Hello
Guest

Sponsored Links


Topic: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?  (Read 966 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

  • *
  • Posts: 11

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Nov 2019
Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« on: April 22, 2020, 04:39:24 PM »
Hi, I've taken a look at the stickied thread but it hasn't been too helpful as the link to the financial guidance is dead.

I arrived in the UK on March 17 after a harrowing visa process(as you well know) and a last-minute flight reschedule which I'm thankful to Virgin for accomodating as it was the last flight to Manchester from my airport! I thought well, I'm here now, should be smooth sailing right? I was so optimistic.

Our original plan was to stay with my husband's parents for about 4 weeks while we acquired a car, a rental, a life. However with the whole country being on lockdown, none of that has obviously come to fruition. So here I am with my BRP card, a US bank account, and nothing else. Obviously I am not on my in-laws' utility bill... I tried to get a national insurance document but that department is closed at the moment. No applications. I had called about it before they shut and they swore it would be mailed but I'm losing hope now.

So after a thoroughly humiliating trip to Halifax where they flatly rejected me and my husband got in an argument with the manager, I realized that it was going to be HARD to open an account. I have no means of getting my own utilities set up. HMRC is all but shut. I can't get any other financial institutions to open me an account because the hold times for the phone are insane and nobody is doing face to face. I doubt I meet their requirements anyway.

I called Barclays and they swore up and down I could download their app and open an account through that. No uploads required, except for proof of identification. Great! Go through that process, get to the end, nope, please make an appointment to go into one of our branches!

I opened a Transferwise Borderless account and that gave me some hope. I got their debit card so that I can at least spend some money without funneling it through my husband's account and card. However I noticed on my statements from them that they hadn't converted my address properly - they had left my US state in it so there was a line that just said "FL" in the middle of it. I thought well, if I want to use this statement to open an account at a brick and mortar institution, that'll have to get changed. So I submitted a ticket to them requesting the change go through and an hour later they hit me with the response I should have known to expect - send them proof of my residence or they would be refunding all the money I had put in that account. God damnit.

I am seriously losing hope here guys. I'm not a money launderer, I'm not a criminal, I have over a hundred thousand US dollars, WHY does nobody want to do business with me???


  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 25154

  • Liked: 3192
  • Joined: Jan 2007
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2020, 05:20:31 PM »
Honestly, in order to open a bank account, you are going to need proof of UK address. Same goes for registering with a GP.

I'd say your best bet is to ask your inlaws if they would be able to add your name to one of the utility bills, or maybe the council tax bill. Then once you have received a letter from them with your name on, you should be able to open a bank account.

Having said that, with the lockdown and everything going on, you may not be able to do any of that at the moment anyway, and I'm not sure I'd recommend trying right now. You might just have to wait until the restrictions are lifted to sort these things out.


  • *
  • Posts: 16979

  • Liked: 4227
  • Joined: Jun 2012
  • Location: Wokingham
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2020, 05:34:43 PM »
I think you’ll just have to wait for life to return.  It took me a month to get a bank account ten years ago.  When it was “easier” and no pandemic. Until things open back up and you can get your name on a piece of mail, you are likely stuck.

Your story did make me smile.  Ahhh, the good old days that I’ve blocked out of my brain.   ;)


  • *
  • Posts: 15753

  • Liked: 5315
  • Joined: Sep 2010
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2020, 06:18:21 PM »
I would start with the GP surgery. Call the one your in-laws use and with any luck at all they will let them vouch for you. I've found people to be extra specially helpful right now in view of the situation. You might just need to show your visa and marriage certificate also.
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.


  • *
  • Posts: 109

  • Liked: 31
  • Joined: Jul 2019
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2020, 10:24:37 PM »
I moved here February 11 and right away started helping take care of my sick uncle so didn’t have a chance to get to any banks until March 10 to try open an account.  Had decided I was going to use HSBC so went in and talked to them to see what I would need to bring in to open an account.  They were very helpful and said I should bring in my Cousins info ...and a letter from my cousin to vouch for me that I was staying with her....I brought my cousin in...lol....but really didn’t need any of that.....I had changed the address on my MasterCard Credit card to her address and they used my statement from the credit card as proof that that was my address.  My cousin came in the bank with me and after 10 seconds left to go stand in line at the counsel next door to get a copy of her counsel tax and by the time she got back I had to tell her it wasn’t needed because my statement was proof enough.  On a side note....my cousin doesn’t bank with them...she’s bank of Scotland..... 

