Using a US telephone number in Europe

Hello Everyone, I was wondering if any expats here have experience using apps like Google voice allowing them to keep a US telephone number while living in Europe or any other non-US location? What is your experience? Any recommendations?
Thank you,

Personally I’m very happy with Google Voice. I’ve been using it for almost a decade now. No problem keeping it active outside the US, and it’s great/cheap for international calls.

I’d still recommend getting a local sim card & number wherever you’re actually living, of course, rather than using your GV number for your local needs.

Just make sure to NEVER EVER give banks outside of the US your US phone number, unless you have already declared that you are a US person and filled out a W9.

A US phone number is one of the main hints in “FATCA indicia”, and WILL get you noticed quickly if you have declared that you are not a US person and filled out a W8-BEN. Save yourself the headaches and explanations.


Thanks, the idea is getting a Google voice account and using a local prepaid sim where I plan to live. This way I can use both a US and local number.

Thank you Thomas, my idea is to have a Google voice account with my current US number for business reasons. I would make calls using the data from the prepaid service I purchase in the country I am living in. If I am not mistaken, this will allow me to have both a US and local number. Am I correct?

Yes that’s correct. You can use Google Voice through the Google Voice app (iOS/Android/web) and the local number through the default phone and messaging app.

I use snapchat, which is free. I convert my t-mobile account to prepaid and only use it when calling t he US.

You can use voip phones anywhere with any national number. The issue is that if you have accounts in financial institutions in the US, you need a US phone number that can also receive verification codes and banks do not send verification codes to voip phones (I assume they have means to know). This can be resolved if you have a US cell phone subscription, but that is expensive to keep for an occasional use. BTW, banks do not accept google voice, or other free internet phone accounts.

Thank you Dr. Vittorio,
Can you confirm which US banks you have worked with in the US that do not send verification codes over service like Google Voice?
I appreciate your insight.

I’ve used local SIM cards and WhatsApp. Makes it easy to speak with friends all over the world, no matter where I am.

This whole FATCA reporting is a bit overwhelming…
I did some digging, and bills were introduced back in 2017 to have it repealed but didn’t seem to make it out of committee.
I’ve sent emails to the sponsors in the House and Senate and I’ll let you know if I get anything back from them…

I think all my US banks works with my Google Voice number for 2FA, except one—which I believe might be Chase, but in that case I’ll just use their email option instead. It has never proved to be an issue for me.

Banks I’ve used with GV successfully:

  • Charles Schwab
  • Emory Alliance
  • Patelco
  • BofA
  • Simple
  • Capital One (although I had some issues with their peer to peer payment app using it)
  • Mercury
  • Barclaycard
1 Like