Opening a UK bank account

To open a bank account you will need to request a letter to confirm you are a student from AskBU. This can be issued once you have completed your enrolment. Opening a UK bank account is by far the safest and most effective way of managing your money as an international student. However, the process can often be quite long and complicated so it is important that you are patient and prepared.


Keep the following points in mind prior to setting up a bank account:

  • You may be able to set up your UK account from your home country. Ask you current bank if they can help.
  • If you are on a programme of 6 months or less, it may not be possible to open a bank account in the UK.
  • The bank will want to verify your identity which means you will need to attend in person to apply.
  • You may need to visit the bank more than once to set up your account, and once you have set up the account, you may have to wait around 10 days for your bank card to arrive.


Be prepared

Opening a UK bank account can be a lengthy process. With this in mind, it is important that you bring sufficient funds to cover initial expenses for your first month in the UK. For safety reasons, it is not a good idea to bring large sums of cash, and there may be restrictions on the amount of cash you can bring with you to the UK. You may want to consider alternative options such as using Travellers Cheques or pre-paid cash cards and paying tuition fees online.


Which are the main banks in the UK?

Some of the main banks in the UK are: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, Santander. These banks normally open accounts for international students if the appropriate documentation is provided and meets their requirements. Opening procedures and requirements can vary depending on the branch you visit.


SUBU does not endorse any particular bank  and the information provided is correct to the best of our knowledge but may be subject to change.


Double Taxation agreements

Some double-taxation agreements mean you don’t pay UK tax on your income if you work while you’re a student.You can find more information here.