My branch is still open for limited services.....it was funny....was there the other day because I needed them to transfer money for me ....told the girl behind the glass booth that I needed help to do that so she told me to go into the glass office and someone would be with me.  Was sitting in the office and the phone starts ringing....and ringing....finally a head pops in the office to tell me to pick up the phone.....that’s how they were conducting business .... ;D....

They’ve been great at helping me.....only thing I didn’t like was how long it took them to cash my US cheques....but any bank would have taken that long here.....it took a month for the money to come through so I missed out on the really great conversion rate when the pound was down to 1.15.....aaarrrggggg : :-[ [smiley=bigcry.gif] [smiley=bigcry.gif]

I do have a British passport so don’t know if that makes a difference but HSBC really worked for me and the staff at my branch are wonderful.....every time I go in everyone is very helpful....


  • *
  • Posts: 5848

  • Liked: 1138
  • Joined: Aug 2012
  • Location: End of the M4 and then a bit more.
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2020, 11:34:50 PM »
I do have a British passport so don’t know if that makes a difference but HSBC really worked for me and the staff at my branch are wonderful.....every time I go in everyone is very helpful....

Having a British passport makes all the difference.  You may not have lived here all your life, but you are a citizen, and so you will have an easier time than people coming in on a limited leave visa.
9/1/2013 - "fiancée" (marriage) visa issued
4/6/2013 - married (certificate issued same-day)
5/6/2013 - FLR(M)#1 in person -- approved!
8/1/2016 - FLR(M)#2 by post -- approved!
8/5/2018 - ILR in person -- approved!
22/11/2018 - Citizenship (online, with NDRS+JCAP) -- approved!
14/12/2018 - I became a British citizen.  :)


  • *
  • Posts: 4056

  • Liked: 826
  • Joined: Apr 2016
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2020, 08:16:01 AM »
Do you still have a US bank account? You can update your address with most of them and have them send statements to your new address and that will count as proof of address. You could also try registering with a GP (obviously by phone right now, but its a good idea to have one). You could also try HSBC's International Banking Centre, which have slightly different rules because they exist to support multinational customers.

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk



  • *
  • Posts: 1259

  • Liked: 62
  • Joined: Jun 2011
  • Location: Congleton, Cheshire
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2020, 10:05:54 AM »
Is there any reason you cannot (or do not want) to be added to your husband's account? That seems the obvious route, then when you get a statement with YOUR name as well as your husband's, that should suffice as proof of address.

Maybe I am missing something, but that, along with changing your address with your US bank, should be a starting point.
Married December 1992 (my 'old flame' whom I first met in the mid-70s)
1st move to UK - 1993 (Letter of Consent granted at British Embassy in Washington DC)
ILR - 1994 (1 year later - no fee way back then!)
Back to US in 2000
Returned to UK July 2011 (Spousal Visa/KOL endorsement)
ILR - September 2011
Application for naturalization submitted July 2014
Approval received 15-10-14; ceremony scheduled for 10 November!
Passport arrived 25 November 2014. Finally done!


  • *
  • Posts: 11

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Nov 2019
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2020, 10:17:12 AM »
Is there any reason you cannot (or do not want) to be added to your husband's account? That seems the obvious route, then when you get a statement with YOUR name as well as your husband's, that should suffice as proof of address.

Maybe I am missing something, but that, along with changing your address with your US bank, should be a starting point.

Unfortunately, Halifax at least was unwilling to even consider this without a utility bill as well.


  • *
  • Posts: 4056

  • Liked: 826
  • Joined: Apr 2016
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2020, 10:22:49 AM »
Unfortunately, Halifax at least was unwilling to even consider this without a utility bill as well.
HSBC UK wouldn't for me either, and my US HSBC account had been updated with my US address but the statements were taking ages to be delivered. They were so rude that I ended up going to Barclays once I had official mail.

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk


  • *
  • Posts: 11

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Nov 2019
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2020, 10:30:36 AM »
HSBC UK wouldn't for me either, and my US HSBC account had been updated with my US address but the statements were taking ages to be delivered. They were so rude that I ended up going to Barclays once I had official mail.

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

When making phone calls, Barclays was the only bank that seemed interested at all in helping. However, they did cancel my face to face appointment and told me that the app would 100% open an account for me with no hard requirements. They did turn out to be wrong... but maybe when the local branch is open for appointments again they'll be willing to work with me.

