Bank Account FAQ's - International

Frequently Asked Questions 

-Can I open a bank account before I have formally registered with the University?  

You may be able to, but if you are opening a student account banks do require that you are a fully registered student with the University. 

-Do I need to show my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) to open a bank account?  

You will need to have collected your BRP in order to register with the University and you will not be able to obtain a student status letter (see above) until you have registered. Once you have obtained your student status letter this should be sufficient, in conjunction with your passport/visa or national ID card. 

-What documents do I need to open a bank account?  

All banks require proof of identification, which is usually in the form of a passport or national ID card with visa if you are required to have one. They will also need to see proof that you are a registered student, evidence of your home address and the address you will be living at when you are in the UK. This information is included in a Student Status letter. Details of identification required by each bank can be accessed through the table above. 

-Why do some banks insist that the student status letter states that the University has assisted the student in finding accommodation?  

This is one way of ensuring that it is a valid address. 

Another way of doing this is to ask you to show a utility bill (such as gas or electricity) which has your name and address on it. However, most banks will accept the student status letter as evidence that you are living at a valid address. 

-Does my name need to be exactly the same on my bank letter as on my passport?  

Yes, this is a requirement under UK law. 

-Which bank would you recommend?  

The University cannot recommend a particular bank as this would be unfair to other institutions. What we recommend is that you use these comparative tables and information such as how close the bank is to the University or where you live, how well its opening hours fit in with your schedule and any charges involved, to help you come to a decision. Where possible, visit some of the banks in person before you decide on which one to apply to. If you can, try to visit banks outside of the main lunch period (12.00-14.00) as they will be less busy. 

-I am a Study Abroad student only here for a single semester/one year. Can I open a bank account?  

Most banks will allow you to apply for an account if you are here for a minimum of a year but they have different policies regarding students who are here for only a single semester. Again, make sure that this is one of the first questions you ask the bank staff. 

-Do all banks charge opening fees and monthly maintenance fees?  

Many banks offer free account-opening and monthly banking. However, most make charges for particular one-off services so make sure you read their information carefully. Similarly, banks that do charge a monthly fee may be offering an enhanced service in return. 

-Can I open an account on the same day that I apply?  

Some banks will let you open an account straight away but with others it might take up to a week. Ask any banks you are interested in opening an account with how long it will take before you will be able to use your account facilities. 

-Can I open an account online?  

Some banks will ask you to fill in the application forms online and then you will just need to visit the branch to show your ID. Check details for individual banks online. 


If you need further guidance please email


Websites that offer further advice and guidance: 

UKCISA - advice on opening a bank account as an international student 

BBA - advice on bank accounts for International Students