UK Bank Account

How do I open a UK bank account?

By Keith Pilkington

​After securing your next health or social care job in the UK, as an international worker you will need to think about setting up a bank account. In the past, opening a new account was a complex, time-consuming process, but luckily, it has become much easier.

Opening a bank account before you arrive in the UK

This is possible and could be something your home account might set up for you (if it has a correspondent banking relationship with a British bank). Lots of UK banks also have ‘international’ accounts, designed specifically for non-residents. International accounts can be applied for online; Barclays, NatWest and HSBC all offer them. However, opening a bank account abroad might not be the right option for you as you may need to make a big initial deposit, and some charge a monthly fee too.

Required documents

To open a bank account in the UK you will need two documents; one to prove your identity and another to prove your address (this is required both online and in-branch). For your identity, you could bring in a passport, driving license or identity card if you’re an EU national. To prove your address, the bank should accept several documents, including:

  • A tenancy agreement or mortgage statement

  • A recent electricity or gas bill

  • A recent bank or credit card statement

If you’re new to the UK and don’t have these documents yet, it might be worth waiting until you have proof of your address and then going in-branch to ensure a smooth process. In the meantime, you could open an account with online banks Monzo or Monese as they don’t require proof of residency. They will send you a bank card to the address provided within a couple of days and your account can be managed from your smartphone.

If collating a list of documents you will need in order to set up in the UK, it is also worth considering the documents required to work here and those needed to rent a property.

Which bank is best?

There is of course no straightforward answer to this, as the UK banking industry is very competitive. However, this could work in your favour as they all have impressive special offers to attract you to choosing them. The five big UK banks are Barclays, Lloyds Bank, HSBC, Nationwide and NatWest – start by exploring their offering to see if it meets your needs.

For more information on moving to the UK, read our collection of blogs.