I have a solicitor's letter and a signed sheet from the council indicating I am an occupant of this address, hopefully they take one of those.  :-\\\\


  • *
  • Posts: 2498

  • Liked: 336
  • Joined: Nov 2012
  • Location: Eee, bah gum.
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2020, 11:38:47 AM »
So sorry to hear all this is happening to you. When our son, a US/UK citizen moved back in 2017 he lived with us for the first 3 months until he found his own place and he also was not on any utility bill. However HSBC (our UK bank) did accept a signed a letter from my wife and I stating that he was living with us, plus a copy of a utility bill proving that we were resident. When he got his appointment with DWP to be interviewed for his NI number they also accepted a signed letter from us plus utility bill in our name.

Would this approach, with your in-laws writing a letter and applying for an account at their bank perhaps work?
Dual USC/UKC living in the UK since May 2016


  • *
  • Posts: 715

  • Liked: 435
  • Joined: Jun 2017
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2020, 11:09:12 PM »
Hi, I've taken a look at the stickied thread but it hasn't been too helpful as the link to the financial guidance is dead.

I arrived in the UK on March 17 after a harrowing visa process(as you well know) and a last-minute flight reschedule which I'm thankful to Virgin for accomodating as it was the last flight to Manchester from my airport! I thought well, I'm here now, should be smooth sailing right? I was so optimistic.

Our original plan was to stay with my husband's parents for about 4 weeks while we acquired a car, a rental, a life. However with the whole country being on lockdown, none of that has obviously come to fruition. So here I am with my BRP card, a US bank account, and nothing else. Obviously I am not on my in-laws' utility bill... I tried to get a national insurance document but that department is closed at the moment. No applications. I had called about it before they shut and they swore it would be mailed but I'm losing hope now.

So after a thoroughly humiliating trip to Halifax where they flatly rejected me and my husband got in an argument with the manager, I realized that it was going to be HARD to open an account. I have no means of getting my own utilities set up. HMRC is all but shut. I can't get any other financial institutions to open me an account because the hold times for the phone are insane and nobody is doing face to face. I doubt I meet their requirements anyway.

I called Barclays and they swore up and down I could download their app and open an account through that. No uploads required, except for proof of identification. Great! Go through that process, get to the end, nope, please make an appointment to go into one of our branches!

I opened a Transferwise Borderless account and that gave me some hope. I got their debit card so that I can at least spend some money without funneling it through my husband's account and card. However I noticed on my statements from them that they hadn't converted my address properly - they had left my US state in it so there was a line that just said "FL" in the middle of it. I thought well, if I want to use this statement to open an account at a brick and mortar institution, that'll have to get changed. So I submitted a ticket to them requesting the change go through and an hour later they hit me with the response I should have known to expect - send them proof of my residence or they would be refunding all the money I had put in that account. God damnit.

I am seriously losing hope here guys. I'm not a money launderer, I'm not a criminal, I have over a hundred thousand US dollars, WHY does nobody want to do business with me???
Try talking to Nationwide Building Society. They are about the most flexible and supportive of members (customers). This is from their site,

 'Further help

If you cannot produce any of the documents from any of the tables above, please contact your local branch as there may be other forms of identification they can take'



Sent from my FP2 using Tapatalk

Met Nov 2015
Married 11 April 17
Online visa app 24 April 2017 (Priority)
Biometrics 5th May 2017
App tracked and received Sheffiled 10th May 2017
Email confirming receipt (of online application) 25th May 2017
Email asking for passport, appendix 2 etc (which has all been sent) 30th May 2017 (Discovered solicitor may have advised to send to wrong processing centre address - letters, and phone calls - still unclear).
Confirmed receipt of docs 17th July
Return label requested and emailed 17th July
Decision email 26th July
Visa 28th July


  • *
  • Posts: 11

  • Liked: 0
  • Joined: Nov 2019
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2020, 11:54:40 PM »
Thanks guys, guess I'll be making a new round of calls on Monday.. wish me luck!


  • *
  • Posts: 2498

  • Liked: 336
  • Joined: Nov 2012
  • Location: Eee, bah gum.
Re: Seriously, how the hell do I open a bank account?
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2020, 08:43:22 AM »
Thanks guys, guess I'll be making a new round of calls on Monday.. wish me luck!

Good luck  :D
Dual USC/UKC living in the UK since May 2016


Sponsored Links