Banking for International Students

Banking for International Students
When you arrive in the UK, one of the first things you will need to do is open a bank account. As you will struggle to open a bank account immediately on arriving, you should make sure that you bring enough British pounds or travelers cheques to last for the first two to three weeks. It is also useful to bring credit and debit cards because you do not want to be carrying large amounts of cash around or keeping a lot of money in your house or halls of residence.

To allow you to open a bank account in the UK you will probably need a bank letter from the university you are planning to attend,following enrolment on your course. These letters are provided to confirm your student status, and your home and term-time address which will then enable you to have a student account rather than just the traditional bank accounts with higher interest. Most banks will ask you to verify this information before they will even think about offering to open a bank account for you. In fact, not all of your local banks are likely to provide accounts for non-british students.

In addition to this bank letter, you are likely to be required to take your passport or other form of photo ID (if you have a UK driving licence, that will suffice) as well as proof of your student visa, which will come in the form of either a sticker within a passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). It would also be a good idea to take your visa letter, which will be provided to you by your university prior to arrival, if you have received this. Each individual bank will likely have different requirements, so you will be required to speak with them to determine what they need to ensure you have the information that they require in order to process your application for a bank account. The actual application and meeting itself can often take quite some time so make sure you have left plenty of time. The British law states that all financial services companies are required do everything in their power to ensure that the services they offer are not then used to commit crime. Due to these strict laws, banks must stop the main type of fraud that would be committed through their services by ensuring it is not possible to open bank accounts under fake bank accounts.

The vast majority of banks will not require you to deposit any money to open a standard bank account. You should browse the relevant banks websites and compare them to figure out which bank and account would fit you best and then visit that particular bank’s local branch to discuss your options. If you wish to bring money with you when you first move to the UK, a particularly safe method of monetary transport is to ask your current bank in your home country to provide you with a cheque in British pounds drawn on a London bank.

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