updated 6:36 PM CET, Mar 18, 2023

Assn of Americans Resident Overseas unveils ‘new student membership’

Columbia University undergraduates studying in Paris, in front of the Louvre Photo courtesy of Columbia Global Centers/Paris, 2015 Columbia University undergraduates studying in Paris, in front of the Louvre

Emily Cooper, the aspiring marketing executive played by Lily Collins in the popular Emily in Paris Netflix series, would probably be too old to qualify for it, but other young Americans living in the French capital are being offered a new student membership rate of just €10 a year (US$10.55, £8.82) by the Paris-based Association of Americans Resident Overseas.

And the offer isn’t just aimed at young Americans living and working – or studying – in Paris, according to AARO president Doris Speer, (who says she first came to Paris herself to study in her twenties), but to all American expats under the age of 26, around the world.

According to Speer, the reduced annual membership fee is being introduced to help such younger Americans become aware of, and get to grips earlier with, the myriad issues that all American expats face when they live outside of the U.S. for more than a year, and often begin to work abroad.

Once the student turns 26, they will be expected to pay the “Young Professional” rate of €35 until they reach age 36, after which the fee is €65 for individuals, and €85 for joint or family memberships.

Lifetime membership options are also available. (More information about AARO membership may be found on the AARO website by clicking here.)

In a recent social media posting, AARO explained that even young Americans “who were born in and live in another country” but who are no longer students are being welcomed to join the organization at the student rate, because such individuals are “affected by the same issues faced by millions of overseas Americans.”

These, AARO adds, “include tax issues, overseas voting issues, and banking issues, to name just a few.”

Speer adds that although the membership year ends Sept 30 – on which date members must renew, or give up their memberships – those who sign up now will be able to participate in a number of events that AARO has planned over the next few months at a reduced price, which is the norm for new AARO members.

And if a person joins after having attended one of AARO's events (for which they paid a fee), that fee can count towards the membership fee, she says.

For example, if a non member attended one of the organization's consular events, the €15 fee would be applied to reduce the €35 young professional membership fee to €20. (This would also apply to those interested in a standard individual membership fee, reducing the €65 rate to €50 – while Emilys in Paris (as well as Eddies, Dorothys and others) under the age of 26 would end up paying nothing, after paying that single event fee.

Among the AARO events on offer this year will be the organization's annual cocktail party, in March, in Paris, which is open to "anyone who has joined AARO during the past year and is able to attend."

Also scheduled over the next few months will be a consular evening, three tax seminars and a financial reporting (FBAR) seminar, according to AARO officials.

Other benefits of AARO membership include twice-weekly emailed news bulletins; access to video seminars and presentations on the AARO website; the opportunity to serve on the AARO Board or its committees; the opportunity to maintain ties and communicate with other U.S. expats; the opportunity to sign up to an AARO-affiliated private health insurance program; and the ability to ask AARO’s resident experts questions about U.S. expat issues, when needed.

Founded 50 years ago

AARO was founded in 1973 by Phyllis Michaux and a group of other Americans who were concerned (even then) about the way they thought that the U.S. government was treating its citizens abroad.

Today it's an international, non-profit, non-partisan, volunteer-run association with members in more than 36 countries. It researches issues that it believes are significantly affecting the lives of overseas Americans and works to keep its members informed of those issues, while also lobbying on behalf of such expatriate causes as taxation, citizenship issues, Social Security and Medicare.

Once a year, the organization sends a group of its board members to Washington, to talk to officials there about expat issues. The next such visit is scheduled to take place in May, a spokesperson said.

In Paris, AARO's offices are housed in Reid Hall, an academic complex owned by Columbia University that's located in the Montparnasse area, a part of Paris in which many Americans of the "Lost Generation" made their homes, and their names, during the 1920s and 1930s.