How to open a bank account in the UK for International Doctors?

Bank account in the UK

If you’re planning to live or work in the UK, setting up a bank account is essential for managing your finances.

In the past, opening a bank account in the UK was very difficult if you were new to the country. Thankfully, these days, it’s become slightly easier.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  • Choose the Right Bank: Research different banks and their offerings to find one that suits your needs. Consider factors such as fees, account types, online banking services, and accessibility of branches.
  • Visit the Bank in Person: Schedule an appointment or visit the bank branch to open your account. Some banks also offer online account opening services.
  • Complete the Application Form: Fill out the application form provided by the bank. Ensure that all information is accurate and up to date.
  • Provide the Necessary Documentation: Submit the required documents, see below. Make sure to bring the original documents along with photocopies.
  • Proof of Address Verification: Banks may ask for additional proof of address verification, such as a tenancy agreement or a letter from your organisation.
  • Initial Deposit: Most banks may or may not require an initial deposit to open your account. Check the bank’s requirements for the minimum deposit amount.
  • Choose the Account Type: Select the type of account that best suits your needs. Options include current accounts, savings accounts, or premium accounts.
  • Set Up Online Banking: Register for online banking services to access your account conveniently from anywhere. This allows you to manage your finances, make payments, and track transactions online.
  • Activate Your Debit Card: Once your account is open, you’ll likely receive a debit card. Activate it as per the bank’s instructions to start using it for transactions.

What documents do I need to open a bank account in the UK?

To open a UK bank account, you’ll need two documents: one to prove your identity and one to prove your address. This applies both in-branch and online.

Proving your identity is simple. You just need your passport, driving licence or identity card (if you’re an EU national).

You’ll also have to prove your address by providing another document.

Every bank has its own list of documents that are acceptable as proof of address. Broadly speaking, these include:

  • a tenancy agreement or mortgage statement
  • a recent electricity or gas bill (less than 3 months old)
  • a recent (less than 3 months old) bank or credit card statement that’s not printed off the internet; or
  • a current council tax bill.

How to open a bank account in the UK without proof of address?

How to open a bank account in the UK for International Doctors

Of course, if you’re new to the UK, you probably don’t have any of the documents on this list.

Luckily, in recent years, banks have become a bit more flexible in terms of what documents they will accept as proof of address.

If you’re in the UK to study, for example, many banks will accept a letter from employer confirming your address and National Insurance number, as long as it’s less than three months old.

There is also another way.

Before you leave for the UK, go to your bank and ask them to change your correspondence address to your UK address. You may also be able to do this via internet banking. Once you’ve changed your address, ask your bank to send a bank statement to your new address by post, and you’ll have a document that proves your UK address.

Can I open a bank account before I arrive in the UK?

Yes, you can. Your home bank may be able to set up an account for you if it has a correspondent banking relationship with a British bank.

What is the easiest bank account to open in the UK?

It’s usually easier to open an account with one of the UK’s largest banks – Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC or NatWest. These banks have been in business for a long time and are very safe. They also have a lot of experience dealing with foreigners, so they’re a bit more understanding of your situation and flexible with their requirements.

Your nationality will also play an important role. It’s probably easier to open a bank account if you’re an EU national than when you’re from a country outside the EU.

The Big Four UK banks

There are more than ten retail banks in the UK, each with their strengths and weaknesses. However, the biggest four UK banks are Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and NatWest.

Bank account UK

Which are the best digital banks out there?

Starling Bank, Revolut, Wise, Monzo, Monese, Chase, and more…

What are the costs?

You can get a basic current account at no monthly cost from most high street banks. This should be more than enough for your everyday banking needs.

ATM fees

Withdrawing money from an ATM is free if you use one of your bank’s ATMs. Many banks also offer free cash withdrawals even if you’re not a customer.

However, some ATMs aren’t free; and can charge you between £1.50 and £3 per transaction.

Money Transfer

If you do want to manage your money across more than one country, there’s a cheaper way to do it than using your UK bank.

Open a Wise multi-currency account and you can send money worldwide.

Remember, each bank may have specific procedures and requirements, so it’s important to check with your chosen bank for any additional steps or documents needed.

Setting up a bank account in the UK is an essential step towards managing your finances effectively during your time in the country. With the right documentation and careful consideration of your banking needs, you’ll soon have a reliable financial hub to support your daily transactions and financial goals.

A Guide for New Doctors: Get started – Setting up things

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