/ Expat Life

Opening a bank account as an expat living in the UK 💸

A bank account is essential to starting your life in the UK. Things like renting a flat or getting a phone usually need you to prove you have a bank account. And without one, we know it can be very difficult to settle in and be at home in the UK.

Opening a bank account in the UK without an address

Opening a bank account as a foreigner used to be an absolute pain. Luckily there are now new, cool tech-first banks (they call themselves Neo banks), which let you open a bank account in minutes and without a UK address. This is an expats dream, and means you can get up and running extremely quickly.

There are two that you should definitely try out. Monzo And Monese.

Both are very similar as they let you open an account in as little as 120 seconds, without the credit checks or residency restrictions imposed by the traditional banks . A major differenciator is that Monzo does it for free, while Monese charge £4.99 a month.

The pros of both of these are:

  • They're super easy to open
  • They both have real-time notifications
  • They have really transparent pricing.

Opening a bank account in the UK with an address

If you want to open a traditional bank account after you have your own 'verified' address then you have a lot of options. You can still use the newer 'neo banks', but you can also use the large UK banks. And we would recommend:

Barclays - The second largest UK bank who have won the ‘best mobile app’ for a few years in a row.

First Direct - An online only bank that often tops customer satisfaction surveys. First direct is a good option as they have an option for EU citizens, you can find the number to call on this page.

Santander - An all round good bank. If you’re from Spain you will definitely know it!

To open these bank accounts you will need one proof of ID and one proof of address.

What you can use to prove your ID:

  • Full and valid UK or foreign passport.
  • Photocard national identity card, that has the Machine Readable Zone.
  • A UK or foreign driving licence
  • Benefit entitlement letter
  • Blue disabled driver’s pass
  • Student ID card (youth/student accounts only – NUS & Student Union cards not accepted).

What you can use to prove your address:

  • UK paper driving licence (if not already used to verify your identity).
  • UK or foreign bank/credit card statement
  • UK mortgage statement
  • Council Tax bill, payment book or exemption certificate.
  • Council rent book/card
  • Benefit letter/adjustment letter
  • Letter/bill from utility company
  • TV Licence letter or Direct Debit schedule
  • UCAS Letter (student/graduate accounts only – less than 12 months old, showing offer of a place on a course in the current or next academic year).

We hope that you manage to open an account and if you have any problems if you send us an email we will do our best to help!