Opening a bank account is not a legal requirement in the UK, but it can make your life there a lot easier.
But, how can you open a bank account in the UK for a non-resident, and what are the best banks to do that?
Let’s find out!
Whether you’re considered a UK resident or not mainly depends on how many days you’ve spent in the UK in a tax year (6 April- 5 April the following year).
You’re considered a non-UK resident if you:
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To open a bank account in the UK as a non-resident, you will need to have a UK address unless you’re already banking with an international bank that has UK coverage.
Most banks will ask you to fill out an application form and undergo a credit check (which you may be able to skip if you’re opening a basic account), for which you’ll need to provide certain documents.
They usually ask for the following documents to open a bank account for a non-UK resident:
The majority of banks also require customers to be at least 18 years old when opening a UK bank account as a foreigner, though there are exceptions. For example, Starling Bank offers accounts for people that are 16 or older.
Note: Most UK banks take 1-2 days to open your account.
Some banks, such as NatWest, offer international UK bank accounts for non-residents that can be opened overseas.
The process varies from one bank to another. Some banks allow you to apply for an account online, others require applicants to visit a bank branch (in the country where they’re residing).
Most require documents like proof of address, proof of income, and passport ID. If you’re living in a non-EU-EFTA country, you may be asked to provide visa information to open a UK bank account from abroad.
Note: The process of opening a non-UK resident bank account from abroad is longer than if you were opening a bank account in the UK. It can take anywhere between 10 and 15 days.
To make your transition as smooth as possible, you should check if:
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Here are some things to consider when looking to open a bank account for a non-UK resident:
There are some benefits to opening a bank account in the UK for non-residents:
A non-UK resident can open a bank account in the UK with or without proof of address or a credit check. If you’re still living abroad, you may look for international providers or banks that have UK coverage. This way, you could set yourself up with a UK bank account before settling in the UK.
Non-residents can open a bank account in the UK with the necessary documentation.
You can open a bank account in the UK but for a non-resident– even if you live abroad– either online or by visiting a local branch with a provider that has coverage in the UK.
My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.