Opening a bank account after moving to London can be an unpleasant experience. You’ll need a stack of documentation, proof of address (which you probably won’t have if you’ve just arrived) and proof of ID. It is very important to open a bank before you relocate, you will be able to work out the kinks in the system in a familiar environment.

The required documentation to open a bank account is your ID, proof of your current bank address, statements from your other bank and a minimum deposit amount. If you are moving to London with your partner, it might be beneficial to contemplate opening a joint bank account as it will reduce the amount of paperwork and the minimum deposit amount will be split.

Should you decide to open the bank account subsequent to your move to London then you must ensure that you collect all the required documentation. Murphy’s Law might apply in this situation because you might be unfortunate at one bank or you might be fortunate to find a bank that opens an account for you immediately.  The documentation would include proof of ID, which could either be a driver’s license, passport and/or birth certificate and confirmation of your new address.

It is advisable to provide as much documentation as possible to assist the application process. It would be to your advantage to submit a letter indicating your employment locally and a bank letter from your country of origin, which will bear testimony to your credit history. The sooner you provide this information the quicker and easier the process of opening a bank account will be and soon you will be swiping just like the locals.

The major United Kingdom banks are:

Lloyds TSB

Barclays

NatWest

Royal Bank of Scotland

HSBC

While you are living here and still sorting out your banking matters make sure that you are able to access your finances.   You should be able to use your MasterCard or Visa from your home country as long as it has been fitted for the chip and pin system in the UK.