How do I open an account in United Kingdom?


These days it is much easier for people to work abroad. When we do we usually need a bank account in the country we move to so that we can at least be paid, get cash and pay others. In most countries banks are required by law to know the identities of customers they open accounts for and because of this, they normally require new customers to provide documents to verify their identity (ID). In the UK there is no official ID card, so the bank will also need to see documents that can verify your address.


To open a UK bank account you will require the following documentation:

Your passport and a valid visa
EU citizens can use their National Identity Card instead of a passport
Your acceptance letter from your UK University
This must be an unconditional offer of a place on your course

Proof of your address in the UK and probably in your home country as well.
Proof of your UK address will probably be your accommodation contract, but check with the bank beforehand

The process of opening a bank account in the UK should take around two weeks if you have all the required documents available. Most UK universities will require you to have a bank account before registering for your course.


If you are opening the account in person banks will usually accept as proof of your identity:
• Passport
Or if you are from a country in the European Union or European Economic Area:
• National identity card
• Residence permit issued by the Home Office to EU nationals
• National driving licence

Proving your address in the UK may be more difficult but the following documents may be acceptable:
• Tenancy agreement
• A letter from your employer in the UK confirming your UK address(and if you already have pay slips from that employer it may help to show those too)
• The bank may also want to see proof of your previous or permanent address in the country that you come from. Your national identity card or driving licence may be acceptable for this purpose. The bank may ask for your written permission to get a reference about you from a bank or financial institution if you have an account in the country that you come from.


What can I use as a valid proof of address to open a bank account?

  • Utility bills
    • Gas, Water, Electric, Cable TV or Landline Phone Bill (not mobile) that's less than three months old
  • Local authority
    • Council Tax bill issued within the current financial year
  • Banking
    • UK Bank Statement that's less than three months old (internet statements aren't acceptable)
    • UK Credit Card Statement that's less than three months old (internet statements aren't acceptable)
  • Housing
    • Tenancy Agreement or Council Rent book (must be current)
    • UK Mortgage Statement that's less than three months old (internet statements aren't acceptable)
  • Shopping
    • Catalogue or Mail Order Statement that's less than three months old
    • Hire purchase statement of account
  • Personal
    • Pension Book
    • UK Photocard Driving License with current address and full paper counterpart
    • Medical card / NHS card
  • Insurance
    • Motor insurance or home insurance certificate issued within the last 12 months
If you can't meet the standard verification requirement, or have experienced difficulties trying to open a current account in the past, try one of the following, which will generally be appropriate for opening a basic bank account:
  • People claiming benefits - Entitlement letter issued by DWP, HMRC or local authority, or identity confirmation letter issued by DWP or local authority.
  • People in care homes/sheltered accommodation/refuge - Letter from care home manager/warden of sheltered accommodation or refuge.
  • Homeless persons - who cannot provide standard identification documentation are likely to be in a particular socially excluded category. A letter from the warden of a homeless shelter or from an employer if the customer is in work, should be sufficient evidence.
  • People on probation - Letter from the customer's probation officer, or a hostel manager, would normally be sufficient.
  • Prisoners - Letter from the governor of the prison, or, if the applicant has been released, from a police or probation officer or hostel manager would normally be sufficient.
  • International students - Passport or EEA National Identity Card and letter of acceptance or letter of introduction from the institution at which they are to study at.
  • Foreign nationals working temporarily in the UK- whose lack of banking or credit history excludes them being offered anything more than a basic bank account - national passport, or national identity card (nationals of EEA and Switzerland).



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