View Full Version : Foreigner opening UK bank account

24th Dec 2014, 14:15
My half-sister (not close) has appealed to me for help. Her son is visiting the UK with a valid temporary work visa. He has a Canadian passport and has found a job in some fast food place. Sharing accomodation with 5 or 6 other youngsters. He is 22.

To get paid he needs a UK bank account, but he can't find a UK bank that will open one, as he needs proof of residency. Catch-22 as he can't pay rent without an account, but cant have an account without a utility bill, or similar, showing residency! :ugh:

Can anyone suggest a bank or another financial institution where he may find it easier to open an account? He doesnt need anything fancy, somewhere to deposit his salary and an ATM card to spend it.

Many thanks.

24th Dec 2014, 14:25
Has he tried Metrobank ? They're new-ish and seem to have all sorts of features that the established banks don't so as to encourage new customers. Worth a look.



24th Dec 2014, 14:25
He could get a letter from his employer confirming his employment status and regular income plus a letter from his landlord to say that he is living at the address. Not guaranteed but some banks are happy to accept these in place of utility bills, etc.

24th Dec 2014, 15:05
Tell him to drop that Canadian shtick...

Get him to say he is from Somalia and everything will fall into place.

24th Dec 2014, 15:11

If he's working in the UK, then he would have got an NI number so that his Employer can deduct appropriate taxes from his salary.

If that's the case, then surely he must have had written communications from HMRC by now in the post ?

See also a few tips and advice on the FCA (UK financial services regulator) website here (http://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/financial-services-products/banking/your-rights/opening-an-account), also that same page has a link to Foreign Office guidance document here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-account-refused-based-on-immigration-status) on current accounts being refused due to immigration status which might give a few extra pointers.

24th Dec 2014, 15:25
Bank accounts in the UK are becoming farcical.

They claim its to do with EU money laundering regulation's but as recently I have opened a bank account in another EU country without any supporting paperwork in 15 mins and it being active for transfers during that time I can't see how they can do it and the UK banks can't.

24th Dec 2014, 15:30
Might be easer to open a deposit account. I had one a number of years ago with one of the main banks it came with a atm card. No cheque book or debit cards are issued with this type of account. Wages can be paid in to the account number via employer.

24th Dec 2014, 15:41
Thanks guys, you are all being very helpful. (Some of you in a more JB-sort-of-way)

I've forwarded the links to the government sites, and metro bank. I hope that they will be sympathetic ...

24th Dec 2014, 15:47
He should be able to open a separate steling account with his Canadian bank which presumably will have at least one branch in the UK.

24th Dec 2014, 15:47
Are there cheque-cashing facilities in the UK. Yes, I know they charge large fees, but anything is better than nothing. If so what sort of documentation will he need to use one of these?

24th Dec 2014, 15:52
A trick is to get something sent to him via amazon which will then produce a invoice with his name and address on.

He could also get a mobile phone sim only contract which will do the same thing.

24th Dec 2014, 16:24
When the EKO family moved back here many years ago after decades away I managed to break the log-jam for my wife, who was never an adult resident here, by getting her to buy the family TV licence at the Post Office (he'll probably need one of these too - sorry). You just give the Post Office your address - you don't have to prove it - and the licence becomes a proof of address. It became very useful in getting the process started. He has my sympathies...

wings folded
24th Dec 2014, 16:34
I thought that the snag was that he could not get an address without a bank account to pay the rent, and can't get a bank account without an address.

I have been with my bank for 40 or more years, and at the same address for 30 years, and crash into the same bollocks when I need to open a different account with them.

I suggest he goes to work somewhere civilised.

24th Dec 2014, 16:37
Same problem when my girlfriend worked in the UK in the 90s. She had a visa and a job, but she couldn't open a bank account because... money laundering.

Eventually we opened a joint account, since I already had one there.

Metro man
24th Dec 2014, 22:42
I'm still waiting for the $5 000 000 that the Nigerian gentleman promised me for using my account. I've already sent him $3000 via Western Union for expenses so it can't be too far away.;)

25th Dec 2014, 09:00
When I moved to the UK, LLoyds were happy with a letter from my employer.

It was a big Uni so they probably knew the right wording, but it was rather straightforward and no fuss.

25th Dec 2014, 16:08
Yes, he had a letter from his employer - after a couple of weeks of waiting, and the bank refused to accept it because it wasn't the 'right' letterhead.

My view is that the banks are not interested in his custom, and are saying whatever they want to send him away.

26th Dec 2014, 07:00
Bank accounts in the UK are becoming farcical.

Not only the UK, I'm having the same problem opening a US bank account, married to a US citizen having had an account with the subject bank for yonks.

Won't bore you, Worlds Gone Mad.

It's all something to do with the USA FATCA act against terrorism and money laundering -so called, and actually they have a point, now that I'm over 80 I no longer have to be photographed and fingerprinted each time I enter the country, so I can now embark on a rampage of octagenarian terrorism un-checked ! ( I wish I had enough money to launder )

As usual they are harassing the wrong people, the real terrorists and money launderers just raise their middle finger to everybody and carry on untroubled by new legislation.

26th Dec 2014, 08:23
See here (http://moneyfacts.co.uk/guides/banking/can-you-open-an-account-without-proof-of-address/)for alternatives....

...........Alternatives you could try to get proof of address:

We can't comment on every single branch, but some banks are more lenient than others and sometimes do not ask for the standard verification as proof of address. Call in to the bank and see what you need to bring in with you before you apply.

If your employer has provided you with a contract of employment or payslip with your current address on it, you may be able to use that. Alternatively, your HMRC P2 'PAYE Coding Notice', which notifies you what your tax code is, is usually accepted as proof of address alongside a current driving licence or passport.

If you don't drive, apply for a provisional driving license at the Post Office (check that you can qualify first). There is a charge for this and the DVLA takes around two weeks to send this through to your address. You can then use this as a valid proof of your address.

Speak to the person you're living with. Ask if it would be possible for you to take on one of the bills in your name. This could take a month for the change to come through on a paper-based bill, which you can then use as proof of address.

Alternatively apply for a prepaid card (http://moneyfacts.co.uk/credit-cards/prepaid-credit-cards/). These cards are great for students and those who have little or no credit history. Once the card is sent to your home, use the letter that comes with it as proof of address..........

26th Dec 2014, 17:39
Thanks guys, I've forwarded him the suggestions and links.

26th Dec 2014, 23:37
Why a bank account? The b*****ds will only screw you? What's wrong with a good ol' Post Office account?

27th Dec 2014, 16:20
They are subject to the same regs and unless you have an electronic presence in the uk they will require the same stuff.

27th Dec 2014, 17:08
One of the suggestions I gave him was to try at the post office. Thinking, they may be less concerned about a 'business' case to open his account.

(Yes I know the banks are not allowed to reject a client, out of hand, but ...)

Mr Optimistic
27th Dec 2014, 20:13
Barclay's aren't too bad.

27th Dec 2014, 20:57
There are North Americans on UK-Yankee Forum - Index (http://talk.uk-yankee.com/index.php#2) who have experience in all areas of relocation and are willing to help.