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Opening a UK "basic bank account"


Hi all, I'm wondering if anybody here has succeeded in opening a "basic bank account" in the UK as an EU (not UK) resident. I've been trying with Santander, but without success so far.

My reading of the requirements ( is that the documents proving identity (list 2) don't have to be in English, but when I phoned to check that I was told they did have to be in English. I've had one bank statement rejected because it "doesn't show the Belgian branch address". Well that's because it wasn't a Belgian bank, though it was in English.

My Belgian bank statements are in English but they don't have my address on them. The bank (ING) provided me with a statement in French which they stamped and signed with my account number and my address. My utility bills are in French. Some of these documents have my address in French and some have it in Dutch which causes further problems.

I'm going to send off everything I have, but I'm close to giving up. I wondered if anyone here had managed to do it and if so with which bank? Is there a bank you would recommend?



Unless you have an existing bank relationship with a UK bank, it's going to be really difficult to open an account, just the same as if you were not a Belgian resident and wanted to open a Belgian account. Is there a specific reason you want to open a UK account? You can open a sterling account in Belgium which may be easier.

May 10, 2018 10:43

I agree with anon.

We are British and have had a UK account since before we moved here many years ago.

We have tried (and failed) to open accounts with other banks in the UK since then.

Our current bank have been happy to open new accounts for both us and our children, but different banks won't because we are no longer UK residents.

May 11, 2018 10:47

Situation with at least 2 UK banks I have accounts with is that they have no problem with maintaining an account for an existing customer who moves aborad, however they will not permit additional services (e.g. adding a credit card) for that customer until they move back to the UK. Nor will they open new accounts for those resident abroad.

May 11, 2018 11:12

Same for me.
I had an account and a debit card with a UK bank from long before I moved here 25 years ago. It remains active but they will not let me open another one nor give me a credit card unless I have an address in UK (I could use one of my kids addresses) AND can prove that I actually live there.

May 11, 2018 14:51

All the respondents who say how difficult this is are no doubt correct. However none of them apparently have noticed that the question is about a very specific type of product, i.e. the Santander Basic Current Account. Their web site states:

"The Basic Current Account is available to customers legally living in the European Union." "You can apply for the Basic Current Account online in just 10 minutes if you (for European Union Residents excluding the UK):
- are 16 years of age or over
- are legally resident in the EU
- do not hold any other current account with Santander UK or any other UK provider".

So Santander themselves say that this specific product IS available also to non-UK residents. The issue seems to be that they are not accepting certain documents as the proof they require. Maybe I will try to open such an account for myself to see if I have better luck than Corulys.

May 11, 2018 16:09

With respect RPPKN - The actual question can be broken down as a) "I'm wondering if anybody here has succeeded in opening a "basic bank account" in the UK as an EU (not UK) resident." and b) "I wondered if anyone here had managed to do it and if so with which bank? Is there a bank you would recommend?" We've all done our best to answer this.

The rest is simply fluff - there was no other question to answer and it's not up to us to go to the Santander website and read all of the materials that the OP has already looked at. Had they asked - "I read this - do others have the same interpretation?" that would be a different matter.

Of course I could have improved my answer by adding that the banks I was talking about were Barclays and Halifax.

Corylus - Your reading of the application form is correct - outside of Bulgaria and Greece there is no mention of a need to translate the relevant documents to English. So you should point this out to Corylus. Otherwise get notarised copies of the relevant document and ask the commune to provide a document confirming equivalency of the FR/NL address

May 11, 2018 17:22

In our experience with our sons who had saving accounts with said bank the easiest way was to change the address on those to my parents and even then they had issues changing them into bank accounts.
It’s not that staff don’t want to help but mostly they don’t know, be prepared for the run around. Likewise students going from here end up with a different type of account not the same as a uk astudent . Basically uk money laundering laws to blame for this .

May 12, 2018 17:50

Thanks everyone. I've sent off more documents, and explained about the French and Dutch street names. I've also pointed out that they have already verified my identity and address for my father's power of attorney. We'll see what happens. If there's any human intervention I think they should accept it, if they're just doing everything by the book, then probably not. I was just wondering if anybody had experience with another bank that made it easier, but since they all have to follow the same rules, probably not.

May 12, 2018 19:18

Why not you try Revolut. I have an account with them and they do provide UK IBAN Either in Euro Pound or Dollar. Its free you just pay 5 euro for shipping you your bank card

May 19, 2018 06:33