Banks and bank accounts

Bank accounts
There are a number of banks offering bank accounts that are designed for people who are working away from home. They can include features such as being able to deposit money in the UK and withdraw from the account from another country. There are some examples of accounts here. Displaying information about any bank or account does not mean that we endorse the account. This is for information only.

LLoyds TSB, have two accounts 'Classic' and 'Select'. For further details contact the European Centre, St Mary's Gate, Manchester. This is the road between Cross Street and Deansgate in the city centre. They are open weekdays 9.30am (10am on Wednesday) until 5pm, and Saturday 9.30-12.30. The staff speak a range of languages including Polish.

HSBC, have a 'Passport' account for people who have recently arrived in the UK. Full details are available via

Opening a bank account
One of the biggest problems migrants have in accessing bank accounts is proving their identity. A financial institution usually needs to verify three things in order to open a bank account for an individual:
  • Your name
  • Your date of birth
  • Your residentail address in the UK
You can use the following kinds of documents to provide proof of these things:
  • Passport
  • National ID card
  • Driving License
  • Utility bill (e.g gas, electric, phone, TV license)
  • Tenancy agreement with a landlord

Some banks may also ask for proof of employment to open certain kinds of bank accounts. A letter from your employment should be sufficient.

If you cannot provide proof of all three things listed above, particularly a residential address in the UK, you may still be able to open a bank account.

If you or a family member are a citizen of a European Union country and you are having difficulty opening a bank account for any reason, including because you do not have a proof of residential address or because the bank will not accept the documents you have, the AIRE centre (Advice on Individual Rights in Europe), a charity, can provide you with free advice to help you to access financial services. You can email them at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call them between 2 and 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 020 7831 3850. They have multilingual staff to help you.

Bank Accounts
Many high street banks currently offer bank accounts for individuals who are working away from home, with special services that, for example, allow you to deposit money in the UK and withdraw it elsewhere.

However, you may be able to get a more basic account for free.

All major banks offer what is known as a basic bank account which costs nothing and allows you to carry out certain essential functions, like withdrawing cash, receiving your salary directly, and making payments via direct debit.

Ultimately you must decide what bank account is appropriate for you - whether it is a free basic bank account or an account that provides more services while requiring you to pay a fee.

Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (AIRE) Centre

3rd floor, 17 Red Lion Square


020 7831 4276
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