renounce US citizenship

But the fact the new notification doesn’t give an exact date for when the fee will be cut might give rise to worries that it may still be months before the new fee is brought in.

However Toronto-based lawyer and US expatriation expert John Richardson and other campaigners for fairer tax treatment of American expatriates say they are reasonably certain that the reduction in the renunciation fee will now go ahead, but they weren’t able to say when it is likely to happen. 

“It’s just a matter of time,” Richardson said.

He added that he doubted that the lowering of the fee to $450 would have any effect on the numbers of people who are renouncing their US citizenships, which has been running as high as more than 6,000 annually.

The United States is unusual in that it imposes tax responsibilities based on both residence and citizenship – so even citizens who have lived abroad for many years and have no economic activity in the US have to file an annual tax declaration to the IRS.

There are also certain limitations on US citizens who live abroad such as the 2010 FATCA law that effectively made it hard for them to open European bank accounts and limitations on certain types of financial investments in Europe.

The number of Americans choosing to renounce citizenship was far lower before FATCA was introduced.

“For those Americans living abroad who are seeking to renounce, the advantages [of no longer being American] are worth far more than $2,350,” Richardson explained.

A spokesperson for the State DEpartment told The Local: “On October 2nd, 2023, the Department published a proposed rule proposing a reduction of the fee for Administrative Processing of a Request for a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States (CLN) from $2,350 to $450.  

“This proposed rule will be open for public comment until November 1, 2023.  After the close of the public comment period, the Department will issue a Final Rule that will take into account any substantive public comments.

“Once implemented, the fee change will not be retroactive, and no refunds or partial refunds will be issued as a result of this fee change.”   

Address for sending comments

Those Americans who are interested in submitting comments to the State Department on the subject of the proposed reduction in the cost of renouncing US citizenship may do so in one of a number of ways. These are detailed in the State Department’s Federal Register statement mentioned above, which may be accessed by clicking here.