How Can Non-Residents Open A UK Bank Account?


The desire to open an account in the United Kingdom is real for many non-residents. Therefore, it is always good to know the legal provisions, regulations, and requirements you may encounter before making any financial decision.

In this situation, you need to consult with a professional on matters concerning the UK banking system. The UK has strict banking laws that may not give you an easy time as a non-resident to open an account. Furthermore, the procedures for opening an account usually vary from bank to bank.

These rules aim to hinder money laundering as written in the Anti-money Laundering (AML) guidelines. However, if you have a business, you will still need an account to operate your transactions. Plus, you will have difficulty gaining local clients’ and customers’ trust without a valid UK banking account.

Non-residents can open bank accounts in the UK, but they must go through some scrutiny before doing so. For most high street banks in the UK, non-residents must provide a lot of background information regarding themselves and the account. If suspicions arise, any transactions and consultations are suspended.

Requirements to Open UK Bank Account

Upon arriving in the UK, you will need a bank account to help you with all the transactions you must make. When looking for such an account, you have various banking systems to choose from. Some of these banking systems include old and strict banks like HSBC and Barclays. On the other hand, you will have online banking systems that are more relaxed. All of them will ask for some documentation.

The banks with physical addresses like Halifax, Bank of Scotland, Barclays, and HSBC will demand proof of address and identity. Similarly, the online banking system will ensure that you can provide a passport, driving license, or an EU identity card. However, you should know that each bank will need a different or varying set of documentations.

Some banks require that you provide documents like utility bills that are not more than three months old. Also, they may require that you provide them with a valid tenancy agreement. Some may even go as far as asking for a current county council tax bill. Lastly, they may ask you to show them your online banking statements not older than three months.

Best Banks for Foreigners

As a foreigner moving to the UK, you will need to open a bank account to accommodate your transactions. In recent years the old banking systems have seen the problem with their stringent rules. Therefore, they have made several steps to help accommodate incoming immigrants and not lose their business.

There are about seven banks in the UK that can currently accommodate foreigners. However, you must prove that you are there legally, have an address and proper identification.

You may like to consider looking into the Barclays’ New to the UK account. Another bank that may accommodate you is HSBS that allows you to open an account in your home country.

The Halifax Current Account is also viable and will help you get most services like withdrawals of up to £ 750 per day. Santander Bank Account that will give you 3 % of interest on your balance at any time.

Do You Need a UK Address to Open a Bank Account?

Having a physical UK address is mandatory for you to get services and an account with any physical bank in the UK. However, this deal changes when you decide to open an internet banking account. They will require you to have some documentation, though, but your address is not one of them. You will also have to provide them with county tax and utility bills. If you lack any of these, you will not be able to open an account.

How Are UK Bank Fees?

When you are about to open a banking account, you will need to have a comprehensive knowledge of the banking fees. You should visit various banks and consult profoundly and ensure that you understand the deal you are getting. Some of the accounts you can open include current accounts, e-money accounts, and fee-free basic accounts. The fees on these accounts differ from bank to bank.

In general, UK e-money accounts will demand up to £12.50 per month in fees. On the other hand, they will charge at least £12.50 to issue a debit card and £4.95 to replace it. However, the overdraft fee is practically £0.

On the current accounts, the general maintenance fee is £0 per month. In comparison, they issue their debit cards for free. However, their overdraft fee is based on the number of days and goes for £3.22.

Lastly, the fee-free basic accounts will give you the chance to deposit with them £0 per month for maintenance. The overdrafts are also £0, and the debit card’s issuance comes at the same price of £0. This is the best banking account for students.

Can Foreigners Open a Business Bank Account in the UK?

As a non-resident with a business in the UK, you will need to open a business account to help you with your transactions. Plus, this can help you facilitate your overseas trades as well. To most, opening a business account may appear to be a hustle, but it is relatively easy.

There is no legislation baring non-residents from opening a UK business account. It is the lengthy process of the anti-money laundering policy that scares most people. However, non-residents still must prove residence to the bank. So, it is usually wise to rent a small place in such cases.

Besides, the bank will demand non-residents to give them a utility bill as proof of residency.

Final Thoughts

The notion of opening a bank account in the UK may not be welcoming to most foreigners and non-residents. However, you need to be patient and follow the regulation to enjoy standard banking systems like other UK residents. If you are not that patient, you can explore other options like your country’s international banking system before moving to the UK.

Or, you can also use the internet banking system to facilitate your banking needs. However, it would help if you considered getting a business account with the local banks to boost your faith with your local customers.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there, I'm Gui! I was born in Brazil, and I got to travel the world playing tennis. In 2014 I moved to the US to study, and ended up staying here. I've been a student, got married, got a green card, bought a home, and started a business - all without being a citizen. I know how difficult it can be to find answers when you are living in a foreign place, and this is why I started Foreigner Living - to help you with any questions you may have!

Recent Posts