It is a very normal format in any country that when you want to open a bank account with a bank or any banking society they ask for a proof of identity and your address. Still for those who are planning to move or go back to the UK, the process could be very tormenting. Then the only option that can help you in case you can’t meet the verification requirement is you can think of acquiring a basic bank account, in which you can submit alteration options of identification.
If you have no credit history or proof of address in the UK then it becomes a huge obstacle to pass through before you can finally get a new current account. This current account is very necessary as it helps your employers pay your salary and wages in it, leading to offering you a solution that can help you with your daily needs for a living.
However, it is understood from many sources that most of the banks and financial institutes imagine you to possess a UK address ahead of opening a bank account, there are some expert products that are specifically designed for foreign nationals. This can be an alternative for you if you are unable to produce standard account opening norms.
Those who have been living in the UK throughout their lives and have proper proof of residence may also face hurdles in certain cases. If you have been putting your property on rent with a partner and all the bills are in their name or you have rented a room in a house that shared and never paid any bills or if your name is missing on the electoral role for some or the other reason then you might have to face problem in opening an account with a bank.
Keep yourself aware of below mentioned points before applying for a bank account:
- Passports, Birth Certificate or National Insurance cards, which do not display your address are not categorised as proper proof of address. They are just for your identity.
- Passports, travel documents and national identity cards must be updated and should not be expired.
- Letter that you carry should have current date. In case of students, date of course mentioned in the letter of acceptance should logically match with the account application date to the bank.
- All documents must be original.
Documents You Can Use as Valid Proof of Address to Open a Bank Account
- Banking Documents
- less than three months old bank statement from a UK bank (statements downloaded from internet not acceptable)
- less than three months old credit card statement generated in the UK (statements downloaded from internet not acceptable)
- Housing Documents
- Current rent agreement or council rent book
- a mortgage statement of UK. Should be less than three months old (statements downloaded from internet not acceptable)
- Insurance Certificates
- A home insurance or a vehicle insurance certificate issued within the last 12 months
- Local authority
- a council tax bill issued in the current tax year
- UK photo id card, driving license with current address
- Pension book
- A health insurance card or NHS card
- a mail order statement. Should be less than three months old
- an account statement of hire purchase
- Utility bills
- a gas, water, electric, television or fixed line phone bill (not mobile cell phones). Should be less than three months old
If you are unable to meet the above verification requirement and facing hurdles in your attempts to open a bank account, you can try the below mentioned alternatives which can help you in opening a basic bank account with certain banks:
- For those who are claiming benefits – You need to have an entitlement letter issued by DWP, HMRC. A letter issued by your local authority or DWP stating your identification.
- For those in care homes: People who are living in sheltered accommodation or are refuge need to carry letter from care home manager or warden of the sheltered accommodation or refuge.
- For those who are Homeless – they should take a letter from the warden of a homeless shelter. Can also get letter from an employer if on job, should be enough as a proof.
- For those in probation – You will require a letter from the probation officer, or your hostel manager.
- Foreign nationals on temporary work visit in the UK – since they do not have bank and credit history they can only get basic bank account with the help of National passport, or identity card (this is only for nationals of EEA and Switzerland).
- Foreign national students – they should hold passport or EEA national identity card. Also should possess letter of agreement or letter of introduction from the institution in which they are enrolled or going to enrol.
- Prisoners – Only a letter from the governor of the prison can be helpful for prisoners. If released then a letter from a police or hotels manager or probation officer should be enough.
What All Options You Can Try to Get Address Proof:
There are several banks that are not too strict with the standard verification as proof of address. You can call them directly and ask them what all documents required before you apply.
- You can also provide the employment contract or your payslip that your current employer has provided you with. HMRC P2 ‘PAYE Coding Notice’ that alerts you what your tax code is can be your other options for proof of address along with your current passport or driving license
- You can apply for provisional driving license if you do not drive (do find out if you qualify) as a proof of address. You may be charged for this and it takes around 2 weeks for DVLA to send this to your address.
- The person you are living with can also help you so talk to him about it. He can either fake on his utility bills or can try out some other alternatives within his capacity.
- Another good option used by several is apply for prepaid card. The card is mostly used by students and those who have no credit history. When you receive the card use the letter that you receive as your proof of address.
- Moreover, some people use prepaid card as their alternative bank account as it does not have complex paperwork while applying for it and serves all the purpose from paying bills to shopping and even money transfer too. One can even get their wages and salaries directly transferred to these prepaid cards, without them being linked to any bank account. You can use it like a bank account till you get one real bank account. But, you should be aware that all prepaid cards do not come with these facilities and proper protection shield as bank account have under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.